Last year, in a small pocket of calm during the very high-energy London Coffee Festival, my friend KS introduced me to Benjamina Ebuehi, British baker, food stylist and a bit of a celebrity in her own right following her star performance on The Great British Bake Off (aka The Great British Baking Show). Benjamina was flashing her trademark radiant smile at the #BakeforSyria stand, where she was selling some of her baked goods. I was really happy to have met her and knew I wanted to feature her work here. It has only taken me a year to get a slot on her busy schedule, between working on her first book, and her other recipe development and food styling work. But here we are with her party-worthy White Chocolate, Pretzel and Hazelnut Cheesecake. Or maybe prepare this for your own bake sale for a good cause? Or perhaps you could make it just because you like cheesecake! —Kristina
Benjamina Ebuehi is a baker and food stylist based in London. She finished as a quarter finalist on the seventh series of The Great British Bake Off and now works within food hosting workshops, developing recipes and creating modern, flavorful bakes. Her first book, The New Way to Cake, will be published this autumn. You can find Benjamina on Instagram @bakedbybenji.
Photography by Benjamina Ebuehi
- For the Base
- 150g (2/3 cup) Digestive Biscuits (We like McVitie's, or you can use graham crackers or your favorite similar cookie)
- 60g (1/4 cup) Salted Pretzels, plus extra to decorate
- 50g (3 1/2 tablespoons) Blanched Hazelnuts, plus extra to decorate
- 80g (6 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, melted
- For the Filling
- 200g (7 ounces) White Chocolate
- 350g (1 1/2 cups) Full Fat Cream Cheese
- 400ml (1 2/3 cups) Double Cream or Heavy Cream
- 2 tablespoons Hazelnut Liqueur (optional)
- For the Topping
- 250ml (1 cup plus one tablespoon) Double Cream or Heavy Cream
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- Chocolate Shavings
Line the base of a 20cm/8-inch loose bottomed tin with greaseproof paper and lightly grease the sides.
To make the base, add the biscuits, pretzels and hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse until you have a fine crumb. Pour in the melted butter and pulse briefly to combine. Add the crushed biscuits to the tin, pressing down firmly to get an even layer. Chill in the fridge while you make the filling.
To make the filling, melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Once it’s fully melted, set the bowl aside to cool completely. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth before stirring in the cooled chocolate.
In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream (or heavy cream) until thickened and it can hold soft peaks. Fold this into the cream cheese mixture until fully combined and then stir in the hazelnut liqueur if using. Pour the filling onto the biscuit base and spread it out evenly, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
Let the cheesecake chill in the fridge for 4-6 hours or ideally overnight to set. When you’re ready to serve, whip up the double cream (or heavy cream) with the vanilla extract until it reaches a thick, spreadable consistency. Spoon the cream onto the middle of the cheesecake, leaving about an inch free around the edge. Decorate the edges with pretzels and chopped hazelnuts before sprinkling on some chocolate shavings.