Rich and creamy, silky and smooth, this classic cheesecake is a perfect indulgence every time.
I may not tell you about this but I’ve been a big fan of cheesecake. I usually stock up a slice of cheesecake in the fridge, even in the freezer in case I am craving fro this luscious dessert. Classic cheesecake is one of my favorites as it is incredibly smooth, creamy, and delicious. It also is easy to share with other people, because you may not like the other flavors but well who else does not love the classic original vanilla taste?
WHY I LOVE THIS CLASSIC CHEESECAKE RECIPE
This classic cheesecake yields the smooth and creamy texture and the richness thanks to the combination of heavy cream and cream cheese used in the making. While cream cheese is the base and gives the tangy taste, heavy cream adds richness and makes for a delightful creamy texture. Adding in vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste makes it extra special and flavorful.
This cheesecake is simple to make, even when you are a novice baker, it requires basic ingredients with minimal baking steps. This recipe also includes some tips to ensure your cheesecake turns out perfect: no crack, no burning.
HOW TO MAKE CLASSIC CHEESECAKE
Unlike crustless cheesecake, classic cheesecake consists of a crust and a batter. To make the crust, first we need to crush the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Use a food processor to pulse them or add the crackers to a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to a large bowl and toads them with granulated sugar, then mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are moistened. Use your hand in this step if possible. You can skip this step by using store-bought graham cracker crumbs. Bake the crust at 350F for just 10 minutes then let it cool while preparing the batter.
To make the cheesecake filling, you’ll start by adding softened cream cheese and sugar to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beating your cream cheese until it’s smooth and no lumps remained. Then, mix in the sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
Next, mix in the eggs one at a time, again on low speed until fully incorporated. You should only beat the egg on low speed as high speed will create too much air into the batter, causing potential cracks in your cheesecake. Scrape down the bowl using a rubber spatula halfway through and continue to mix until combined. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to turn the filling a few times, make sure everything is well combined and no streaks of white. Pour the batter into the cooled graham cracker crust, give the pan a gentle shake or a few taps to even it out, and transfer to the oven to bake.
BAKING TIPS TO PREVENT CRACKS
Use the water bath method. All you have to do is place the spring form pan in a roast pan filled with hot water then place the cheesecake just above the pan in the oven. Water bath is not complicated and is a part of the cheesecake baking process. The steam from the hot water will create a humid environment thus it will help prevent the cheesecake from drying out, which causes cracks on the surface.
Low temperature and longer baking time. The cheesecake should be baked at a low temperature for about an hour. It will ensure the center is baked and gives a smooth and creamy texture. The cake is done when the sides are set but the center is still slightly jiggly.
Do not over mix. I will repeat this so many times because overmixing will cause the cracks and tougher batter in any cake!
Toppings. The best part of making a classic cheesecake is that you can top it with anything because vanilla flavor pairs well with everything. You can also top the cheesecake with homemade salted caramel sauce, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, fruity sauce…
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 cup (155g) graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker sheets
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/56g) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
- 4 8-ounce blocks (904g) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk , room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 cup (122g) sour cream
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
- Lemon Curd
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Chocolate Ganache
- Strawberry/Raspberry/Blueberry Sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
- Make graham cracker crust. Use a food processor to pulse graham cracker sheets or add the crackers to a ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into fine crumbs. If you have a store-bought graham cracker crumbs, you can skip this step. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well combined and moistened. Using your fingers to press the crumb mixture into the pan to form an even layer. Using your fingers, press the crumbs into the pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F/160°C.
- Make the filling. Before you start, make sure cream cheese, eggs and sour cream are at room temperature. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium low speed until it forms a smooth texture and no lumps remained. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low for extra 15-30 seconds. Then, mix in the sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time on low speed until fully incorporated. Scrape down the bowl using a rubber spatula halfway through and continue to mix until combined. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing and use a rubber spatula to turn the filling a few times, make sure everything is well combined, smooth and no streaks of white. Pour the batter into the cooled graham cracker crust, give the pan a gentle shake or a few taps to even it out or use a rubber spatula to spread evenly, and transfer to the oven to bake.
- Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with one large piece of foil all the way up, make sure that water from the bath doesn’t seep into the cake. Place the pan inside a large roasting pan, then fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it comes about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Place gently in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until the sides are set but the center is still slightly jiggly (it will set as it rests in the fridge).
- Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for at least two hours. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Cheesecake is best served cool. Serve cheesecake with toppings. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the fridge for up to 5 days.