Cheesecakes have taken on Christmas puddings and trifles in a challenge for the nation's favourite Christmas dessert.
If you have one on your shopping list this Christmas, you might be considering going frozen so you can shop early to avoid COVID Christmas crowds.
While lemon and strawberry cheesecakes are the standout flavours for summer, salted caramel is a new firm favourite flavour in the sweet stakes for the festive season.
We set out to taste frozen salted caramel cheesecakes from Tesco, Lidl, Morrisons, ASDA and Sainsburys (the nationwide retailers listing them at the time of testing). Unfortunately, we couldn't get hold of the Sainsbury's one. So four cheesecakes were put through our blind tasting.
Two were our clear favourites.
The Lidl and the Asda cheesecakes were picked by our tasters as their favourites.
Both of our tasters were impressed with the look of this Asda cheesecake: a stylish milk chocolate latticework across the thick, salted caramel cheesecake surface.
The sauce, under the chocolate criss-cross, was a 'just right' thickness and complimented the creamy cheese topping. The flavour of the sauce was a good balance of saltiness and sweetness. All this was complemented by the smooth vanilla and the subtle flavours of chocolate from the patterned topping.
There was a buttery quality to the base which one of our testers adored.
It smelled nice too, said both our testers.
Both tasters said they'd happily buy this cheesecake for themselves and serve it for guests at Christmas.
The largest of the desserts our tasters got to tuck into, this Lidl Deluxe cheesecake had the thickest helping of salted caramel sauce across the baked vanilla cheesecake.
Across its very glossy surface, this cheesecake had been sprinkled randomly with dark chocolate curls.
It had the ideal base for one of our tasters: very crunchy. And the flavour and texture of the topping reminded one tester of the gooey caramel you'd get inside a chocolate bar.
The saltiness in the caramel stopped the cheesecake from being too sweet and went well with the slight tang of the vanilla cheese.
Both tasters agreed they would buy this cheesecake for themselves, but only one was sure they'd serve it at Christmas. The other said maybe.
While the topping was nice and shiny, the elegant drizzle of chocolate is only on one side of this Morrisons cheesecake, which means some round your table will miss out
Our testers reported this as the sweetest smelling and sweetest tasting of all those tested. One said: 'The strongest flavour is vanilla. It reminds me of a vanilla yoghurt.'
It's smooth, thick and, 'a bit like eating whipped cream,' said one of our tasters.
But the the base was judged: 'a bit gritty'.
The very thick chocolate on this Tesco cheesecake made cutting it into neat portions really tricky, and our slices ended up slightly squashed looking.
But the chocolate did taste good and the caramel was sweet and completed the topping. Neither of our tasters were able to pick out any salt though.
When asked, our tasters said they would buy this cheesecake for themselves, but probably not for the Christmas dinner table.
Top tip for serving your frozen cheesecake - Make sure you follow the instructions on how to defrost these cheesecakes and when to remove them from the packaging.
Some of these cheesecakes were a bit fiddly to get out and serve even when we did follow the instructions, so to make sure you get the best results, read the packaging.
Prices correct as of 08/12/2020.