Butterscotch pecan cheesecake

The trouble with baking cakes is that I always end up eating them. And nobody needs a whole cheesecake to themselves (especially this one, which contains a criminal amount of Philadelphia). Even if I somehow limit myself to just a slice, the rest taunts me from the fridge, gradually disappearing in sneaky spoonfuls until: Ooops…I appear to have eaten the whole thing!

So when Dunc had friends for dinner last Friday, I figured a crowd of hungry blokes was a good excuse to make something indulgent that would be polished off fast enough to safeguard my waistline. (As it was, the cake turned out pretty rich – though in a good way – so it even outdid four ravenous men. It was still fresh enough two days later to double up as afters for Sunday lunch.)

The recipe is from the most recent Hummingbird cookbook, Cake Days. Considering I was involved in the book’s production, I really ought to have tried more recipes from it (my only other foray was the sublime Grasshopper Pie, which I did for Christmas Day). I picked this cheesecake because it is one of my favourite photos in the book and slightly autumnal with its crunchy nuts and varying shades of brown.

I’ve only made cheesecake once before, and Hummingbird recipes are generally delish, so I didn’t dare fiddle with quantities or method. It turned out pretty well – looked quite divine and not so very different to the photo in the book, though without the fancy plates and props. And it was just delicious: rich but not sickly, with four distinct textures (short biscuit base, creamy filling, crunchy nut pieces and firm, smooth, sugary butterscotch). You can find the recipe here, along with the lovely original photo, or on p174 of the Cake Days book.

My only quibble is how the team got the butterscotch topping so flawlessly smooth for the book photo; mine instantly began to cool and thicken, so it ended up with ‘swirl marks’ from the back of the spoon. Any ideas?

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