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The Classic Israeli Cheesecake - Specially for Shavuot - (לשבועות (עוגת גבינה

I have for a while had this longing for the baked cheesecake I used to eat in Israel. It is called The Classic Baked Cheesecake.

This cheesecake is without a crust or cookie crumb mix on the bottom. Just all cheesecake baked in the oven. With a perfect crust that forms on top. No fussy toppings or frostings, only fresh ingredients to enhance this fluffy and deliciously soft cake with a delicate slightly lemony flavour.

I remember often walking by bakeries in Tel Aviv during my teens and smelling the baked cheesecakes that were just puled out of the oven on large trays. Some were flat cakes in large baking tins that were cut into squares and some were round and tall cut into slices.

I could never wait for them to get cool and would go in to the bakery, buy a slice and eat it warm while walking on the street. When you're in your teens you don't care if you have a fork or not to eat cheesecake with!

I cannot tell you how many cheesecakes I have baked until I was completely happy with it. I feel that I have finally created the perfect Classic Israeli cheesecake.

I am going to tell you about a few tips and tricks about how to prevent the cake from cracking on top, a very common problem with cheesecakes and how to have a crispy top with solid white sides. My cheesecake is actually lighter on the amount of cream cheese than most and I use a lighter cream. Many recipes also include sour cream which I don't. It is a bit of a process with a few steps to follow but well worth the effort for the end results.

You will never have to make another cheesecake again after you bake this one. It is is airy and light, with just the right amount of sweetness.

I am exited to share the recipe I have recreated from my memories of this yumminess.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

9 inch bake pan - I love this cheesecake pan - USA Bakeware pan. It is a little pricy but well worth the investment (link at the bottom of page) or you can use any 9 inch cake pan you prefer.

6 eggs, separated and at room temperature

450 grams cream cheese. (2 x 226gr Philly cream cheese blocks) leave out at room temperature to soften for 30 minutes

230ml half and half (half of a 473ml carton)

5 tablespoons of plain all purpose flour, sifted

4 tablespoons cornflour, sifted

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder.

1½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not vanilla essence)

2 heaped tablespoons of vanilla pudding powder

Grated rind of a whole lemon

Spray oil

Parchment paper

Aluminum foil

A rectangle fairly deep pan 3/4 filled with water

Heat oven to 350 f

Add a pan of 3/4 filled water to the bottom of your oven. It is a little tricky getting it there so I bring a kettle to the pan close to the oven and pour it in that way. The water will start to heat and the steam is what keeps your cheesecake top from cracking. You will leave this in the oven for the entire time of baking.

In a large bowl mix separated egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon rind until all are smoothly blended. Add cream cheese and half and half, mix with wooden spoon until it all comes together as one. Add flour, cornflour, baking powder and vanilla pudding mix and continue mixing well. Many do not add baking powder to cheesecake. I have found by trial and error that it helps it stay nice and high and keeps it's shape. Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, add separated egg whites and sugar and whisk on medium setting until creamy white texture is achieved just short of stiff. You don't want to have a stiff white mixture, just soft. Add your other bowl mix to the egg whites and mix lightly in the mixer for a minute. Don't over mix.

Using spray oil, grease the baking pan. Line it with parchment paper and spray the paper too. Cheesecakes tend to stick to the pan more than other cakes.

Line the outside of the pan with aluminum foil. This assures no leakage will happen from the cake mix.

Place in oven for 20-30 minutes or until the top of the cake looks lightly browned. Reduce heat to 300 f and bake for another hour.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Place in refrigerator overnight preferably or for at least 6 hours. The cake should come away easily form the sides of the pan when it is cold.

Enjoy this delicious cake which will impress your guests for sure! You will be making it again and again.

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