Baked Cheesecake

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Published on 5 April 2024 by Andrew Owen (3 minutes)

Thirty years ago, my journalism career peaked before it had really begun. Through a connection between my journalism course director and his counterpart at Long Island University, I was able to stay in New York over the Easter recess. During my visit, I did some copy editing for Inter Press Service. But mainly I did the shortest ever internship at WBAI radio with Amy Goodman as my news editor. At one press conference I put questions to Tony Kushnre, Rosie Perez and Susan Sarandon. At another press conference with Jesse Jackson, I got the last seat in the room, right next to him. I asked if he minded if I used my microphone instead of plugging into the room sound. He agreed and because the room sound failed, I was the only one who got audio.

One time I got sent to cover a Latin affairs story and, given my lack of expertise in the area, I organized for the Latin affairs department to cover the story, which I believe was a first for WBAI. I also sat in on Eric Corley’s “Off the Hook”. On my return to England, flush with success, I had the tenacity to obtain Tom Lehrer’s home telephone number (although he didn’t want to be interviewed, so I didn’t get much in the way of usable quotes). After that I did important but unglamorous but sometimes important local newspaper journalism for the rest of that career. But nothing ever compared to being a kid with a radio rig and a temporary press card in New York City.

Living in Brooklyn and working mostly in Manhattan, I used to go to Junior’s on the corner of Flatbush and DeKalb for a full American breakfast before catching the D train. Lunch would be a slice of pizza washed down with pink lemonade from a nondescript vendor. For dinner, I’d return to Junior’s for a grilled cheese sandwich or similarly light snack. Why? So I could finish the slice of cheesecake I’d be having for desert. Over the course of my stay, I worked my way through the menu. While I was there, Pink Floyd released “The Division Bell” which one radio station I listened to played in full (with an ad break after the A side). On April 5, I was in my dorm room, listening to the same radio station when I heard the news that Kurt Cobain was dead at 27. I think that was my generation’s John Lennon or JFK moment. I also remember inline skating through Central Park and going to see a baseball game. But my abiding memory is the cheesecake.

Sponge Base

  • 14 g unsalted butter (softened) for the pan.
  • 43 g sifted cream flour.
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder.
  • 1 pinch table salt (or small pinch msg).
  • 2 extra large eggs (separated).
  • 67 g sugar (divided).
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
  • ¼ tsp lemon extract.
  • 28 g unsalted butter (melted).
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar.


  • 5½ packs of full fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese (165 g each).
  • 333 g sugar.
  • 30 g corn flour (cornstarch).
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract.
  • 2 extra large eggs.
  • 180 g heavy whipping cream (or 110 g double cream plus 70 g single cream).


  • You can find the instructions online, but I’d recommend buying a copy of “Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook”.
  • For the base, use a 22 cm cake tin. Heat the oven to 177 °C.
  • The corn flour (cornstarch) is to prevent the top from cracking.
  • Bake in a water bath to seal in moisture.