20 January 2012

Donna Hay's Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Donna Hay's Salted Caramel Cheesecake (photo from the magazine due to time constraint and error)

Cheesecake is very 80's, but hey I loved the '80's and would never turn down cheesecake, so how do you make this creamy luscious dessert new again? With a twist on the whole sweet and salty phenomenon. Using brown sugar in the filling gives the cheesecake a deep caramel flavour that cannot be matched. The combination of ricotta and creamed cheese lightens it up for a less dense and filling dessert so you have room for a slice after an incredible meal. Top it with sea salt flakes, a velvety smooth caramel sauce and a silky cream topping and you have a dessert that will keep them talking.

One of our simple pleasures in life is navigating the blogging community and participating where we can. Our group has now passed the halfway point on the list of Gourmet Live's 50 Women Game Changers. The past six months have flown by as we experimented with dishes from each of the 50 influential women on "the list." Whether you agree or disagree with the authors chosen fifty and their order it has been an enjoyable and creative outlet to cook from the masters and those we admire. There have even a few successful bloggers on the list. We have checked out books from the library, borrowed cookbooks from friends, surfed the Internet and browsed our own cookbook collections seeking that one recipe that will highlight that weeks outstanding woman. This group is spearheaded by my favourite well-travelled blogger Mary of One Perfect Bite who back in June invited bloggers to travel along on a culinary journey throughout the year. It is still not too late to join in in 2012, so if you would like to learn new techniques and be creative in the kitchen please contact Mary.

Number 31 on the list...Donna Hay. 

Donna Hay is Australia's leading food editor and best-selling cookbook author. Of all the woman highlighted in this exercise, so far, she speaks to me the most since her style is "my style". I covet her cookbook Four Seasons which is a collection of recipes from her magazine Donna Hay that always graces my coffee table. I thumb through it's pages and find recipe after recipe to bookmark from this highly acclaimed, top-selling bi-monthly magazine. Her magazine not only experienced tremendous local success but has far-reaching international appeal. The magazine has subscribers in 82 countries around the world.The bi-monthly Donna Hay Magazine is for everyone who loves to cook and anyone who wants to try. 

Donna's food, recipes and style focuses on basic ingredients, fresh and simply prepared and beautifully photographed which inspire generations of cooks the world over. When most girls were playing with their Barbie dolls or our climbing trees, Donna Hay was in the kitchen armed with a cookie cutter.  

Over the years, Donna's interest in food and cooking grew and after some formal training, she began a career as a freelance food writer and stylist when she was 19. Donna was appointed food editor of the leading Australian magazine Marie Claire and Marie Claire Lifestyle at the age of 25. She has written over 18 cookbooks at last count and has become her own brand down-under with a food line, newspaper column, etc. She definitely deserves her place on "the list".

What has our group been up to with our 31st Woman Game Changer.......

Mary of One Perfect Bite - Pork and Fennel Meat Ball
Val of More Than Burnt Toast - Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Susan of The Spice Garden - Sticky Chinese Chicken 
Taryn of Have Kitchen, Will Feed 
Heather of Girlichef - Buttermilk-Cinnamon Banana Breads
Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney - Caramelized Pear and Rocket Salad
Jeanette at Jeanette's Healthy Living - Vietnamese Noodle Soup
Linda of There and Back Again - French Onion Soup
Barbara of Moveable Feasts - Polenta, Mozzarella andTomato Salad
Nancy of Picadillo - Lemon Fish Cakes
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits - White Dip Bean Dip
Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen - Brownies
Annie  at Most Lovely Things - Baked Mozzarella and Tomato Dip with Lebanese Crisps.
Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook - Risotto with Roasted Vegetables or Roasted Cauliflower
Alyce of More Time at The Table - Ricotta, Chive and Prosciutto Omelettes

But on to the recipe.....In reading the forums I realized that people had trouble with the base of the cheesecake. The taste team whipped up the salted caramel and vanilla baked cheesecake again after it was reported there were differing results depending on the biscuits used for the crust. They found the best biscuits to use were digestives or buttery biscuits, such as shortbread. 

What I had trouble with was in the deciphering of a recipe from another country. For the topping I used what in the recipe was referred to as "single pouring" cream. To me that would mean table cream (which in my heart of hearts I knew would not whip up into pillowy clouds). In my lack of judgement I went with it and ruined the cheesecake for photos so this is why you have the magazines photo above. When I make this cheesecake again, and there will be a next time, I will use whipping cream and use the bakers trick for preventing the whipped cream from separating over time and add 1-2 teaspoons of powdered milk to the whipping process. This cheesecake made all of my cheesecake dreams come true.

**Salted Caramel and Vanilla Cheesecake**
  • 500g plain sweet shortbread biscuits
  • ½ cup (60g) almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 150g butter, melted
  • 350g ricotta
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream (must need to use whipping cream and add 1- 2 teaspoons powdered milk)
  • 1 cup (240g) sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
  • sea salt flakes, for sprinkling
Caramel Sauce
  • 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream (light cream)
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
To make the caramel sauce, place the cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, bring to the boil and cook for 5–7 minutes or until thickened. Set aside and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the biscuits and almond meal in the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. Add the butter and process to combine. Press the biscuit mixture into the base and sides of a lightly greased 22cm springform cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Place the ricotta and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5–6 minutes or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 3–4 minutes or until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the golden syrup, table salt and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the biscuit shell. Place the tin in a baking dish and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the tin. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove cheesecake from the baking dish and allow to cool in the tin. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.

