Every year in July we celebrate my husband’s birthday by hosting a barbecue for our friends. Come rain or shine we sit out in the garden enjoying burgers, sausages and cold beers as well as occasionally throwing Maltesers, singing stupid songs and sending toy hamsters through ‘the ring of fire’. Every year I ask my other half what kind of birthday cake he would like and every year the answer is cheesecake. We’ve seen double chocolate, dulce de leche and tiramisù versions come and go but last year’s cake seems set to stay. Inspired by a dessert he had at a Mexican restaurant well over a year and a half ago, once again the request was made for lime cheesecake with a spicy ginger crust. To lift it from the realms of delicious dessert to birthday-worthy celebration cake it is topped with a cloud of whipped cream, curls of lime zest and a cute flag I found in my favourite card shop.
Cobbled together from a mixture of recipes, the main inspiration for this cheesecake is Smitten Kitchen’s Key Lime Cheesecake. I swapped the graham cracker crust for ginger nuts, left out the sugar and upped the quantity so there was enough to reach up the sides of the tin. I also skipped the pre-baking step which I often find results in a slightly burnt flavour when using ginger biscuits. The filling is essentially the same but uses normal (Persian) limes rather than Key limes which are impossible to find here! I also added lime zest to the filling for extra citrus umph.
Our guests all loved the dessert, the only problem was there wasn’t enough! Next year I think I’m going to have to make two cheesecakes…
Lime and ginger cheesecake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the crust:
- 300g ginger biscuits
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 450g cream cheese at room temperature
- 215g sugar
- 175ml lime juice (from about 3-4 limes)
- zest of 2 limes (best done with one of these)
- 120ml sour cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tbsp plain flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs, beaten
For the topping:
- 250ml double cream
- zest of 1 lime (looks pretty in long curls)
First make the crust. In a food processor or with a rolling-pin and a zip-loc bag blitz the biscuits into fine crumbs. Mix with the melted butter and press onto the base and 4cm up the sides of a 23cm springform pan*. Chill in the fridge for at least 30mins.
While the base is chilling, heat the oven to 160°C and make the filling.
With an electric hand whisk or mixer, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth then mix in the sugar. Add the lime juice and zest, sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth. Gently stir in the flour and salt then add the eggs all at once and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the filling into the base, put the tin on a baking tray and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the centre is just set. Turn the oven off and leave the door ajar. Leave the cheesecake to cool to room temperature in the oven.
Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the crust then gently remove the sides. Transfer to a plate and chill until ready to serve.
Just before serving whip the cream to soft peaks and spread over the top of the cheesecake. Decorate with curls of lime zest.
* If you have a metal measuring cup, pop it in the freezer before making the base. Use the cold cup to press the crumbs into the pan. It makes this job much easier and creates a nice neat corner between the base and sides.