Just recently, I walked into a cafe that was known for their cheesecake. I bought a slice home and it was just as mouth watering as they promised. But these days whenever I try a new dish that I love, my first thought is “I should be able to make this.” And so, I set about finding my favorite way to make cheesecake.
In the past I’ve made some cheesecake recipes that claim to be “easy, no bake” recipes, but these never really worked out for me. Unlike the classic South African Milktart, I think the best cheesecakes need some proper time in the oven for the flavors to rise, mix, and evolve into their rich, creamy texture. This recipe however, turned out to be so good my cousin claimed it to be the “cheesecakes of all cheesecakes!” Serve it as a dessert with some coffee or tea, and you’re bound to be in heaven. The only caveat is that after baking, you have to wait a few hours for the cheesecake to chill properly before serving. But it’s so worth it!
Tips for the Cheesecakes of all Cheesecakes
The first thing to note for this recipe is that it makes LOTS of cheesecake! So if you want a recipe for less servings, or if you don’t have a large baking dish, you can cut the recipe in half and it will work just as well.
Next, make sure that your ingredients are all room temperature: eggs (lightly beaten only – don’t overbeat them), sour cream, and especially the cream cheese. This ensures that the cheesecake will bake evenly without any lumps. It will also be much easier for you to whip everything together nicely.
One of the keys to making this cheesecake is that you should monitor the oven every 10 minutes or so, just to make sure that the cheesecake isn’t rising too much. I’ve learned that sometimes the time to cook your cheesecake depends oven to oven. And however tempting it might be – don’t open your oven door! Not monitoring your cheesecake or opening your oven door can cause the cheesecake to crack, or for the cheesecake to cook improperly.
There’s an infinite amount of toppings that you can serve for your cheesecake, from fresh fruit, to caramel or chocolate syrup, crushed oreos, drizzled honey, or canned fruit. I served my first few slices with canned peaches, and the taste was absolutely divine.
Without further ado, let’s get ready to make the most incredible cheesecake, (and for your kitchen to smell absolutely amazing.)
Serving Size: 8-10
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour – 1 hour 15 minutes
Utensils: 12 inch round baking pan (deep), or 12 x 15 square dish (deep)
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1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (170g)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
7 tablespoons melted butter
32 oz (910g) cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
2/3 cups (160g) sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
4 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 160°C. Prepare the crust by crushing the graham crackers. I usually find that a rolling pin or a large wooden spoon is best for this. Next, combine the sugar and butter together until the batter is well mixed.
- Press the crust into the bottom and sides of your baking dish. I’ve found that sometimes it can be tricky with my fingers, so sometimes it’s easier to get the little nooks and crannies in with a fork or a spoon, and set aside. It also gets easier when you wait a while for the butter to cool, which keeps its shape better
- In a large bowl, whip together the cream cheese just until it’s creamy. Add in the sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Make sure you don’t overmix, otherwise the batter will have too much air in it.
- Lightly beat the 4 eggs in a smaller bowl until it’s just evenly mixed (again, don’t overbeat.) Gradually stir into the cream cheese batter until all the eggs are thoroughly incorporated.
- Pour the batter into your baking dish. To avoid any spills, I prefer to bake my cheesecake on top of a tray lined with foil so it catches any spills.
- Bake the cheesecake anywhere between 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes at 160°C, making sure to check the rise of the cheesecake periodically. For smaller portions, you may have to reduce the baking time by about 15 minutes.
- You’ll know when the cheesecake is done when it is slightly puff at the top and barely light golden. Run your knife around the edge of the crust to prevent it from cracking as it cools. Chill the cheesecake to room temperature, and then chill it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving. Don’t worry, it will be SO worth the wait!