Today’s recipe is a delicious Christmassy spin on a classic cheesecake that is perfect for the holiday season. It’s a very easy recipe that requires very little effort or time spent actively cooking. Read on for our delicious Glühwein cheesecake recipe.
Taste: Like Christmas (if Christmas was a cheesecake)
Ease: Very. Follow our tips to make it even easier.
Pros: This cheesecake is perfect for any occasion during the festive season.
Cons: Your house will smell like a Christmas market.
Again?: Definitely. At least once more in 2020.
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A great cake for the festive season
I was trying to come up with something simple to make for Thanksgiving diner. I didn’t have the time to make a pie as I would have to make the pie base from scratch and cook the pumpkin if I decided to go that route. Neither Peter nor Miss M are fans of cooked fruit anyway, so I was limited in the type of pie to make.
I wanted something that was going to be easy and quick to make, would not hog the oven for ages (like a pavlova) and would allow me to make It a little in advance. I didn’t want it to be too rich or I would be limited by what I could do for the rest of our dinner. I also didn’t want it to sit too heavily in the stomach after a large meal.
I was inspired by our recent chai cupcakes. The spice mix in these is so delicious and so reminiscent of Christmas markets (especially German ones) and all that we are missing this festive season. It’s so much more delicious than simply using gingerbread spice mix (which does not seem to be a thing outside of Germany). I nearly made the cupcakes again.
I didn’t want to over do it on the spices, didn’t want to remake the chai cupcakes and then found a simple packet of ginger snap biscuits at Aldi (not part of their regular stock here). A plan was formed.
And if I was going to go with Christmas spices to remind us of Christmas markets, I really needed to have some Glühwein (or Kinderglühwein) too.
With that, the idea for this delicious Glühwein cheesecake was born.
The advantages of this Glühwein cheesecake
The biggest advantages of this Glühwein cheesecake are its simplicity and the fact that it requires little effort to make.
This recipe really is one that you throw things in a bowl, mix briefly and pour into the pan. It really is that easy. Especially at holiday time, simple and stress-free is what you need.
Protecting the base
Three facts culminated in a rather soggy base for our Glühwein cheesecake:
- I mistakenly believed that I would be able to prevent the water from getting in using a couple of pieces of aluminium foil. I had done it before, so was not all that worried.
- I was distracted by the other things I was making for Thanksgiving and not giving the cheesecake the attention it deserved. This recipe is very light-on as far as actual effort is concerned, but I was a little too distracted at the crucial aluminium moment.
- I had a helper and wrongly assumed that she would be able to secure the aluminium sufficiently. I failed to double check.
The base still tasted great, despite the sogginess. Though it seemed to leak lovely spiced goo all over the cake stand.
Luckily, there is an easy fix. Instead of using pieces of aluminium foil to create a protective layer around the cheesecake for baking, use an aluminium grill tray or disposable aluminium baking pan. Simply squash it against the sides of the springform tin before filling the form with the cheesecake mixture. This will eliminate the possibility of gaps and leaks and a soggy base for your Glühwein cheesecake.
More tips for making this Glühwein cheesecake
How to simplify making your cheesecake base
If you have followed this blog for a while, you will know that I use ziplock bags. A. LOT.
The easiest way to crush your biscuits for the cheesecake base is to put the biscuits in a ziplock bag, zip it shut and then hit it with a rolling pin until the biscuits are all crushed. You don’t have to get any appliances dirty (or clean them).
For simplicity, add the other ingredients for the base to the ziplock bag. It is really easy to mix with your hands through the plastic of the bag. You can also easily tell whether there is just enough butter in the mix to get the base to stick together.
Tips for the Glühwein glaze
I cheated. To save time, I used good store-bought Glühwein for the glaze.
It is readily available in Germany, but it might not be where you live. If it is not, use our Glühwein recipe to make your own (it’s really easy too, I swear). And don’t forget your Christmas mugs to enjoy what’s left in the bottle or the rest of what you made while it is still gluehing!
Germany likes fruit flans. It is very easy to get a gelatin mix specifically for use with fruit on top of cakes. In German, it’s called Tortenguss, and it comes in normal and for use with red fruit.
You will probably need to look online or go to a specialty shop to find it. If you can’t find it, use a red fruit jelly (Jello) instead. Check the instructions on the packet and use the amount you need for 250 mL of liquid.
Don’t remove it from the form until you have poured over the glaze or it will just run everywhere. Decorate before the glaze sets. We chose orange peel curls, raspberries, cinnamon sticks and star anise, but you can use whatever you like.
- 8-10 inch springform pan
- ziplock bag
- large baking dish
For the base
- 150 g ginger snap cookies (approx. 12 biscuits)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cardamon
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
- 50 g butter melted
For the filling
- 300 g creamed cheese
- 200 ml cream
- 200 ml sour cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 eggs
For the glaze
- 1 packet red Tortenguss
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 250 mL Glühwein
- 2 tbsp red fruit jam
- Orange peel, red fruits, spices (as you wish, to decorate)
For the base
- Grease the springform tin and set aside.
- Put the ginger snap biscuits in a ziplock bag, zip it closed forcing out most of the air, then hit it the bag with a rolling pin until the biscuits are crumbs.
- Add the spices and sugar to the ziplock bag, reseal and mix so that everything is evenly distributed. Add the melted butter to the bag, reseal and mix manipulate the bag to mix until the mixture starts to form clumps when pressed together. If it is not sticking together at all, add a little more melted butter.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan so that the bottom of the pan is covered evenly.
- Place the springform tin inside the aluminium grill tray. Press the sides of the grill tray against the springform tin, forming it so that the springform tin sits snuggly inside the grill tray and the grill tray forms a barrier against water getting in.
For the filling
- Preheat the oven to 160°c.
- Pour cream, sour cream and cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, vanilla essence and eggs and beat with a handheld mixer on medium until well combined.
- Pour the cream and egg mixture into the springform tray. Place the aluminium grill tray with the springform tray inside a large baking dish. Fill the baking dish with water until it reaches about halfway up the side of the springform tray.
- Carefully place the cake in the baking tray in the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until the cake is set in the middle. Allow to cool.
For the glaze
- Add the Tortenguss, sugar, Glühwein and jam to a saucepan and cook according to the instructions on the Tortenguss packet.
- Pour the glaze over the cheesecake while the glaze is still hot and decorate as desired.
The perfect cheesecake for the festive season
Bring a little bit of the Christmas markets home with this delicious Glühwein cheesecake this festive season. Follow our tips to make it even easier and quicker to make and to ensure that it is perfect. Enjoy the spirit – and the taste of the festive season this year!