Jaggery cheesecake is a rich and decadent cheesecake with a biscoff cookie crust and a jaggery sweetened cream filling. This cake has a smooth texture and slight smoky hint of jaggery in every bite. Its not too dense but is creamy and rich.
What is Jaggery
Jaggery is an unrefined sugar product popular in India and is available in syrup, blocks and powdered form. It is made by evaporating sugar cane juice and is regarded a super food rich in iron and anti oxidants. It is considered warming for the body and its consumption is especially recommended during winter months.
Be it the ghee & biscoff cookie crust or jaggery cream cheese filling or cardamom whipped cream, each element of this cake enhances the taste of its counter parts. I have been meaning to try this cake for quite a while now and its going to be our Thanksgiving dessert this year.
The original idea and recipe of this Jaggery cheesecake comes from Masterchef Sasi Chelliah. You can find his original recipe here. I used the cream cheese filling recipe in entirety. However, I changed the other components of the cake to our liking.
How does the cheesecake taste
This jaggery cheesecake is quite delicious and unimaginably creamy. It is simple to make and the taste of jaggery filling is mildly smoky, quiye similar to brown sugar. With the subtle hint of cinnamon from biscoff cookies and cardamom whipped cream, each and every bite is delighatful. I simply loved the indian twist to the traditional cheesecake.
A Look at the Cheesecake Components
- Biscoff Cookie Crust :- I used 20-25 biscoff cookies and melted ghee, and sweetened them with a tablespoon each of sugar & jaggery for the crust. You can use digestive biscuits, ginger snaps or graham crackers as well for the crust.
- Jaggery Cream Cheese filling :- The filling uses usual cheesecake ingredients- full fat cream cheese,jaggery, sour cream, heavy cream and eggs are few of the things for the filling.
- Whipped Cream - Simply whipped cream flavored with fresh ground cardamom.
Do make sure that except the whipping cream, all the ingredients are at room temperature . During cold months, I simply set out everything on the kitchen counter overnight.
Selecting the Cake Pan for the Cheesecake
We need a spring form cake pan to bake any kind of cheesecake. Spring form cake pans have a removable circular ring and so the cheesecake can be unmolded easily. It is not possible to turn over the cheesecake after baking like traditional flour cakes so spring form cake pans are a must when making cheesecakes. I always use non stick spring form cake pans because nothing is more frustrating than a cake sticking to pan after all the hard work.
How To Make Jaggery Cheesecake
As with every cheesecake, the process of making this cake starts with the crust. I start by crushing the biscoff cookies. You can add little cinnamon while crushing the cookies as well if you like them extra spiced. It is important to crush the cookies such that there are no big pieces. I find pulsing in a food processor better than hand crushing in a Ziploc bag.To make the cheese filling, simply start by beating the softened cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Next we add the jaggery followed by sour cream and heavy cream. Then the eggs go in one by one and the filling is mixed just so that its smooth and lump free. The cream cheese filling is then poured over the cookie crust. The cake is then baked in a water bath.
When mixing the filling, you have to make sure to not overmix the filling. Stick to exact timings that I have noted down in the recipe. Overmixing incorporates air. The air bubbles pop during baking and create cracks. Also, I recommend you to strain the filling after mixing it. It is an additional step but trust me it really makes sure that the filling is super smooth.
Baking Cheesecake in Water Bath
To prevent a soggy crust, it is a good idea to wrap the cake pan in 3-4 layers of aluminum foil. Baking the cheesecake in a water bath will help in slow baking of the cheese layer reducing the possibility of cracks and unevenly baked areas. In a nut shell, water bath prevents drastic temperature changes while the cheesecake bakes. After the cheesecake is finished baking, water bath additionally helps in slow cooling hence preventing the temperature of the cheesecake to drop drastically once the oven is off. This prevents cracks and the possibility of shrinkage of edges and the top surface is reduced as well.
Chilling the Cheesecake
I always chill the cheesecakes overnight or for at least 6-8 hours. It us a true test of patience but chilling helps a lot in the final structure of the cake.
Tips for a creamy cheesecake
- Using room temperature ingredients. Softened cream cheese is super easy to work with.
- Do not over mix the cheese filling. It incorporates air into the filling. Air in the filling means cracks while baking.
- It is important not to overbake the cheesecake. The edges should be set and the center of the cake should be wiggly. We cannot use a skewer to test this cake since it will crack the cheese layer so simply follow the timings in the recipe.
- Baking the cheesecake in a water bath and cooling down in water bath as well.
- Chilling the cheesecake for 6-8 hours.
Here are a few other cheesecake recipes from the blog :-
- Mixing Bowls. Spatula, 8 inch Spring Foam Pan, Large roasting pan
For The Crust
- 18-20 biscoff cookies
- 2 tablespoon melted ghee
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon powdered jaggery
For The Jaggery Cheese Filling
- 680 g (3 blocks) full fat cream cheese, softened
- 250 g (1 cup) jaggery
- 250 g (1 cup) sour cream, at room temperature
- 200 ml (¾ cup) heavy cream
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 50 g (⅓ cup) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup Whipped Cream flavored with ¼ teaspoon of green cardamom powder
- ¼ cup sliced nuts of choice
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Prepare a 8 inch/20 cm springform non stick cake pan and line the base with parchment. Wrap the cake pan all round in 3 layers of aluminum foil.
- Place biscoff cookies,sugar and jaggery in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Whiz to crumbs. Add ghee and pulse to combine. Press the cookie crumbs to the base of prepared pan. Keep ready.
- Put water to boil in a kettle or over stove .Place cream cheese in a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat for 2 minutes until the cheese is smooth.
- Add the jaggery and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- Add the sour cream and heavy cream. Beat for 1 minute.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating total for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add in the cornstarch and lemon juice. Beat to combine .
- Strain the cheese filling. This step is optional but recommended.
- Pour the filling over the crust. Smoothen the top using a flat spatula. Tap gently to get rid of air bubbles.
- Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Add enough boiling water till halfway up the sides of the pan.
- Reduce the oven to 300F/150C. Carefully place the roasting pan in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes or until the sides are set and the center is wiggly. Dont peek.
- Turn the oven off and let cool for 30 minutes. Dont peek. Slightly pop open the door of the oven using a wooden spoon and let the cake cool for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool it to room temperature.Chill overnight or for atleast 6 hours.
- Unmould the cake and seve topped with whipped cream and nuts.