Luscious Vanilla Cheesecake

Yield: one 9-inch cheesecake
Recipe: 16/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 160

   I will make it simple for everyone. If I had 0.01 seconds to think about and name my favorite dessert, it would no doubt be cheesecake. I rarely eat desserts in restaurants, but when I do I almost always opt for the classic cheesecake with the fruit coulis. I cannot help it, it is a craving that is rooted deep within. I love cheesecake. However, I have never ever (how dare I!) made one myself. This is simply because I quickly realized that a cheesecake is one of the only dessert that I can think of that is actually more expensive to make than to buy. Nonetheless, this recipe for a classic vanilla cheesecake was one of the first I noticed when I first received this cookbook, and now I am happy to say I have made my first cheesecake.

   In hindsight, there are a couple of things that I would change from my first try at making a cheesecake, but that is the essence of baking: learning and adapting from our mistakes. I know my oven to be hotter than others, so I usually decrease the time of baking or cooking by a couple of minutes while trying out a new recipe, and it almost always comes out great. I did the same thing for this cheesecake. I baked it a couple of minutes less than what Anna suggested in the recipe, but that was definitely a mistake on my part. A big part of enjoying food for me is texture. Since I baked this cheesecake less than I should have, the middle of the cake was a bit undercooked and not very firm. The taste was still delicious and heavenly, but the texture, personally, could have been better. The edge of the cheesecake, however, was the perfect texture: firm but not hard. Next time I will definitely bake it as suggested, even with my unstable oven. In summary, this recipe was feasible and delicious, but I recommend that you follow the baking instructions, no matter what oven you possess!

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1  1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for filling:

  • 4 packages (8 oz./250 g each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1  1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature

Optional: Raspberry compote


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking tray.
  2. Combine the graham crumbs and sugar together. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the graham crumbs are coated. The mixture will still be crumbly at this point, but worry not. Press the crumbs into the prepared pan, pushing the crumbs one inch up the sides. Using a ramekin or a solid glass to press down and compact the crumbs will facilitate the task.
  3. Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Cool while preparing the filling.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
  5. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and cornstarch until well combined.
  6. While beating, add in the sugar. Scrape the sides of the bowl to mix well.
  7. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
  8. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition and making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  9. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and bake for 55 minutes.
  10. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for another 10 minutes, making sure to open the oven door slightly.
  11. After the cake is out of the oven and has cooled for 30 minutes, run a long knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan. Cool the cheesecake completely to room temperature (for a minimum of 6 hours) before chilling it in the refrigerator.

Notes from Anna:

  • Allowing the cheesecake to cool completely to room temperature before chilling is  a simple and important step to prevent the formation of a crack on the cake. 
  • Best results are obtained with sour cream with 14% fat content.