As Dessert Lovers say “Life always tastes better with cheesecake!”
This gluten-free New York-style baked cheesecake pairs wonderfully with the infamous Irish whisky cream, Baileys. The buttery gluten-free biscuit base carries the fluffy caramel cheesecake topping, elegantly and proudly decorated with chocolate, Baileys whipped cream and fresh berries.
Is Baileys Irish Cream Gluten-Free?
The good news is, Baileys Irish Cream is GLUTEN-FREE!!! Despite it having whiskey, the gluten from the barley is removed in the distillation process. If you would like more information about how safe it is to drink Baileys, this research article explains this well.
What non-alcoholic ingredient can I substitute Baileys with:
There are some great flavours available to give the cheesecake a similar Baileys or caramel taste without the alcohol.
How to get that perfect biscuit base
Depending on which biscuit you choose as your cheesecake base, the amount of butter added will vary to achieve a compact base. I notice that when I use home-baked biscuits, I need less butter. Whereas store-bought biscuits are drier and require more butter.
My tip is to add the butter slowly and test the consistency by rubbing the crumbs in your fingers. The crumbs should stick to your fingers easily. If they crumble and fall back into the bowl too quickly, add more butter. Another tip is to press the biscuit base down well with the back of a spoon or flat-bottomed glass.
If you don’t fancy making or using either store-bought or homemade gluten-free speculaas or digestive biscuits, here are some other store-bought gluten-free products that can be used to make a gluten-free biscuit or crumb crust:
- Gluten-Free Pretzels
- Gluten-Free Oreos
- Gluten-Free Shortbread
- Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
- Gluten-Free Marie Biscuits
Tips for a perfect baked cheesecake
Use room temperature ingredients:
Bring the eggs, cottage cheese & cream cheese out to room temperature at least 30 minutes before baking. This prevents lumps and a smoother filling.
Add eggs one at a time and mix until just combined. Don’t over-mix or you will incorporate too much air into the filling which will consequently expand and crack your cheesecake during baking and cooling.
Prepare the spring-form tin:
Flip the base over so that you have a nice flat surface without the ridges around the base. Cover the base with foil and lock it into place with the sides. Lightly grease the base and sides with vegetable oil. Cut out a circle of baking paper and place this on the base of the tin.
Prepare the water bath:
Select a slightly larger deep tray to house the spring-form tin as a water bath. Cover the outside of the spring-form tin in foil. This prevents water from leaking into the spring-form tin. Have some boiling water ready to pour in the water bath just before baking the cheesecake.
Prepare the biscuit base:
The base is cooked between 10 to 15 minutes. Again, this depends on the type of biscuit used. I recommend checking after 10 minutes of baking. If an indentation is left behind when pressed with your finger, it needs longer. It needs to be firm, or the cheesecake filling will seep into the base and ruin its appearance.
Once baked and cooled, brush the base with lightly beaten egg white before adding the cheesecake filling. This acts as a sealant to the base for any potential leaks that could make the base soggy.
Don’t be tempted to open the oven to peek at your cheesecake for the first 30 minutes, or cracks will form.
Don’t skip baking the cheesecake without the water bath. The water creates humidity while baking which prevents cracks from forming, plus bakes gently and evenly.
After 45 minutes of baking, test if it is ready by tapping the side of the tin with a wooden spoon. If it ripples and jiggles, it needs another 10 to 15 minutes more of baking. The ideal time in my oven is one hour, but every oven behaves different, so do this test at 45 minutes.
There are three stages in the cooling period:
- Once the cheesecake is baked, turn the oven off and leave it there for one hour with the oven door shut.
- Bring the cheesecake in the water bath out to cool down for 10 minutes before running a knife along the side between the cheesecake and the tin. This step will ensure the cheesecake doesn’t stick or crack on the sides. Continue to leave the cheesecake in the tin for another 50 minutes at room temperature.