Place the (whipping) cream, sour cream, icing sugar and remaining vanilla in a bowl (along with 1-2 teaspoons of powdered milk)and whisk until soft peaks form. Top the cheesecake with the cream, drizzle with the caramel sauce and sprinkle with sea salt flakes to serve.

Serves 8–10.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I certainly admire enterprising and energetic, not to mention talented, women like her. Their standards are inspirational to legions of young women.

  2. This cheesecake must be extremely good! I love that irresistible flavor.



  3. I love the tip on stabilizing the cream...I'm so trying that next time! This definitely sounds wonderful, I do love the deep flavors that I can almost taste!

  4. It looks heavenly to say the very least:)

  5. This recipe is just so clever! I love the salt and sweet trick and using shortbread and almonds in the crust is a nice change from the more traditional graham cracker crumb crust. AND ... I'm with Heather! Gonna try the powdered milk trick next time I make whipped cream for a topping!

    Great post, Val!

  6. I love Donna's show on TLC! She is so calm even while cooking the toughest of all dishes! I love this cheesecake. The pic is just tooo delicious!
    Kavi (Edible Entertainment)
    Ongoing Event:(Kid's Delight - Something Sweet)

  7. I could have this for dinner. Who needs protein - this has calcium. I am saving this for my next cheesecake endeavor - there is more enticement with the salty caramel than other ingredients people use to gussy it up. Vintage Donna Hay.

  8. Awesome recipe dear..U have made it perfectly..


  9. Yum. Now I know what I'm doing with my leftover ricotta. Loverly cheesecake!

  10. cheesecake might be 80s but that doesn't stop me from loving it! and salted caramel?! yes, please!

  11. caramel and cheesecake I swear are meant for each other. This is just heavenly. Nice job.

  12. The words 'salted caramel' got my attention! This looks liek a wonderful recipe. Another interesting read!

  13. Val,
    I love your tenacity. And thanks for the tip to stabilize the cream.

  14. What a winning combination! I'm definitely going to try this & read more about Donna Hay.

    Have a great weekend!

  15. Dear Valli, This cheesecake looks marvelous! I know that my family would love it! Blessings dear one, Catherine xo

  16. Hi Val!

    Cheesecake wa NEVER out of fashion. But you change all that! you truly invent a classic. I am just drooling looking at this one :)

    fantastic job

  17. I just got a new springform pan, so I'll have to give this a try!

  18. i never knew donna was so lovely! meanwhile, this cheesecake is swoon-worthy and simply lovely to behold!

  19. It looks like a piece of heaven on a plate... yum!

  20. Oh God this looks so good! Salted caramel makes my life :)

  21. I do love the simplicity of Donna Hay's recipes, and I give you a lot of credit for trying this. It is often hard to translate recipes when the ingredients are called very different names around the world.

  22. This sounds delicious and I had requests for cheesecake at Christmas time. Do you have any issues with water seeping into your springform pan? I did but the cheesecake was superb and they didn't serve it for a day or two so I think the moisture content of the crust evened out.

  23. I have this issue as well and the cover drew me to buy it. I haven't made it yet but it's nice to know someone has. Now I need to - I just need to wait a bit since I'm sugared out from the holidays.

    Yours turned out so picture perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Wait wait wait...who says cheesecake is an 80s food? I think it's a right now need it in my life food. Especially with caramel...

  25. Oh my, I can truly tell I've been out to lunch on the web as I had no idea you were all involved in this wonderful project. I love Donna Hay! Great choice on your part, here. Cheesecake has always been my #1 birthday cake choice since I was old enough to request one from my mother who always indulged. I have to try this recipe. It's diet food, right? ;)

  26. Wow, Val, you fussed! :) This looks absolutely divine. Love salted caramel anyway and in cheesecake form it must taste fabulous.

  27. What a fabulous dessert~! Love these flavors and your photos are very enticing! Thanks for all the info about Donna Hay also - I was not very familiar with her but now I am and look forward to checking out her recipes!

  28. Val, you outdid youself yet again. I want to dive into this cheesecake face first.

  29. To me cheesecake is timeless and this one looks like perfection on a plate!

  30. I can't wait to make this! The combination of flavors sounds perfect....yummy!

  31. What a wonderful cake. It really is something that would appeal to my family. This is a lovely recipe. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  32. that looks like the perfect cheesecake - love the double colour

  33. It's funny you mention the 80s as being the era of the cheesecake. I remember as a small child in the 70s I HATED cheesecake. I hated all tart dairy products and tart dairy desserts (I still think froyo is a travesty) and most cheesecakes I tried were typical NY style tart cheesecakes with the sour cream topping. Then came the 80s and cheesecakes became sweeter and started having chocolate in them. As a teen I realized tart isn't so bad!

    (Boy did I just date myself there.)

    I love it when people add milder, softer cheeses to cheesecake like mascarpone and ricotta. This looks divine with the brown sugar and shortbread crust. I'll bite right into it - soggy cream and all!

  34. Love the idea of combining the salty and the sweet. This is one Cheesecake recipe worth trying for sure. Great photo!

  35. I can't think of anything I'd rather have right now. Love cheese cake. love salted caramel - and again, your pick is taunting!


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