500g (two packets) firm cream cheese at room temperature. I use Lancewood or Philadelphia
2 vanilla pods, seeds scraped or 2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
The finely grated zest from four limes
The juice from two limes, or two tablespoons of lime juice
6 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
150g or scant 3/4 cup xyletol
large pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. (I use the fan setting).
Line the base and grease the sides of a 20cm spring-release tin. Using two pieces of heavy foil, wrap the base of the tin so that no water will penetrate it during baking.
Have a larger roasting pan at the ready to place the wrapped tin into and use it as a water bath. Take care that once the cake tin is placed in the roasting tin that you are able to fill it with just-boiled water to at least half-way up the tin (but not so much water that it spills into the cake batter).
Mix all the ingredients together so that it is one perfectly homogenous batter. A rule in baking is that all your ingredients must be at the same temperature. This is even more essential here and your cheese must be soft or you must soften it first by beating the hell out of it. I leave it out the fridge overnight. I mix this in my food processor, fitted with the steel cutting blade.
Bake the cake in its water bath for 55 minutes.
The top should be a burnished golden and it should feel set to the touch. It will continue to set as it cools and even more so when refrigerated. Wait for it to be chilled before carefully removing it from the tin. I turn it upside down onto a plate to make removing the base of the tin easier and then, using another plate, turn it right side up. Sometimes I only bake it for 50 minutes and then the centre is more like a mousse. It doesn’t slice as well this way.
I think it is at its best taken out the fridge 30 minutes before eating it.