Milk tart cheesecake with Rum caramel

Everyone has a collection of secret recipes, the hand-written kind, passed on by either a family member or really a good friend who doesn’t mind spilling the beans. In amongst the hand-me-downs, is my mother’s recipe for a soft-set crustless milk tart that’s almost curd-like in the centre with a whispery wobble that reassures it’s going to melt in the mouth. Most of us grew up eating milk tart, made as only our mothers and grandmothers could. When I eventually hang up my apron, I hope my girls will still be talking about this Milk tart cheesecake. From the moment I sliced into its satiny softness, I knew we were in deep trouble.

Milk tart cheesecake with Rum caramel

My eldest daughter, Skylar is easily seduced by a buttery-crusted milk tart. Sabrina though, is obsessive in her pursuit of the perfect cheesecake. As a mother, mediator and general peacemaker, here, I’ve managed to please both. The rum caramel is for me.

Next week we celebrate Heritage Day and so the planning and preparation of what to eat and who to invite to the gathering begins. As always, there’ll be plenty of salads on the table and several cold desserts for a sweet ending. This year, I’ll be adding this milk tart cheesecake to the offering. It’s the perfect make-ahead dessert. Refrigerated, it keeps well for several days. Just before serving, I drizzle over the lukewarm rum caramel sauce. It’s going to wow them!

Milk tart cheesecake with Rum caramel

Apart from being the creamiest milk tart I’ve ever made, it’s also the first time I’ve used the Instant Pot to bake with. It worked a charm. Like with most baking recipes, there are a couple of tips and tricks to flawless results. When making any cheesecake, room temperature ingredients are key. This includes the cream cheese, ricotta and eggs. The ricotta gives it a lighter, slightly less cloying mouthfeel without compromising on taste or texture. For a smooth texture, don’t over-beat the filling once the eggs have been added.

*WIN* To help celebrate Heritage Day, Instant Pot is giving away an Instant Pot Duo (worth R2,199) plus a copy of Melissa Clark’s ‘Dinner in an Instant’ worth R299.  To enter, Head on over to @InstantPot and Bibby’s Kitchen Social media pages – Instagram and Facebook, give us a follow and tag a whole bunch of friends and family.

Milk tart cheesecake with Rum caramelMilk tart cheesecake with Rum caramelMilk tart cheesecake with Rum caramelMilk tart cheesecake with Rum caramelMilk tart cheesecake with Rum caramelMilk tart cheesecake with Rum caramelMilk tart cheesecake with Rum caramel


Milk tart cheesecake with rum caramel

Serves 10


200g (2 cups) coconut biscuits

30g (3 tablespoons)  ground almonds (almond meal)

2.5ml (1/2 teaspoon) mixed spice

5ml (1 teaspoon) ground cinnamon

90g butter, melted


250g (1 cup) medium fat cream cheese, room temperature

250g (1 cup) ricotta, room temperature

zest of 1 lemon

10ml (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract

2.5ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

110g (1/2 cup) castor sugar

25ml (5 teaspoons) lemon juice

20ml (4 teaspoons) corn flour

2 eggs plus 1 yolk, lightly whisked with a fork, just to combine

ground cinnamon, for finishing

Cinnamon and rum caramel

110g (1/2 cup) castor sugar

250ml (1 cup) fresh cream50g

(4 tablespoons) butter

30ml (2 tablespoons) rum

a pinch of sea salt flakes

To make the base, grease an 18cm loose-bottomed cake tin or springform pan with butter. Wrap the outside of the tin with foil to ensure it is water-tight.

Place the biscuits, ground almonds and spices in a processor. Blitz until fine. Add the melted butter and pulse to combine. Tip the biscuit mixture into the tin and press firmly up the sides (about 4cm deep) and over the base. Tip: use the bottom of a glass to spread the base evenly. Freeze for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

For the filling, place the cream cheese, ricotta, lemon, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar, lemon juice and corn flour and beat well to combine.

Fold the eggs in gently, just until they are incorporated. Do not overmix as it will aerate the mixture. Pour the filling into the biscuit-lined tin. Cover the top with a sheet of foil and tuck around the rim to seal.

Pour 1 cup (250ml) water into the Instant Pot fitted with the Stainless Steel Inner Pot. Place the Trivet on the base. Lower the filled cake tin carefully onto the trivet. Lock the lid. Select the Pressure Cook program on high pressure and set the timer to 35 minutes for a soft set texture. Add 5 minutes to the cooking time if you prefer a firmer textured cake. Once the cooking time is up, use the natural pressure release method for 10 minutes, then turn to Steam Release handle towards you to release any remaining steam.

Lift the cheesecake out and place on a wire rack. Remove the foil and blot the surface gently with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Cool to room temperature. Chill for several hours until set or overnight.

