Perfectly Plain Cheesecake Recipe
Cheesecake  Photo Tutorial - How To Make Perfect Cheesecake

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This wonderful cheesecake recipe and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX. Check out more of Cynthia's Southwest Recipes.

Plain Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love a good cheesecake? Ok, maybe there are some out there that don’t, and I have to feel a little sorry for them. I have always loved a good cheesecake, and for many years my cheesecake consisted of the cream cheese and condense milk refrigerator version, with canned cherries on top. I actually thought this was a cheesecake! I do still love this version, and it is great when you are in a rush, but this is nothing in comparison to the “real deal.” 

While attending the University of Texas, some friends and I began experimenting with making cheesecakes. They always seemed to come out runny, cracked. or just wrong. It wasn’t until my senior year there that I actually found the secret to a wonderful cheesecake, and realized that maybe all those other attempts were good cheesecakes, but the preparation and cooking methods were all wrong. So here is my recipe, and with a little help from watching shows like Alton Brown’s Good Eats I found the perfect way to make it and cook it so that it came out wonderful!

This is just a basic cheesecake recipe, but it can be used as the base for many other varieties. Change the crust, add some chocolate, or just get creative! Have fun developing other ways to make it; once you have made one that comes out like this the possibilities are endless!

Check out the following tips and hints on baking cheesecakes:

Baking A Perfect Cheesecake
Baking Cheesecakes Ahead Of Time
Cracks in Cheesecake
Cutting Cheesecake
How To Freeze Cheesecakes
Traveling with Cheesecakes
Springform Pans

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Perfectly Plain Cheesecake Recipe:

Recipe Type: Cheesecake, Eggs, Cakes, Dessert
Yields: 12 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Bake time: 45 min


2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) melted and cooled
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese softened to room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream room temperature

NOTE: It is very important that the cream cheese, eggs and cream be at room temperature. You may need to let them sit out for an hour before beginning to make this recipe.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (315 degrees F. for convection oven).

Wrap the bottom of an 8-inch Springform Pan with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Set aside another oven-proof pan that this can sit into. You will use these as a water bath when cooking your cheesecake, so make sure the aluminum foil come up high enough to keep water out of your cheesecake. Cut a round piece of parchment to cover the bottom of the springform pan, and set it in.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, two tablespoons of sugar, and the cooled butter in the bottom of the springform pan.

Once it begins to cling together, use a flat object, such as a cup or glass, to firmly press the cookie crumb mixture onto the bottom of the pan and half way up the sides. Place this pan into the larger ovenproof pan and set aside.

melting Butter

Cheesecake Crust

Beat the cream cheese for a minimum of 3 minutes; add the remaining 1 cup sugar and beat this mixture until it is light and creamy.

NOTE: Start the mixer on a medium low speed and work up to medium high as the cream cheese becomes smoother. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides AND the beaters while mixing so that all the cream cheese is well beaten. It can take up to five minutes of beating to get a smooth, fluffy cream cheese mixture.

mixing cream cheese

mixing cream cheese

mixing cream cheese


adding eggs to cream cheese


Add the eggs, one at a time, beating at medium speed after each one is added. Increase the speed of the mixer to high and let this mix while you add the lemon juice and vanilla to your cream mixture.

Stir the lemon juice and vanilla into the cream to mix well.  This will curdle the cream, so don’t be surprised to see some lumpiness in the cream.



mixing cheesecake better


On low speed of the mixer, carefully add the cream mixture and mix well at medium speed. As before, frequently scrape down the sides and the beaters so that the mixture is smooth.




cheesecake ready to bake


Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan.



mixing cream cheese


Place the two (2) pans into the oven on the middle rack, and fill the larger, outside pan with hot water until it is about half way up the sides of your cheesecake pan.




baked cheesecake

Bake this until it is golden brown and the edges are firm to about 1 inch in on the pan, about 40 to 45 minutes.

Turn off the oven, crack the door open, but leave the cheesecake in the two pans inside the oven until they are cool enough to touch. During this time, the remaining part of the cheesecake will firm up so that it does not “jiggle” when the pan is moved. DO NOT CHECK FOR DONENESS BY INSERTING ANYTHING IN YOUR CHEESECAKE. 

NOTE: There should be no wet spots or liquid areas in the center of the cheesecake. Remember that a cheesecake continues to cook when it is removed from the oven.

Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. NOTE: Cool the cheesecake completely before attempting to remove from the springform pan. To remove from pan, simply release the sides and slide the cheesecake up and out of the pan. The parchment round on the bottom of the cheesecake will make it easy to slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate.


inside of cheesecake    inside of cheesecake
Photos showing inside texture of the cheesecake.

Makes 12 servings.

More Delicious Cheesecake Recipes:

Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake
Chocolate Fudge Cheesecake
Anything chocolate makes it on my list of favorites, and this cheesecake is one of those.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
Peanut butter and chocolate! This delightful combination of flavors will remind you of one of your favorite childhood candy bars.

Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Cheesecake
Chocolate Hazelnut Swirl Cheesecake
This cheesecake is for serious chocophiles. Imagine the hazelnut spread on a bed of crunchy nuts and a piping hot cup of coffee - it's a sweet temptation.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Never again make a pumpkin pie for the holiday. This cheesecake is absolutely wonderful. Let your family be the judge!

Sweet Potato Cheesecake
Sweet Potato Cheesecake
A wonderful cheesecake with a light sweet potato taste.

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