christmas sweets

Cheesecake Recipe

Written by ziir

This creamy, fluffy cheesecake recipe is perfectly sweet with a light and delicate texture, all wrapped in a crunchy Graham cracker and toasted pecan crust. Getting the perfect no crack bake is easier than you think and the end result is so beautiful it almost doesn’t need any topping!

I love cheesecake but not those dense bricks you find at some restaurants, for me a cheesecake should have a light fluffy texture and an nice balance of sweet and tangy. The crust had to have a nice crunch and depth of flavor so I add toasted pecans into the mix and it makes all the difference! A cracked cheesecake is still delicious but I have all my baking tips below for all of you that want a beautiful unblemished surface.

A piece of cheesecake topped with strawberries and mint.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW DO YOU AVOID CRACKS IN CHEESECAKE?

Anyone who has made cheesecakes probably has had issues with cracks forming on the surface as the cake bakes. This happens because the cake is cooking quicker towards the edges, while the center is still liquidy. AKA the center is not rising with the edge of the cake, and so the cracks develop.

Bake at a lower temperature for a longer time. Doing this will gradually warm the filling and cause less uneven expansion and cracking.

Keep the oven CLOSED! Don’t open it to check on things and when the time is up turn the oven off and leave it closed of an hour or so. You want the cake too cool gradually and the extra oven time allows the center to bake just a little longer at an even lower temperature. This Either way, I have to admit that a cracked cheesecake doesn’t taste all that bad!

Baking your cake in a water bath, or Bain-Marie helps reduce this problem and works like a giant cake strip (if you don’t use cake strips you need to start, you can buy them or make your own). The steam from the water also helps keep the top from drying out too quickly.

WHAT DO YOU DO IT YOUR CHEESECAKE CRACKS?

Eat it! it still Tastes great and is so easy to cover with extra dollops of whipped cream or candied pecans

You can also make a traditional sour cream topping by whisking together 1 pint sour cream, ¼ cup sugar and 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Spread over the cake once slightly cooled and bake another 10 minutes at 325F. If you’re making this topping and the cake has cracked then you can let the cake cool in the oven for 20 minutes after baking then raise oven temp to 325F, spread topping on and bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely and chill overnight  before removing from pan.

HOW SHOULD YOU GARNISH CHEESECAKE?

This pumpkin cheesecake is AMAZING plain but a big dollop of whipped cream is always welcome. Mix 1/2 to 1 cup or whipped cream with two tablespoons-1/4 cup powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla extract until soft peaks form then add dollops onto each piece or pipe dollops along the edge with a star tip.

HOW TO MAKE CHEESECAKE

A Graham cracker crust for cheesecake getting made in a food processor.

1. Add the Graham crackers, toasted pecans, salt, sugar and cinnamon to a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Pulse until broken into a fine meal.

2. Drizzle the melted butter in while pulsing. Remove blade and use a spatula to finish mixing in the butter.

A Graham Cracker crust being formed to the inside of a springform pan.

3. Transfer the crust to the springform pan. Use a tall glass to tamp it down and to the side. The more you compact the crust the better it will cut after baking so give it a nice press. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes or until it just begins to brown.

4. Cream the room temperature cream cheese, sugar and salt together until smooth. I’m using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment but this can be done with a hand mixer as well.

Sour cream and eggs getting added to a mixer with cream cheese to make cheesecake.

5. Add in the room temperature sour cream and beat until completely combined then scrape the bowl down.

6. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time allowing each to incorporate before adding the next then toss in that vanilla. 

cheesecake-recipe

7. Sprinkle in the flour while the mixer is running on low. Scrape down the bowl really well and then miix until batter is totally smooth.

