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  • Writer's pictureNava

The most buuuutiful cheese cake


My mum called me and said, ‘Nava, I want you to make me a cheese cake!’

 ‘Which one of my cheesecakes would you like, Mama?’ I asked obligingly.

‘Oh no,’ she replied, as if I’d suggested that the earth was flat, ‘not one of your recipes, this is the most buuuutiful cheesecake in the world.  I had it at Natalia’s house when I was visiting her.  Esther made it.  That’s what I want you to make for me!’


Can you imagine Michelangelo’s mother dropping in on him and saying, in an Israeli accent, ‘Mickey, motek, I want you to paint a portrait of me, but can you do it in the style of Sandro (Botocceli), his women are so feminine. Yours look like men with breasts…’


Or Leonard Cohen’s mum asking her son to write her a birthday song:

‘Lenny, bubaleh, can you write your mama a birthday song, but none of that dreary stuff you usually churn out. We want people dancing, not crying into their birthday cake. You know the sort of thing the Beach Boys throw together…’


But I didn’t bother to voice these thoughts because, let’s face it, Mama is coming to me for cheesecake, not pointers on diplomacy (a concept I’d have to explain to her). Instead, I put my ego back in its box and got crackalackin’. I made my mum the cake, which a quick call to Esther revealed was from the Monday Morning Cookbook. I stayed true to the recipe, though, if I was going to bake it for myself  I’d use less sugar, but I had my orders and I wasn’t going to risk an incident. When you’re dealing with my mum, failure is not an option. Luckily, it’s a very simple cake with lots of Ricotta and no separating the eggs. Easy to follow instructions and a snap to make.


I dropped off the cake, and rang my mum to see if it was up to snuff. The good thing about my y Mum is there’s no problem reading her tone. She was so excited she was she was screaming into the phone so loud that the whole car reverberated. ‘It’s so buuuuuutiful! And not too sweeeeeet, just enough sugar! And soooo soft and fluffy!  I luuuuuuuv it!!’ So that was a success, I thought, reading between the lines. Maybe it wouldn’t have been too bad for Michelangelo to paint a portrait Botticelli style, or for Leonard Cohen to trot out a tune a la Brian Wilson. But not everyone is lucky enough to have a mother who can inspire them like mine.

Some tips for Baking Success

Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature this will help to create a smoother batter and ensures even mixing.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

When adding the ricotta, make sure it's well-drained to avoid excess moisture in the cheesecake.


Ricotta cheesecake


Make sure all ingredients are at room temprature


290g (1 cup) caster sugar

1kg fresh ricotta, drained if wet

250g sour cream

3 Tablespoons custard powder

1 ½ Tablespoons cornflour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Finely grated zest of 1 Lemon



Preheat the oven to 180C

Line a 28cm round springform cake tin or a 24cm square cake tin.

Using a stand alone electric mixer, or a hand held mixer,  whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the Ricotta and beat until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and beat until well combined.  Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour, or until golden and puffy.  The cake will rise during baking but fall once cooked.


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