Week 8 saw the Quarter-Finals of Bake Off and the bakers took on a whole manner of different desserts! The bakers got steamy with the Sussex Pond Pudding technical, arty with the jelly art design cake showstopper and cheesy with the baked mini cheesecake signature challenge. Not wanting to invest time into learning the art of jelly art or invest 2 hours of steaming time into the sussex pond pudding, I decided to take on the Signature challenge. I got inspired by one of my favourite desserts and transformed it into a cheesecake – these are my Mini Apple Crumble Baked Cheesecakes!
Once I was fixed on the idea of doing an Apple Crumble Cheesecake, I began to do some research into apple crumble cheesecake recipes and I was struggling to find many baked cheesecakes. While the no-bake versions of cheesecakes are both delicious and simple to make, I really channeled the Bake Off spirit, making sure that every element of the cheesecake was made from scratch. With more research, I came across this Brown Sugar Caramel Cheesecake recipe from Bake or Break and was interested by the oatmeal cookie crust with spices.
I loved the idea of having this as the cheesecake base since my crumble toppings always contains oats and nuts – check out my Apple and Plum Crumble recipe! The biscuit base uses light muscovado sugar which adds great caramel notes and contains cinnamon, mixed spice and ground ginger, all spices that work fantastically with apples. The warming spices give a great autumnal feel to these cheesecakes.
This oaty base is topped with a cooked cinnamon apple filling and a simple cheesecake mixture to highlight the spices in the biscuit base and the apple filling. There is extra added texture from the crumble topping, which has ground almonds to highlight the nuts I add to my crumble toppings. I love the festive sprinkling of crumble over the cheesecakes before they go into the oven!
This recipe is enough to make 12 mini cheesecakes baked in a 12-hole muffin tin.
For the oaty biscuit base:
- 60g margarine or soft unsalted butter
- 55g light muscovado sugar
- 75g rolled oats
- 60g plain flour
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of mixed spice
- Pinch of ground ginger
For the crumble topping:
- 15g margarine
- 15g light muscovado sugar
- 25g plain flour
- 25g ground almonds
For the apple filling:
- 3 medium Gala apples, stalks and cores removed
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- Large pinch of ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp water
For the cheesecake:
- 300g full-fat cream cheese
- 60g granulated sugar
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Prepare the 12-hole muffin tin by greasing the holes, bases and sides, well with margarine or butter. Cut out strips of baking parchment to line each hole of the muffin tin so that you can lift up the cheesecakes after baking.
In a mixing bowl, cream the margarine until it is softened. Add in the light muscovado sugar, creaming well with the margarine until thoroughly combined. Add in all of the dry ingredients and using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients in until the mixture forms a soft but crumbly mixture that holds together when squeezed together. Divide the mixture between the holes of the muffin tin and press the mixture into the bottom of each hole. Bake the bases for 10 minutes, remove from the oven to cool down and turn down the oven to 150˚C.
For the crumble topping, rub together all of the ingredients until the crumble forms soft clumps, some pieces resembling breadcrumbs and some pieces much larger. Cover with clingfilm and set aside.
For the apple filling, chop up the apples into small cubes, about 5mm cubes. Place into a saucepan with the brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice and water and cook over a medium heat until the apples have softened and the cooking liquid has reduced. Spoon a layer of the cooked apple on top of the baked biscuit base, pressing down well. Drizzle over a small amount of the reduced cooking liquid over the apples so it soaks into the base.
For the cheesecake, with a hand whisk, whisk the cream cheese until it has softened. Add in the granulated sugar and lemon juice and whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the eggs and whisk into the cheesecake mix one at a time, adding in the second egg only when the first has been well mixed in. Whisk in the vanilla extract, ensuring that the sides of the bowl are scraped down while whisking.
Spoon the cheesecake mixture evenly on top of the apples, shaking the tin to level out the mixture, ensuring that the mixture doesn’t come all the way to the top. Lightly sprinkle over the crumble mix on top of the cheesecake. Bake the cheesecakes for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cheesecake are lightly golden brown at the edges and when you shake the tin, the very centre of the cheesecake has a slight wobble.
Remove the cheesecakes from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the cheesecakes and use the baking parchment to lift out the cheesecakes onto a plate. These cheesecakes can be served warm, room temperature or cold.
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Make sure to check out my other recipes for the Bake Off Bake Along:
- Cake Week: Chocolate Hazelnut Battenberg Cake
- Biscuit Week: Florentine Biscuit Bars
- Bread Week: Carrot Cake Soda Bread
- Chocolate Week: Nutella Chocolate Brownies
- Pastry Week: Leftover Chicken and Stuffing Pasties
- Japanese Week: Totoro Matcha Chiffon Cake
- 80s Week: Brown Sugar Custard Doughnuts
- Patisserie Week: Neapolitan Mousse Cube Cakes
- Final Week: Bounty Coconut Macarons
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