Perfectly Plain Cheesecake Recipe

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Are you a lover of cheesecakes and on a quest to learn how to make a perfect cheesecake?  Here is a fantastic step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make perfect cheesecake, plus additional troubleshooting tips.  This is just a basic Perfectly Plain 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 Perfectly Plain Cheesecake, the possibilities are endless!

 

Perfect Cheesecake

 

Who does not love a good cheesecake?  OK – maybe there are some out there that do not, 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 condensed milk refrigerator version, with canned cherries on top.  To think I actually thought this was a cheesecake!   Admittedly, 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 was not 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 wonderful Perfectly Plain Cheesecake recipe, comments, and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX.  Check out more of Cynthia’s Southwest Recipes.

 

 

 

Perfectly Plain Cheesecake Recipe:

Perfectly Plain Cheesecake Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients:

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
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.

 

Instructions:

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.

Cheesecake Crust

 

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

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 Cheesecake Batter


Add the eggs, one at a time, while continuing beating at medium speed after each egg is added.

Adding eggs to cheesecake batter


Add the heavy cream, beat until incorporated. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer

Increase the speed of the mixer to high and let this mix while you add the lemon juice and vanilla extract to thr cream mixture.  This will curdle the cream, so do not be surprised to see some lumpiness in the cream.  As before, frequently scrape down the sides and the beaters so that the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan.

Cheesecake batter in pan

 

Baking Cheesecakes:  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.

Cheesecake in oven

When the cheesecake is done cooking, reaches an internal temperture of 150 degrees F. on your cooking thermometr, turn the oven off.  Let cake stand in oven, with door ajar, approximately 30 minutes or until center is completely set.  Remove from oven and let cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.

Prevent cracks in your cheesecake:  When the internal temperature of a cheesecake rises beyond 160 degrees F. while baking, it will always crack.  To prevent this from happening, use an instant-read cooking thermometer to test its doneness.  Take it out of the oven when the  cheesecake reaches 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking.

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.

Baked Cheesecake

 

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

   Photos showing inside texture of the cheesecake.

 

Makes 12 servings.

 

https://whatscookingamerica.net/Cake/PerfectlyPlainCheesecake.htm


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

Perfect Plain Cheesecake

 

 

Related Recipes:

Comments and Reviews

20 Responses to “Perfectly Plain Cheesecake Recipe”

  1. Sharon Gardner

    Been baking over an hour and still jiggly on top and not browning at all. Is the temperature correct? Also, what size pans did you use the reason I’m asking is because my spring form pan is too big to fit into any of my large baking pans.

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Please read our article on Baking Perfect Cheesecakes. Hopefully some of the tips will help answer your question.

      Here is our article on Springform Pans.

      Reply
    • Jackie

      Same here. It’s been in for over an hour and it’s barely turning a bit brown. I hope it turns out ok.

      Reply
      • Linda Stradley

        Please let me know how your cheesecake turns out. This is not my recipe, but a woman that used to write for our web site. – Linda Stradley

        Reply
        • Tim Walker

          I made this last night and it turned out great. I substituted 1/2 cup sour cream for half the heavy cream. I put a pan of water on rack under my 10″ springform pan. Baked for 1 hr and 10 min, turned off stove, let sit for 20 min with door closed then 40 min with spoon proping door open.

          Reply
  2. Linda Stradley

    Depending on your oven and your altitude could make a difference.

    I added the Internal Temperature needed before removing from the oven to the recipe. I use an instant-read cooking thermometer to test its doneness. Take the cheesecake out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches and internal temperature of 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking. When the cheesecake is done cooking, reaches 150 degrees F., turn the oven off. Let cake stand in oven, with door ajar, approximately 30 minutes or until center is completely set. Remove from oven and let cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack before refrigerating.

    Also check out: How To Make a Perfect Cheesecake

    Reply
  3. b

    Cheesecake will only brown as pictured if you put it under a broiler near the end of cooking.

    Reply
  4. J

    I cooked as directed, but I used a roasting pan vs. a baking pan because my springform was too large to fit into a regular baking pan. I cooked it on the middle rack at 350°F for 55 minutes. It browned just as shown in the pictures, without turning on the broiler at the end as someone else commented.

    Reply
  5. Carolyn

    I have a cheesecake recipe that uses cottage cheese, 2 pkgs. cream cheese and sour cream. My recipe wants the cake left in the unopened oven with temperature off for 3-4 hrs. after the 1 hr. 10 min. baking time. I have made this recipe twice in the past month and when I take it out a sticky substance has dripped into the oven. Why is this happening?

    Reply
  6. Mary

    In the oven right now. first time to make a cheesecake so hoping it is as good as described! Can’t wait

    Reply
  7. Risha

    Great recipe and such awesome detail. My mother always told told me cheesecake isn’t cheesecake without a dash of lemon. It balances the whole dessert no matter the flavors you choose to embellish with. This was my first baked cheesecake (have done no bake to death) and I was scared that I would mess up and have cracks and burns or soggy bottoms. No one likes a soggy bottom. My baking dish was too small but replaced with a jelly roll pan and crossed my fingers. The baking time for me was 1 hr 30 mins but as stated the recipe said that would vary. The key is waiting for that 150 temp reading. The top had just begun to tan but I wanted that crusty bubbly brown so turned on the broiler on low for 2 mins. Left sit and added caramel nuts and chopped snickers to compliment my oreo crust. I haven’t made something that beautiful. Cheesecake factory style. Now my go to cheesecake recipe.

    Reply
  8. B'nai

    It seems as though the recipe is missing the actual temperature in which to cook the cheesecake. Should it be cook at 350 until the cake reaches 150?

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Oven temperature is 350 degrees F. Take it out of the oven when using your cooking thermometer, the cheesecake reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking.

      Reply
  9. Jessica

    My family adores this recipe for cheesecake and it pains me to not be able to take credit for it, but alas, I am not a genius when it comes to baking. Anyway, onto my question, how could I break this recipe up into mini, individual sized cheesecakes? I want to take some into work after oh so humbly bragging about my baking abilities, but I don’t want to take in a whole cheesecake. I know for regular cake that cupcake sizes cook differently, so I was wondering if cheesecake did the same. And thank you for the wonderful recipe!

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Yes, you can make this cheesecake in individual cheesecakes. For perfect cheesecakes, use a cooking thermometer and take it out of the oven when the cheesecake reaches 150 degrees F. at the center to avoid over baking.

      Reply
  10. Patti

    Quick question on the Instant Read Thermometer. Won’t that leave a poked hole in the cheesecake? If it’s NOT 150 the first time you check it, then couldn’t it leave more? Or is this a thermometer I leave in the cake? My children love cooking and baking and they all love cheesecake. They’re not going to care if the top has holes in it, not at this point. I’m just curious in general.

    Reply
    • Linda Stradley

      Be sure and purchases a thermometer with a small poker. That’s why What’s Cooking America promotes the Thermapen Thermometer to use when cooking. You do not leave the thermometer in the cheesecake while cooking.

      Reply
  11. K Kuz

    Wondering how this recipe will work in a 10 or 12″ springform pan? Should I add another half recipe to it?

    Reply
  12. Gigi

    Hi – I have made this recipe many time. I have added less sugar and sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. It make a heavenly difference – this is the best receipt ever. Thank you!

    Reply

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