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23rd January
written by Nibblish

I wanted to make a special cake for Tom’s 31st birthday, something a bit exciting but also personalized to his taste. I decided to go for a classic New York cheese cake which you can’t beat, but then topped it with caramel sauce & roasted macadamia nuts and also added an extra layer of chocolate and banana between the base and the filling. And as a final touch I decorated it with hard caramel swirls. However, if you don’t want to wait for the next birthday to try this recipe or if it all looks a bit too much to you, you can also use the base and filling sections of the recipe and skip the extra steps for a simple New York cheese cake!

Ingredients (6 slices)

45ml butter, melted
70g digestive biscuits, broken into crumbs
1tsp white sugar
1/2 banana, sliced (optional)
70g chocolate, melted (optional)

2x 250g philadelphia cheese, cut into medium pieces and left at room temperature for 1h
125g caster sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg + 1 yolk
150 ml sour cream

1 cup of sugar
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup whipped cream
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roasted in the oven for 7 minutes and roughly crushed


1. Start with the base. Pre-heat the oven at 180C. Melt the butter in a small pan, use a small amount to line the baking tray, stir in the biscuit crumbs and sugar and mix until evenly moist. Add a bit of flour on the buttered baking tray to make it non stick, press the mixture flat into the bottom of the baking tray and cook for 10 minutes or until nicely golden. Let it cool down for a few minutes and add a layer of sliced banana and melted chocolate if you fancy it.

2. In the meantime, get started with the filling. Beat the cream cheese for about 2 minutes, until soft and creamy, gradually add the sugar, flour, pinch of salt and wisk for another 2 minutes scraping down the sides regularly. Add vanilla extracts, lemon zest, lemon juice and stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the sour cream and continue whisking until nice, smooth and airy.

3. Pour the mixture onto the base and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 110C and bake for another 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and let it cool in the oven for 40 minutes.

4. For the topping, make sure you have all the ingredients ready as you will have to work fast. Be also careful not to burn yourself with the caramelized sugar as it’s much hotter than boiled water! Be also aware that you will need a large pan to do this as the hot mixture tends to foam considerably when the cream gets added in. Ok, so place the sugar in a large non stick pan on high heat. As the sugar begins to melt on the sides, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the sugar comes to boil, stir in the sugar. Once the butter has fully melted, take off the heat, wait for 5 seconds and add the cream to the pan and continue whisking until the foam reduces down and the mixture is nice and smooth. Let it cool down for 30 minutes or so.

5. Once the topping is cool and thick, pour it oven the cake and sprinkle the roasted macadamia nuts on top and refrigerate for a good hour to set.

If you’re tempted to try the caramel swirls, bring sugar to melt and drizzle the liquid using a spoon to draw the shape over a piece of baking paper. Let it cool for a minute until hard, pick it carefully with a knife, place in the refrigerator and put on the cake just before serving or it will melt.

I actually brought mine to the restaurant where we went to celebrate Tom’s birthday! Did you know that most restaurants would allow you to bring a birthday cake in for a small fee per head? But if you decide to bake one instead of buying it, the pressure is on to make something impressive!

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