For the caramel sauce, place the castor sugar in a saucepan set over a medium high heat. Without stirring, swirl the sugar until it’s completely melted. Once the caramel is a deep amber colour, carefully add the cream. Boil on a high heat until the caramel is dissolved and the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, rum and salt. Set aside to cool.

To un-mould, run a smooth blade knife around the edges. Transfer to a cake stand and drizzle with the cooled caramel and dust lightly with ground cinnamon.

This post was proudly sponsored by Instant Pot. As always, opinions and comments are my own and based on personal findings. 

Instant Pot is available online from @Home Stores and YuppieChef.

For more local South African classics, you might like to swing past these favourites:

The best healthy seeded oat crunchies

North African Lamb knuckle bredie



24 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi there Di
    Can it be baked in a normal oven?

  • Good day Bibby, can this be made in a conventional oven in a water bath if an “Ïnstant Pot” is not available. if so, at what temperature and how long ???

  • If you don’t have an Instant pot can you do this in a tray of water in a convection oven? Looks absolutely delicious x

  • Absolutely. You might have to increase the baking time slightly though. The best will be to check every five minutes after the 30-35 minute cooking time. I like it with a just a slight giggle in the centre – voluptuously creamy. Thank you Isabella. Hope you love it!

  • This looks absolutely amazing and I’m keen to try it out for Heritage Day. However, I dont have an Instapot… is there an adaptation for a regular oven?
    Kind regards

  • Hi Louise. Please see the comments above. If you’re keen to win an Instant Pot, there’s a fab giveaway. Details are on the post and Instagram. Happy baking.

  • Hi there Heather. Please see the comment above for alternative baking method. That said, I’ve only tested and tried this particular cheesecake in the Instant Pot, so there might be some adjustments needed with a conventional oven. I think the steam environment in the Instant Pot ensures the texture remains beautifully creamy and moist.

  • Hello Jean. I’ve added some notes for an alternative method. Cheesecakes fare better in at a moderate temperature. As you say, in a water bath at 160 C
    for maybe 35-40 minutes. I’d check the for doneness in increments of 5 minutes. It should be firm-ish around the outside with just the slightest wobble in the centre. Hope that helps. Kind regards Di

  • Di!! This is making me drool over my laptop! I’d better get to the kitchen and dig out ingredients!
    Happy Heritage Day, everyone.

  • Dianne Bibby
    1 October 2019 5:15 pm

    Sorry!! It happens, often in fact. One of the best cheesecakes I’ve had in a long while. Creamy and smooth but not too rich. The caramel takes it some place special.

  • Oh well … on my way to buy an Instant Pot … hubby is convinced it was a ploy to finally get one but I honestly didn’t see that it was used until I was halfway with the recipe. Thanks for great recipe and great excuse 🤪

  • All the more reason to make this cheesecake. Often! I’m sure you’re going to find it super-useful.

  • Sorry Di, a couple of spelling errors there. I adapted it to *oven baking It was such a *hit. I also couldn’t find ricotta in the shops so I just used 500g of full fat cream cheese. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  • Hi Di, I made this for dessert at Christmas and it was so loved by all in the family – they are still talking about it. I made it in a fan assisted oven at 180 degrees for 45 minutes, and I just put it straight in (I didn’t use the water bath). I also replaced the ricotta with cream cheese and it tasted so divine! Thank you for sharing this. Absolutely divine!

  • Hi Di, This looks incredible and i am dying to make it! where did you find the right sized tin? I’ve looked at Woolies and PnP and I’m not finding it.

  • Hi Tyla. I think both these stores will only have up to a 20cm tin. I bought mine from a baking shop. If you’re in JHB, Kadies or Chefs and Icers in Sandton will have. Perhaps you can also try on-line from Yuppiechef. Hope you come right.

  • Senait Mengstab
    4 October 2020 3:26 am

    Do you have a brand for the coconut biscuits? I have no idea what those might be as I live in the US.

  • Senait Mengstab
    4 October 2020 5:01 am

    Also is corn flour the same as corn starch?

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 October 2020 8:59 am

    Hi Senait. Cornflour and cornstarch are slightly different in nutritional value but both work equally well to thicken and bind mixtures. Sometimes also referred to as Maizena.

  • Dianne Bibby
    5 October 2020 9:07 am

    Here in SA we mostly use Baker’s Tennis biscuits for cheesecake crusts. It’s a slightly sweet, butter and coconut biscuit. Hopefully you have something similar? Good luck!

  • Probably any kind of coconut cookie would work. Tate’s makes a nice one, and even a version that is gluten free.

  • The base is very obliging really. Most crisp butter cookies will do the trick. I hope you give it a try. It’s rather special. Happy baking.

  • Sara Whitehouse
    10 February 2021 8:30 pm

    Hi, Thank you for all your hard work with this beautiful recipe! What is mixed spice? Cinnamon-allspice-? Thank You.

  • Hi Sara. My pleasure. Hope there are some new family favourites. All spice is a singular spice. Mixed spice is a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, mace and all spice. Either option will be fine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.