The Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe
Classic Gourmet Cheesecake Recipe
Just imagine: You’re having a get-together with your family and friends. Dinner was excellent and everyone is happily content. As your guests are talking and sharing laughs, you bring out a cheesecake that looks just like it came from the Cheesecake Factory.
Everyone oohs and aahs, their mouths watering as pieces are cut and passed around. You hear exclamations of how delicious the cheesecake is, so silky, so creamy. Your friends wonder where you bought the cake. Now imagine the looks of astonished delight as you reply simply, “I made it."
The Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe
The best part is, it’s not hard to make! Follow the steps and you’ll have a beautiful homemade cheesecake.
- 2 cups ground graham crackers
- 1/4 cup butter
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (Philadelphia is my favorite, Trader Joe’s cream cheese comes in second)
- 1 ¾ Cups sugar
- Zest of one small lemon
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 ½ Tablespoons flour
- 5 large eggs
Sour Cream Topping
- 2 Cups sour cream (Knudson is my favorite)
- 5 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
The Final Touch: Creating Your Gourmet Cheesecake
- 1 jar of your favorite jelly (The classic flavors are strawberry or raspberry. However, blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry will also be delicious.)
- 2 baskets of your favorite fresh berries (You can use all one type of berry or a combination.)
Baking the Best Classic Cheesecake Recipe
- Unwrap the packages of cream cheese and let them sit on the counter. Place the (un-cracked) eggs in a bowl on the counter to bring them to room temperature too.
- Make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350°
- Assemble your 10-inch springform pan so the bottom of the pan is upside-down.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a big bowl.
- Pour the melted butter over the crumbs.Mix with your fingers or a fork until crumbs stick together.
- Once the cheesecake crust is mixed up, put it into your springform pan. Press it into the bottom of the pan so it forms a hard base. Keep pressing the crumbs along the sides, about halfway up the pan.
- Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes in the oven (at 350°). Transfer to a rack to cool.
Making the Filling
- Put the room-temperature cream cheese in the mixer and beat till creamy.
- Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat until smooth. Now is the time to taste it. If you love lemon, add a little more. If you want it sweeter, add a sprinkle of sugar. Just add a little at a time and always taste it.
- Add the flour and beat it in.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl. Gently add one egg at a time to the cheesecake filling. Beat each egg until just blended. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl between each egg.
- Pour the filling into the crust. It should not be filled higher than 3/4 up the sides of the pan. If you have a little extra batter, read on for ways to use it.
- Bake the cheesecake about 60 minutes. Let it cool for 10 minutes before adding the topping. You’ll know it’s done when the outer 2 inches is puffed and slightly browned. The center will still look slightly wobbly, like Jell-O. It’s okay if you see cracks in the cheesecake. The topping will cover them.
Sour Cream Topping
- While the cheesecake is baking, mix the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
- After the cheesecake has cooled for 10 minutes, drop spoonfuls of the sour cream topping over the cake. Spread it over the entire cake with the back of the spoon.
- Bake the cheesecake for another 7 minutes, until the topping is set.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven
- Run a knife around the edges of the cheesecake and then let it cool on a rack before putting it in the refrigerator.
- The cheesecake can be made 2-3 days ahead, but the flavor is best 1 day after baking it. To keep it from getting bumped into, keep it in the springform pan until you're ready to serve your cheesecake. When you wrap it with plastic, don't let it touch the top or it will smudge it.
The Final Touch
- Wash and pat dry the berries.
- Melt the jelly in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cool until it’s lukewarm.
- Remove the from the springform pan. Run a hot knife along the sides of the cheesecake, around the edge of the pan. Unlatch the pan and gently remove it from the cheesecake.
- To remove the base of the springform pan from the cheesecake, use a long thin knife and gently slide in under the bottom of the cheesecake, between the pan and the crust. Be sure you keep the knife against the pan. Once you’ve completely separated the cake from the springform pan, gently slide it on a serving dish.
- Fold a damp paper towel into a triangle and run it along the edge of the serving dish, removing all crumbs.
Add the fruit just before serving; otherwise, your cheesecake will turn to mush. You have two options when decorating your mouth-watering cheesecake.
- You can place the fruit on the top of the cheesecake in a decorative pattern before cutting. Drizzle the fruit syrup over the cake.
- You can also wait until after you’ve cut the cheesecake to add the fruit. Place a heaping spoonful of berries on the side of the cheesecake and drizzle the fruit syrup over the cheesecake.
Your guests will be amazed and floating towards culinary heaven!