This classic vanilla Cheesecake Recipe can be topped with fresh macerated berries such as blueberries or strawberries as well as your favorite flavor of pie filling. You might also choose to drizzle it simply with fudge sauce or salted caramel or serve it just as it is for a scrumptious bakery style dessert.
Easy Cheesecake Recipe
This classic cheesecake recipe features a creamy filling reminiscent of a New York style cheesecake. I like to place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven in place of baking it in a traditional bain-marie. What is a bain-marie? In short, it’s a water bath. The purpose of a bain-marie is to gently stream the cheesecake filling while it bakes and help prevent cracking. I’ve had excellent success using a pan on the bottom rack of the oven and forgo the aforementioned. If you prefer, you can bake the cheesecake in a bain-marie, simply choose a deep pan that’s big enough for the cheesecake to fit easily inside. Fill it about 1 inches up the sides and make sure the foil is water tight to prevent leaking.
How to Make the Best Cheesecake Recipe
- Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Cheesecake: Graham cracker crumbs, butter and granulated sugar for the crust. For the filling you’ll need 2 pounds plain cream cheese, sour cream, granulated sugar, large eggs, vanilla extract, cornstarch and fresh berries and whipped cream for serving.
- Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A stand mixer or a hand mixer, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a 9 inch springform pan, a rubber spatula for scraping the bowl, an 8 x 8 inch pan filled with boiling water and a cooling rack. It’s also helpful to have an offset icing spatula or knife to run around the edge to loosen from the pan.
- Cheesecakes love a moist cooking environment to keep the filling creamy and delicate and prevent cracks on top. A classic bain-marie technique is to bake the cheesecake directly in a water bath. The technique I use in this recipe is placing a pan of steaming water on the bottom rack of the oven and it works like a charm. Either way will work, just choose the right size pan if baking the cheesecake directly in the bain-marie.
- This cheesecake uses four 8 ounce blocks of plain cream cheese.
- It’s important that the cheesecake has ample time to chill before cutting. That makes it ideal for make ahead preparation.
- You can top this classic vanilla cheesecake anyway you like. Topping suggestions: cherry, peach, apple, strawberry or blueberry pie filling, macerated strawberries, raspberries or blackberries or a combination of mixed berries and whipped cream. You may also opt to drizzle it with warm hot fudge sauce or salted caramel sauce.
- Prior to freezing, cut into desired size pieces and place a small rectangular piece of wax paper between the slices prior to wrapping. This will allow you to remove only what you need when you want a piece for dessert. Thaw frozen cheesecake in the refrigerator.
- Store Cheesecake chilled in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze it for up to 3 months.
More Cheesecake Recipes to Make
Cheesecake may seem intimidating to some cook’s but it doesn’t have to be. More cheesecake recipes you may also like to try:
- Double Chocolate Cheesecake is the perfect way to say, “I love you.”
- My island inspired Key Lime Cheesecake features a no bake filling.
- The topping on my recipe for Pecan Pie Cheesecake is to die for!
- Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake is filled with those chopped Reese’s cups that we all love.
- No Bake Lemon Bliss Cheesecake requires no cooking at all.
- No Bake Fluffy Cherry Cheesecake is another quick and easy cheesecake to make.
- Strawberry Cheesecake Bites from Spaceships and Laser Beams.
When to Serve Cheesecake
There’s no wrong time of day or occasion to enjoy cheesecake. Serve it for morning tea time or a holiday brunch. You can serve it for picnics as well as more formal occasions and when entertaining friends. Life is short, eat dessert first.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup salted butter melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 8 oz blocks plain cream cheese softened
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- 1 cup full fat sour cream room temperature
- Toppings: cherry, peach, apple, strawberry or blueberry pie filling, macerated strawberries or mixed berries and whipped cream or drizzled with chocolate ganache or caramel
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place an 8 x 8 pan on the bottom rack and fill halfway with boiling water.
- Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap the outside of the bottom of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, to prevent any leakage. Set aside.
- In a medium-size mixing bowl toss together graham crumbs with granulated sugar and butter until fully moistened. Press evenly onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Place the pan into the freezer while you make the filling.
- Using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until completely smooth. Add cornstarch and vanilla, mixing well.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl as needed. Mix in sour cream by hand.
- Pour evenly into the crust. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hr 10 - 1 hr 20 minutes or until the center is still slightly loose when gently shaken. It won't be completely set. Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and leave cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour longer to finish baking.
- Remove to a cooling rack, and allow to cool for 30 minutes then run a knife gently around the top edge. Cool completely to room temperature. Leave the ring in place, wrap and chill for 1 preferably 24 hours.
- Slice and serve with fresh fruit and whipped cream or any of your favorite toppings.