Mum’s Baked Cheesecake and…JAS058

A few posts ago I let you know that Archie now has his full licence and as such, can legally drive a V8.  And he has been looking forward to this for many years, given his father has a V8 and it’s a 1967 Mustang.

When I was growing up with my four sisters my mother’s pride and joy wasn’t a 1967 Mustang.  It was a much newer piece of fine machinery called a Datsun 120Y.  The advertising slogan was, ‘New Datsun 120Y, the perfect put-together’.  Purchased second-hand in 1977 for probably the equivalent of the loose change you have behind the cushions of your sofa, it had less than 10,000kms on the clock so I think we got away with pretending it came straight from the showroom.

Mum's Baked Cheesecake

Mum’s Baked Cheesecake

Nobody was ever jealous or envious of my mother’s Datsun however to this day my mother is convinced a friend of hers was jealous of the added feature her turquoise car had with its textured cream vinyl roof.  That gave it a distinguished look.  So smart!

The 120Y had four doors which was a quantum leap from my mothers previous vehicle that was an Escort with only two doors with an enormous car seat in the back taking up 50% of the allocated seating leaving three of us sandwiched between the side wall and the offending car seat.

My mother beetled all over Sydney in her very smart two-toned 120Y that didn’t have power steering, air-conditioning, a CD-player, tape deck or even FM radio but it was automatic (another enviable feature), it did have vinyl seats that were a cut-above vehicles with cloth, and it did have an excellent heater (on the floor only) that kept your toes toasty warm all through winter.

I used Nice biscuits

I used Nice biscuits

By the 1980’s that Datsun was still going strong and now it entered its years of punishment because one by one the five of us began to learn to drive.  My mother upgraded to a sports car, handed over the keys to the Datsun and banned us from her new wheels.

She found some doddery old fool to be our driving instructor and he used to get into the passenger seat and we would have to follow his instructions as he taught us all there is to know about passing a driving test.  One thing he didn’t touch on was the purpose of the side-mirrors.  Who needs them?  We thought they were a complete nuisance and it was my older sister who often returned the car with the side mirrors dangling as she explained a pole leaned into her as she drove by.  Clip, and the mirror was smashed, broken or left hanging beside the car.  It seemed almost weekly we were humbly taking the car up to the mechanic trying to explain what happened to the latest side mirror.

Sorry about the lumps.  I was squeezed for time when making this so didn't beat the cream cheese until smooth - this would have avoided the lumps!

Sorry about the lumps. I was squeezed for time when making this so didn’t beat the cream cheese until smooth – this would have avoided the lumps!

The wheel hubs in 1977 were completely pristine but in the 80’s they took a beating with all that reverse parking the doddery old instructor made us do.  ‘You’ve hit the kerb; again’, he’d say throwing his hands in the air and looking completely fed up.

‘Well it’s parked, isn’t it?’ I’d say in my defense because it was only a small car and the fact it was on a slight angle to the kerb didn’t look like a huge issue anyway.

‘Do it again’, he’d say, eyes to the front, while I was rolling mine wondering how much longer I had to endure such a tedious lesson.

Decorated with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg

Decorated with whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg

One of my other sisters had issues with reversing.  We had a long driveway and the driveway ran along the edge of the house so it was a bit of a tight squeeze.  One day she was backing out of the garage and she got a little too close to the house.  She heard a noise but couldn’t imagine what it was as it looked like she had cleared the house so kept reversing as a mysterious scraping noise continued down the length of the car.  At the letterbox she got out to inspect what could have gone wrong and alas, every panel was dented and scratched.  She’d forgotten about the outdoor tap sticking out from the wall at the back of the house when estimating the amount of clearance required.

My little sister had a lot of trouble with a lot of aspects of driving.  Even going forwards was an issue.  In the front garden my father had planted some trees.  There were three of them and apparently they were meant to be an admirable feature.  They were bald most of the year and looked like a collection of dead sticks and I’m not sure if that was what made them special or if the trees were in fact, stressed.  Late one night my little sister came up the drive and it was a straight driveway but she somehow veered off onto the lawn, collected the feature trees, turned the car sharply to the right, re-entered the drive and parked the car in the garage with new dents to the front bumper to match the tap indentations down the side of the car.

A great family dessert

A great family dessert

Going in reverse up the driveway she collected the letter box.  After several letterboxes had been destroyed my father had a double brick wall built with a built-in letter box.  Somebody else filled it with Diesel (what’s the difference anyway?) and somebody else collided with a lolly-pop man.  No harm done but he probably learned to be a little more agile.