- Remove the tin from the water bath and place the tin in the fridge uncovered for one hour. After this, the cheesecake tin may be covered with a plate or foil and kept chilled until serving time…usually, a few hours later is best.
Since you have prepared the spring-form tin so well, removing the cheesecake onto the serving plate will be a breeze. I run a pastry scraper under the base to loosen it slightly. It slides off easily, including the baking paper from underneath.
Slicing the cheesecake neatly needs some hot water, a big knife and some paper towels. Heat the knife in the hot water, wipe it dry with the paper towel and slice the cheesecake. Repeat for each slice. I even do the same with the cake spatula, as the heat unsticks the crust from the serving platter.
After all that hard work, the moment has come to enjoy your cheesecake. Serve it with extra whipped cream, fresh berries and… perhaps a glass of Baileys?
Gluten-Free Baileys Baked Cheesecake
For the biscuit base
For the filling
- 500 g plain (full-fat or reduced) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 250 g cottage cheese, sieved
- 140 g white sugar
- 3 tbsp cream with 36g fat content
- 1 tbsp cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 3 eggs
- 4 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
For the Baileys decorative cream
- 100 ml cream with 36g fat content
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp Baileys Irish Cream
For the chocolate decorative sauce
- 30 g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- ¼ tsp butter
- fresh berries
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/335°F.
Preparing the tin
- Flip the base of a 20cm spring-form tin and line with foil. Attach the sides to the base.
- Wrap two sheets of foil around the base and sides. This prevents water from seeping into the cheesecake while baking in the water bath.
- Line the base with baking paper. Lightly grease the sides of the tin with vegetable oil.
- Crush the biscuits with a blender or rolling pin. Add the melted butter and mix well.
- Spread the biscuit mixture evenly on the base of the tin until it measures 1 cm thick. Press firmly with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes. The base should be firm and not leave an indentation when pressed with a spoon or finger.
- Sieve the cottage cheese to remove any lumps. Add to a stand mixer bowl.
- Add the cream cheese, sugar, cream and cornflour. Beat well for 2 to 3 minutes until no sugar grains are visible.
- Add the vanilla essence, Baileys Irish cream and sea salt. Mix briefly.
- Add one egg at a time. Mix in until just combined. Do not over beat.
- Before pouring the filling in the tin, thoroughly brush the biscuit base with the lightly beaten egg white. This prevents the cheesecake filling to seep into the base.
- Pour the filling mixture into the prepared biscuit base and place the tin in the middle of a deep roasting tray to use as a water bath. Tap the tin on the side to release any air bubbles.
- Fill the tray with boiling water to a depth of 2.5 cm and carefully place in the oven on the middle shelf.
- Bake for one hour. Tap the side of the pan with a wooden spoon to test if it is done. It is done if the filling doesn’t wobble or ripple.
- Once baked, turn off the oven and leave to cool down with the oven door closed for one hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool down for 10 mins in the water bath, then run a knife around the sides of the tin to release the cheesecake.
- Leave it to cool down a further 50 minutes before lifting it out of the water bath and releasing it from the tin. Store it in the fridge uncovered.
- After one hour of chilling, it is safe to cover the cheesecake with foil or film. Covering it too early will cause condensation to build up if still warm and covered.
- Prepare the chocolate sauce by melting the chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of hot water. Only stir the chocolate when it has nearly all melted.
- Add the butter and mix well.
- Pour into a piping bag to decorate or drizzle with a spoon.
Whipped cream decoration
- Whip the cream with the icing sugar and cornflour until stiff peaks form.
- Add the Baileys and fold in gently.
- Transfer the cream to a piping bag and decorate the cheesecake. Leave the leftover cream in a small bowl to serve with the cheesecake.
- Decorate with fresh berries of your choice.
Slicing & serving
- Heat the knife by dipping it in hot water, wipe it dry with a paper towel and slice the cheesecake. Repeat for each slice.
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze undecorated