Amateur bakers are green with envy over an accountant’s epic homemade New York cheesecake which looks like it came straight from the oven of a professional kitchen.
Maria Rangel posted her recipe and photos of the finished cake in Baking Ourselves Crazy, a Facebook cookery group.
After members raved about her skill and likened the dessert to ones from iconic US restaurant chain The Cheesecake Factory, the home cook from Miami, Florida said her trick is baking the cake at different temperatures without opening the oven door.
The cheesecake should initially be cooked on a high heat to ensure the eggs are fully cooked, then slow-baked at a lower temperature to give the filling a silky smooth consistency.
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Florida accountant Maria Rangel’s professional standard New York style cheesecake
The trick to the seamless top and smooth filling (pictured) is cooking the cheesecake at different temperatures without opening the oven door
The secret to flawlessly fluffy filling
Bake the crust and raw cream cheese mixture at 230°C for 20 minutes, then reduce to 110°C and cook for one hour.
This turns the edge golden brown and cooks the eggs while keeping the filling silky smooth.
Interestingly, Ms Rangel said she did not bake the cheesecake in a water bath, also known as a bain-marie, which is widely accepted in culinary circles as the secret to an exceptionally creamy filling that cooks without cracking.
The moisture rising from the water seals the surface of the cake to stop it from cracking in much the same way that moisturisers hydrate and strengthen skin.
The absence of a water bath makes Ms Rangel’s perfectly smooth top and filling all the more impressive.
There are two major differences between New York style and traditional cheesecake.
New York style is made with simple ingredients and always baked in the oven, whereas traditional cheesecake is wrapped with plastic or aluminium foil and refrigerated for anywhere between eight hours and two days to set.
And while traditional cheesecake relies on double and sour cream to thin the batter and create a silky texture, New York cheesecake contains more cream cheese which makes it denser and richer.
To make the base for her New York masterpiece, Ms Rangel said she crushed 18 graham crackers – the American equivalent of plain digestive biscuits – into crumbs and mixed them with half a cup of melted butter.
For the filling, she mixed four blocks of full fat cream cheese with two cans of sweetened condensed milk, six large eggs and one extra egg yolk, two tablespoons of vanilla extract and the zest of a lemon.
She said she adds lemon and vanilla to balance out sweetness and conceal any traces of egg which could taint the flavour.
Ms Rangel then added three tablespoons of cornflour to slightly thicken the consistency.
Ms Rangel adds the zest of a lemon and two generous tablespoons of vanilla extract to her cheesecake (pictured) to balance out sweetness and conceal any traces of egg flavour
After lining the base of a springform pan with the buttery biscuit and allowing it to cool, she poured the filling on top and baked in the oven for 20 minutes at 230 degrees Celsius.
Without opening the oven door, she lowered the temperature to 110 degrees Celsius and cooked for another hour.
‘You will see that the cheesecake is still jiggly, but it’s normal,’ she assured.
Once cooked, she left the cake in the oven with the door slightly open for a further hour, then removed and allowed it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating overnight.
Easy recipe for baked cheesecake
18 graham crackers or digestive biscuits
4 blocks of full fat cream cheese
2 cans of sweetened condensed milk
6 large eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
Zest of a medium sized lemon
3 tablespoons of cornflour
½ teaspoon of salt
1. Melt butter and crush graham crackers, then combine both into a buttery biscuit crumb.
2. Mix cream cheese, condensed milk and eggs with lemon zest, vanilla extract and salt until smooth and creamy.
3. Add cornflour to thicken.
4. Line the base of a springform pan with the buttery biscuit and pour the creamy filling on top.
5. Bake for 20 minutes at 230 degrees Celsius, then lower oven temperature to 110 degrees Celsius without opening the door and cook for one hour.
6. Open the oven door slightly and leave to stand for an hour, then remove the cake and bring to room temperature.
7. Refrigerate overnight to set, then gently run a spatula over the top and sides to smooth.
8. Pile mixed berries on top and serve with whipped cream and raspberry coulis.
Source: Baking Ourselves Crazy via Facebook
She gave the dessert plenty of time to set before gently running a spatula over the top and sides to smooth out any inconsistencies.
‘Most importantly, I allowed it to cool overnight. When you do that, it kind of shrinks a little and separates itself from the pan,’ she said in reply to a comment.
People were stunned by her talent, with one woman jokingly begging her to deliver a cake to her door.
‘I want cheesecake now, that looks so good! Please send some to Texas,’ she said.
‘Girl! Cheesecake Factory, watch out,’ said another.
Others called the cake ‘perfection’ and ‘beautiful eye candy’ and thanked her for inspiring them to make their own.