That poor Datsun suffered much being left in the hands of teenagers and our friends.  Hardly any of our friends had a car and so the Datsun was very popular.  I took it away to schoolies and one night we crammed into the Datsun as many teenagers as would fit and went to the beach for a bonfire.   One of the boys drank the best part of a bottle of rum and on the way back he had to wind down one of the windows, lean out and let out all that rum, right down the side of the car.

I think we had that Datsun for nearly 20 years.  Mechanically it was still going strong but it’s body had long since given up.  My father took the Datsun 120Y badges off the car and put them in the place where he keeps all his treasures.   JAS058 was tearfully sent to the scrap heap.


During the 80’s whenever there was a special occasion, like a birthday, mum would ask, ‘What would you like for dessert?’  It was this baked cheesecake that featured at many, many special occasions and all the ingredients would have been brought home from the shops in the Datsun with Sophie, our dachshund who loved a car trip, sitting on the back shelf.

Mum’s not sure where the original recipe came from but it is over 30 years old and may have been a Women’s Weekly recipe or it may have been on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese packet.

I usually serve this with fresh raspberries on the side

I usually serve this with fresh raspberries on the side

Mum’s Baked Cheesecake

Serves:  8-10

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  Around $15.00

Begin this recipe a day ahead.

  • 250g plain sweet biscuits (I used Nice)
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 500g Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 250g sour cream
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbspn lemon zest
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 300mls whipping cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 160C or 140C fan-forced.

Grease a 22cm spring-form cake tin.

Crush biscuits in a food processor or with a rolling pin.  Pour in melted butter and mix well.  Pour into prepared tin and press down, hard.  (You can line the sides with the biscuit base but I didn’t).  Place in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

In a food processor, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sour cream, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract.  Beat until well incorporated.  Add eggs and continue to beat until smooth.

Pour cream cheese filling over base.  Place in oven for 1 hr or until slightly wobbly in the centre.  Leave in oven for two hours to cool.

Refrigerate overnight.

Remove cheesecake from tin.  Whip cream until soft peaks form then spread over cake.  Grate some fresh nutmeg over the cream.  Serve with whipped cream on the side or fresh raspberries to make this a healthy dessert option!

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  1. WOW! Seems so delicious, you are great. Thanks and Love, nia

  2. I laughed at some of the driving issues of your siblings. I too had a problem with reverse and my mom was with me in the car when that building didn’t get out of my way when I backed up. (Of course, she never had a license so she didn’t have a lot of experience with those immovable objects to relate to.) The rear bumper on my first car was hard black rubber and took a lot of punishment without showing anything. The current car’s bumper is not so forgiving.

    Love the cheesecake.

    • I think they used to make cars able to take more of a beating. The 120Y was virtually indestructible. You only have to look at my current car and another scratch appears.

  3. Loved your car stories, Charlie, as well as the nutmeg grated over this classic cheesecake! My mother decided to ditch the family car (the size of a small barge) in favor of a “sportier” model shortly before I passed my driver’s license test. I felt guilty asking for the keys to the Camaro — but what’s a girl to do? Somehow, at this juncture, I related to your beloved Datsun… “mechanically it was still going strong, but its body had long given up.” 🙂

  4. What a beautiful cheesecake! I love the look…a few lumps wouldn’t hold me back from true enjoyment! Four sisters learning to drive–there’s a parental headache! 🙂 We had an orange Datsun at one point in the 70s. I think your mother’s with the cream top would have been more appealing. We had a green Gremlin, too…so we have some funny stories associated with our choice in cars, too! 🙂

  5. What a great story about your Mum’s car, Charlie, of course you could make anything come to life! We never kept a car that long, but my Dad did have a Chrysler Newport with 100,000 miles on it (before we switched to km in the 70’s). We had satin seat and we loved them because we were able to slide all the way across. Mom and Dad would put our crib mattress in the back seat which fit perfectly (gives you an idea of the size of boat it was) so when we travelled from Montreal and back we could sleep. It had seat belts but no one ever thought to use them in those days.
    I haven’t made a cheese cake in ages, and baked versions have always been my favorite. In the 90’s there was a cheese cake rage (much like cupcakes or macarons are the rage today) and I must have made a few dozen a year, trying to perfect each recipe. Next time I am going to bake a cheese cake I shall do your Mom’s recipe. Of course, it will have to wait until it’s not 30°C with high humidity. XO

    • My father had a mattress he used to put across the back seat of his Holden and we’d sit on that for our long car trips from Wellington to Auckland – and no seat belts of course.

