Time for an upgrade.

Right, so you know when you declare “this is it! This is the perfect cheesecake and can’t be improved!” the universe is going to come along and force you to do better? Well, this happened.

Last Thursday, the last lesson for my Year 13 A-level class, and I made them a Mars Bar cheesecake. And it was good but the caramel – which was, as usual, a tin of Carnation Caramel lightly harassed until spreadable – was letting the side down. I’d chilled everything between adding layers, as per usual, applied the ganache, and all was good. But when you cut the cheesecake, the chocolate ganache just sorta slid sideways off the slice, carried on a little river of caramel.

Something, thought I, should be done. So I consulted my culinary expert par excellance, my wonderful wife, and she pointed me to the millionaire’s shortbread recipe on the side of a tin of Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk. I’m not going to repeat the recipe here, it’s on every single tin and you’ll need a tin – a 375ml tin – along with some sugar and butter (150g of each). The recipe is here on their website as well.

Well. Talk about a game changer. We actually made two tweaks to the cheesecake on this occasion. The first was to the biscuit base, taking the improved-but-too-solid base from my last cheesecake post. We added a few ounces of porridge oats (hard to be sure how much if I’m honest) to the mix, then pricked it with a fork all over when it came out from the 20 minutes bake. This gave us a base that was solid enough to support the cheesecake, not to go soggy after a prolonged rest in the fridge, and yet easy enough to cut with both cake knife and the eating irons of your choice.

The second tweak was the caramel layer. One batch of Carnation Millionaire’s Shortbread Caramel went over the top of the cake, then it was chilled before adding the standard ganache. Made the caramel with soft dark brown sugar on this first run…

A slice of the end result – pretty much the last slice, actually, the rest was devoured during Eurovision 2024.

Is this perfect? Nearly. Next time I’m using lighter sugar. But the caramel holds it’s shape when it’s cut, doesn’t glue itself to your teeth either. Consistency-wise, it’s a perfect match for the ganache and the cheesecake. And that base! Mmmmmm.


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