8. Pour the batter into your partially baked crust. The filling will not really rise during the bake so you can pour to almost the top. I wrapped my pan in foil because I was going to baking in a water bath but it turned out not to be needed.  Bake at 350F for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 300F and continue baking to 40 minutes. Leave the oven door closed for an hour after baking and then you can remove from the oven. This cake is best chilled so if possible make it a day ahead.

cheesecake-recipe

PRO TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESECAKE RECIPE

  • Start off with really room temperature cream cheese. Leave it out the night before or zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power. If the cream cheese is too firm the batter will not be smooth.
  • Beat the cream cheese and sugars until completely smooth.
  • If you’re cursed with cracking then bake in a water bath and leave that oven closed for an hour after turning off and before removing. Slow and steady wins the race for a nice smooth uncracked cheesecake.
  • Try not to open the oven, the rush of cold air into the oven will not be good for your delicate cake.
  • Don’t be frightened if your cheesecake seems underdone after an hour of baking, it will firm up.
  • When you wrap the cheesecake up Have a piece of paper towel under the plastic or foil. This will absorb condensation and your surface will be unmarred by water droplets.

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Cheesecake Recipe

A light and creamy cheesecake in a crunchy graham cracker pecan crust that’s beyond delicious. Getting the perfect no crack bake is easier than you think!

Course Dessert 

Cuisine American

 Prep Time 10 minutes

 Cook Time 1 hour

 cooling time 12 hours 

Total Time 13 hours 10 minutes 

Servings 10 people 

Calories 584kcal

 Author John Kanell

Equipment

  • 10″ springform pan

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 16 Graham Crackers more if you’d like a thicker crust
  • 1 cup pecans 70g, toasted
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter 56g, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar 24g
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1g

For the Cheesecake

  • 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese 1.13kg, room temperature, 4.5 packages
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar 350g
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract 10mL
  • 5 eggs large, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp All purpose flour

Instructions

For the Crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Add Graham crackers and toasted pecans to your food processor and pulse until broken into small pieces. Add sugar and cinnamon then pulse until mixed in completely. Pour in melted butter while pulsing processor. Remove blades and use a spatula to mix butter in completely. See post above for instructions on making this without a processor or stand mixer.
  • Transfer mixture to your springform pan and spread our with a spatula so the crumbs are evenly distributed on the bottom and toward the side as well. Press into a flat layer using a tall glass and really try to compact the side to it keeps it’s shape after cutting. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 350, or until fragrant and a darker golden color. Remove from oven, set aside.

For the Filling:

  • Add ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese to stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and mix at medium speed to cream.
  • Add the sugar and the salt to the bowl and mix on medium until creamy. Scrape bowl down and mix until completely homogenous.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla extract, mix well then add the eggs and yolks one at a time, allowing each to incorporate before adding the next. Sprinkle in the flour and continue to mix. Scrape the bowl down and mix until completely smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the foil-wrapped 10 inch springform pan. The batter will not rise much at all during this low and slow bake so you can fill it up almost to the top. If you’re using an 8″ pan then you will have some extra batter for individual/mini cheesecakes, which you can bake in cupcake papers.
  • Place springform pan into a large roasting pan or on a baking sheet (this makes sure there are no leaks and it’s easier to remover from the oven.
  • Bake at 350F for 20 minutes then reduce temperature to 300F and bake another 40 minutes or until cake’s edge is set but center is still wobbly. Turn oven off but leave door closed and allow cake to rest for an additional hour in the oven. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature then cover with a towel or paper towel and chill overnight. You can enjoy the cheesecake after a few hours of chilling but it’s MUCH easier to cut if you’ve chilled it overnight.
  • You can garnish the cake with dollops of whipped cream, berries, or enjoy plain.
Notes

Pro tips to make the perfect cheesecake

  • Start off with really room temperature cream cheese. Leave it out the night before or zap it in the microwave for 20 seconds at 50% power. If the cream cheese is too firm the batter will not be smooth.
  • Beat the cream cheese and sugars until completely smooth.
  • Bake in a water bath and leave that oven closed for an hour after turning off and before removing. Slow and steady wins the race for a nice smooth uncracked cheesecake.
  • Try not to open the oven, the rush of cold air into the oven will not be good for your delicate cake.
  • Don’t be frightened if your cheesecake seems underdone after an hour of baking, it will firm up.
  • When you wrap the cheesecake up Have a piece of paper towel under the plastic or foil. This will absorb condensation and your surface will be unmarred by water droplets.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 584kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 207mg | Sodium: 507mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 1949IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg

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ziir

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