  6. Haha I loved learning about your mother’s car my friend and even more, about your mother’s cheesecake! It looks absolutely beautiful 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. I remember my days of driving lessons…actually my dad was my instructor 🙂
    The cheesecake looks decadent Charlie, I like the combination of sour cream and cream cheese…yum!
    Have a lovely week!

  8. Haha sounds like the Datsun went through a lot. You have such a vivid memory of the past and you sure know how to tell the story. And the over 30 year old cheesecake recipe sounds very promising! Love the grated nutmeg on top. Simple yet looks very delicious!

  9. I had my mum’s old Datsun skyline for a few years, and a Datsun Pulsar before that. Those were the days, eh… 🙂

  10. We had a 120Y aslo Charlie. The 4 of us were not lucky enough to get free run off that car but I am sure if we did , exactly the same thing might have happened. Great story. x

    • I’m so glad you’ve had the 120Y experience, Tanya. I think it’s a shame that ours went to the scrap heap. It ran on the smell of an oily rag and was completely indestructible.

  11. We had a 120Y also Charlie. The 4 of us were not lucky enough to get free run off that car but I am sure if we did , exactly the same thing might have happened. Great story. x

  12. I’m still not great at reversing over a longer stretch. Love this post so full of great memories. My then boyfriends parents had a Two tone Datsun in the late 70s. I thought it was very cool! GG x

  13. My MIL had an orange 120Y and like you say, that thing was virtually indestructible! I learnt to drive in our florist delivery van with a stick shift, and my dad would take me out in the eveningsa and make me practice reverse parking between two buckets on the road. We wisely refused to give MiddleC driving lessons and made her get a proper driving school- we knew it would be better for long term family relationships and save a fortune in therapy later in life 🙂 x

  14. RIP JAS058.. On a brighter note, the cheesecake looks fab lumps and all, which you cannot even tell anyways!

  15. Wow what a life that car had! We didn’t do too much damage to mum and dad’s cars while we were learning but I did manage to take the side mirror (and a little of the side of the car) off dad’s. He was meant to leave it out of the garage for me and forgot. Our garage was a side by side but the entry was single so you had to do some serious manoeuvring to get in and out.
    I wouldn’t have noticed the lumps if you didn’t mention them! Looks wonderful Charlie!

    • Side mirrors are definitely an issue for learner drivers. It sounds like we had the exact same driveway/garage situation – we had that difficult manoeuvring situation too.

  16. My first car was a 1967 Mustang! Maybe I could have been your Mom’s friend! Love the look of her cheesecake as well.

  17. Cars don’t interest me in the slightest slightest slightest, but cheesecake is my lactard self’s weakness pleeeease I wants this much. (Though I did just have another epic Cheesecake Factory creation…)

    • Okay, well I won’t tell you where you can get yourself a 120Y but I hope you do make this cheesecake. There’s no peanut butter but it still tastes good!

  18. Your Mum must have the patience of a saint and nerves of steel.

  19. Your classic cheesecake sounds phenomenal! I’m suddenly craving a slice 🙂 Ah….driving. I took the side view mirror off on the house myself…but it was my sister who rolled the station wagon with her friends in tow. I don’t think we wore seat belts in those days…amazing we’re still alive!!!

    • It seems a very common problem that side mirrors are removed against the side of the house. Why don’t they make a flexible side mirror? And none of us ever rolled the Datsun!

  20. Oh I remember the 120Y and this lovely cheesecake I think you are right it could have been on the back of the cheese packet. I think I have made it many years ago – thank you so much for this I will give it another whirl.

  21. G’day! What a wonderful, sentimental story to share today, true!
    Love reading stories behind the foods that we share too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  22. My mother had a Datsun but there were only 3 kids in her family. That little car could go up snow and ice covered hills like there was no tomorrow. When everyone was stuck, my mother was on her way.

    I really like your mother’s baked cheesecake. It’s a fave of mine.

  23. Another great post, Charlie. You sure know how to tell a story. My Sis’s first car was a used Datsun B210 which, if Wikipedia is to be believed, is the same model as you Mother’s Datsun 120Y. Hers wasn’t nearly so fancy and had a regular rooftop. I love cheesecakes of all types, though baked ones top my list. Yours, here, sounds like a very good one. Thanks for sharing your Mother’s recipe with us.

    • Thanks John. Yes, I think the B210 is the same as our 120Y. How funny. What a shame she didn’t have the super-deluxe model with the textured cream roof – so special! Happy to share my mother’s recipe with you John but it’s very difficult keeping up with what emerges from the Bartolini kitchen.

