25 June 2011

Nigella Lawson's Banoffee Cheesecake

3.15am is no time to be fretting about a cheesecake and I really don't recommend it, however this is a recipe you need to make the night before so take note of that before you embark upon it at 11pm having been delayed by your slightly time-irresponsible other half. It is pretty smug-making when it works though and isn't actually as difficult as many people imagine so well worth a try if you have crazy banana loving freaks coming to your house (banana's are the fruit of evil).

The recipe is from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home - which I've been using rather a lot recently and is really fantastic actually.

I usually ignore all instructions for cheesecake base and ALWAYS use ginger biscuits because in the great war of biscuits, gingers always beat digestives. However, with all the banoffeeness going on her I decided to obey Nigella and use digestives and Joe says it was the right thing to do - gingers would have been a step too far. I also mostly refuse to have unsalted butter in the house as it's just so depressing and sad BUT sometimes it is good and I used it here and it was fine - it's also fine in pastry but only if you are capable of adding enough salt by yourself. A lot of people aren't - what's the point in cooking something beautifully if you are going to ruin by not seasoning it correctly - ok rant over, now for the cheesecake.

Serves 10

for the base:
250g digestive biscuits
75g soft unsalted butter

for the cheesecake:
4 overripe medium-sized bananas
60ml lemon juice
700g cream cheese at room temperature
6 eggs
150g soft light brown sugar

for the toffee sauce:
100g soft unsalted butter
125ml golden syrup
75g soft light brown sugar

You will need to preheat the oven to 170C/Gas Mark 3 and have a 23cm springform cake tin and a large roasting tin to use as a water-bath. Unless you have the whole evening to make the cheesecake the night before you need it I find it easiest to take the unsalted butter and cream cheese out of the fridge in the morning and then it's all the right temperature and ready to go when you need it later.

1. Wrap the outside (underneath and sides) of the cake tin with a double layer of clingfilm, then cover thoroughly with a double layer of tin foil. You need it to be waterproof so the cheesecake is protected in it's water bath.

Clingfilm wrap
Tinfoil wrap

2. Whizz up the digestive biscuits with the butter in a mixer until you have a sandy rubble that is beginning to clump and press this into the bottom of the cake tin. Press it all down well and then put it in the fridge to cool. Wash your mixer thoroughly - you want no crumbs left at all for the next bit.

Biscuit base

3. Mash the banana's well with a fork (or in my case get your husband to do it), add the lemon juice and set aside.

My lovely assistant mashing the bananas

4. Put the cream cheese in the blender and mix until smooth then add the eggs and the sugar. Blend together and then add the mashed banana and lemon juice and whizz until you have a smooth mixture.

5. Take the biscuit base out of the fridge and sit it in the centre of the roasting tin and then pour the cream cheese mixture into the cake tin.

Cheesecake in it's roasting tin
6. Put the roasting tin in the oven and pour recently boiled water from the kettle into the roasting tin so it comes about half way up the side of the cake tin.

7. Cook for about 1 hour and 10 mins but check it after an hour (mine took 1 hour 5 mins). The very centre of the cheesecake should still have a bit of a wobble to it but be set on top.

8. Remove from the oven and take the tin out of it's water bath and put on a cooling wrack. Carefully remove the foil and clingfilm and let the cheesecake continue to cool on it's rack.

9. To make the sauce melt the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat until it's bubbling. Let it bubble for 1-2 minutes until it's foamy and amber in colour. Let it cool slightly and then pour into a small jug and leave to cool. Cover it and leave it out of the fridge in a cool place overnight or however long you want. I found it useful to do this while I was waiting for the cheesecake to cool enough to go in the fridge.

10. Put the cheesecake into the fridge when it's fully cooled and cover once it's fully chilled (it was the covering after it had been in the fridge for a couple of hours that I was doing at 3.15am).Do not cover with anything that is going to touch the top as that will stick to it. I used a big plate. Leave overnight.

11. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge about half an hour before you want to eat it. Work a spatula gently around the top edge and then put it on a serving plate and release the springform bit of the tin.

12. Whisk the sauce in it's jug and drizzle some over the cheesecake leaving the rest for people to drizzle themselves on their slice.
Nigella lawson banoffee cheesecake
Ok so not quite as beautiful as Nigella's but pretty good I think

What's great about this cheesecake is it's so impressive and you can make it up to 2 days ahead and have it waiting in the fridge. The sauce can be made 2-3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container in a cool place. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 month.

banoffee cheesecake slice


  1. I used 4 bananas and it was too much, it didn't set properly and tasted way too much like mushy banana. Maybe reduce how much banana you use. And slightly less lemon juice would help too.

    1. Really? What size were the bananas? This recipe has always worked totally fine for me. Next time I make it maybe I'll weigh the bananas and add that to the recipe - it's hard when they are all different sizes.

  2. why not mix the toffee in as opposed to drizzling on top? Also would it not be good to have some banana chucks in it?

  3. This is in the oven as I write! The recipe (direct from Nigella's book) made a HUGE amount of mixture and actually overflowed my processor ... It's now in its water bath ... we shall see whether my tin-wrapping skills are adequate in an hour! Also, afraid it's not going to get its overnight in the fridge. But here in Spain we eat very late so fingers crossed that it will be ok - it will have 8-9 hours.

  4. I hope it's delicious! I often find with Nigella recipes that there is too much of whatever filling but better too much than too little I always think

  5. Love Nigella's cheesecakes but this one I will happily give a miss. Like a previous reviewer I found the banana flavour too much and the texture slightly 'custardy'. There are so many other lovely cheesecakes that I won't miss out with not repeating this one.

  6. So sad you had a problem with this texture on this one. Will try it again and see if it was my old oven that suited the recipe (always too hot!). I can't bear banana so I was using my banoffee fiend friend as a tester and he loved it!


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