  24. Your parents must have had amazing forbearance. I bet your mother was glad she had her sports car.

  25. What a story to tell! Poor lovely car & poor parents: What they had to go trough with all that bad driving adventures! Hahahahahahahahahahaha!
    Your mom’s cheesecake looks ontsnappingen beautiful & appetizing too! WAW even!

  26. LOL well I’m glad I’m not the only one with a colourful driving history! 😛 The cheesecake looks lovely! Save me a slice? 🙂

  27. Interesting how car stories are so much part of life. Meanwhile, please save a piece of that cake for me.

  28. Oh, they don’t make cars like they used to. I bet JAS058 would still be going if it hadn’t gone through quite so many teenagers. 😉
    Fantastic recipe – must remember this one for when the family are all down visiting again.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  29. Hi Charlie, thank you for sharing your driving experiences. Love your sense of humour. Wow … look like all of you really enjoyed and abuse the Datsun to the fullest. 🙂 Those day I learned and passed my driving test using Datsun car too but it was manual gear. Now after years of driving auto gear car, doubt I can handle manual gear again. 🙂

    The cheese cake look perfect and very well bake. Great to go with a cup of coffee.
    Have a nice day ahead.

  30. My husband drove that same car as a teenager! His dad gave it to him when he upgraded his car! My husband still speaks fondly of that car.
    On a different note, I love baked cheesecake, there is something different about their texture that makes them irresistable

  31. Really great story! Never had a Datsun, but I certainly remember them – never could figure out why Nissan dropped that name in favor of, well, Nissan. I think learning to back up is a challenge for all of us. Well, back up in a straight line and not hit anything, I mean! Those side mirrors do come in handy for that. Good cheesecake, good post – thanks.

  32. That Cheesecake looks so homey ! So unpretentious! So real ! Could sell my soul to have a slice of that.
    Mom’s recipes always rock 🙂

  33. Wow never heard of a Datsun car before but it sure sounds like it’s been through a lot with all four girls learning to drive in it, schoolies and everything else hehe 🙂 I had so much trouble learning how to drive and my parents were horrified so in the end I had to get a friend who was on their full license to teach me hahaha

    Oh oh oh I’ve seen a recipe cheesecake recipe on the packet of the philly cheese and it’s awesome I’ve made it many times so so so good! xox

  34. hahahaha!! I loved reading these Charlie, you are amazing. “There were three of them and apparently they were meant to be an admirable feature. They were bald most of the year and looked like a collection of dead sticks “…………….hehehehe!! Very entertaining Charlie!

  35. Haha, love the driving story. This cheesecake looks awesome! I love when it has a topping on top of the cheesecake. Looks super creamy 🙂

  36. Such a gorgeous looking cheesecake!!!

  37. I loved your driving stories. I wonder how many modern day cars would cope with that treatment?! And I am sure those front trees were stressed with the driving going on around them (and then into them!) 🙂 I was terrified of driving when I started and have never mastered parallel or reverse parking properly but am glad I haven’t hit much in my time – a few kerbs and surely we all do that!?

  38. I LOVE a good cup of tea and a book with the cheesecake

  39. The legendary Datto! i don’t have personal experience with a Datto, but one of my friends in highschool had a very old VB Holden Commodore that would not die no matter what we did to it. She lost the keys to it one day, but we quickly learned that a flat head screwdriver was all you needed to both unlock the doors and start the car. There were holes in the floor and the thing was an absolute deathtrap, but at 17 we thought it was the best little car ever. It was all about the freedom, not necessarily the class 😉

  40. They cetainly don’t make cars the same way anymore! A small ding and they’re a right off! Go the Datsuns 😉 We used to have one growing up, my Dad drived an old council bin green one, the colour was putrid but as you say the car was indestructable 🙂
    I do love a good baked cheesecake! Thanks for sharing you Mumma’s recipe xx

  41. My mother had a Datsun 120y too! She used to collect me from before-school piano lessons and drive me to High School one morning a week. I was always late to the first class and remember my classmates saying they knew when we were coming because you could hear the 120Y’s distinct engine sound a mile away!! RIP indeed x

  42. Ah one always remembers their first set off wheels with such fondness. They tend to correspond closely with a first taste of real freedom. Your mum looks like she was a great cook too.

  43. I had a sister just like yours! To this day, I insist on driving when we’re in the car together. 🙂 Great story! If it says “Mum’s”, it’s got to be good – just a basic, simple, down to earth cheesecake. Love it!

  44. I had lived where public transit was really great (and often faster than driving) so I didn’t get my license until I was 25, when I moved to South Florida (where transit sucks). I think being older, I had more patience and better judgement than I would have as a teenager.
    Mum’s cheesecake looks just perfect and so lovely.

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