It would only take you two minutes in our apartment for you to realize two things: we have thin walls, and we are a loud group of girls. You put the two together and would probably not want to be our neighbors. Unfortunately for our resident director and his roommates, they got stuck with us four girls as their upstairs neighbors. It’s not that we run around and do jumping jacks just to spite them; the ceiling and floors are just really thin and the footsteps echo through the floor.
Still, I wanted to make them a “We’re sorry you have to hear us and deal with us” treat and decided to make a cheesecake. Cheesecakes often have more “umph,” more pizazz than a cupcake or fruit tart. I had berries on hand and decided to pile them on to allow the tartness cut through the creaminess. Needless to say, the cheesecake came out great and we hope our apologies are accepted! From here on out, only gentle footsteps allowed!
To begin making the cheesecake, you need to make the graham cracker crust. Put the graham crackers in a freezer ziplock back and use a rolling to crush it to crumbs. I only had a half gallon size bag, but I recommend you use the gallon size.
Next, add in the sugar and melted butter. Toss it around in the ziplock bag until all the butter has been soaked into the crumbs. When you squeeze a fistful of the crumbs, it should hold its shape. If it’s too crumbly, add in a tablespoon more or melted butter until it holds. Pour the mixture out into a buttered 9inch springform pan. You don’t want to bake the cheesecake for such a long time, only to have to pry it out of the pan!
Use a measuring cup to press the crumbs down and up the sides of the pan. Once that is ready, bake it for 12-14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
As the crust is baking, make the filling. Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature! I usually first measure the quantity then leave the ingredients out for a couple hours before I actually make it. It helps prevent cracks from forming while it bakes. If a cold filling batter was put into a hot oven, it would rise and then fall too quickly due to the sudden change in temperature. However, if it is already at room temperature, then the difference would not be so dramatic.
In a stand mixer (handheld is fine too), whip the cream cheese frosting with the salt and vanilla until it is smooth and soft. Slowly pour in the sugar and whip until silky.
Scrape down the side of the bowl then turn the mixer back on medium. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated before the next egg goes in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add in the sour cream, then heavy whipping cream and beat it on high for one minute, and the batter is ready. Take the springform pan and wrap it with aluminum foil. This is to prepare it for the water bath, as we do not want any water to be able to seep into the cheesecake. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
It’s a perfect fit.
Place the cheesecake into a roasting pan, and fill it halfway up with boiling hot water. Make sure the water level is not too high where it can seep into the aluminum!
Bake at 325 degrees for 1hr 30min to 2 hours, or until the top is golden brown.
Once it is finished baking the cheesecake must be slowly cooled otherwise the middle will sink in too much. I do this by first leaving it in the oven with the oven temperature off for about 15 minutes, then with the oven door ajar for another 15, then I remove it and place it on the oven, then I unwrap it, and when it has cooled to a warmer room temperature, then I finally move it into the refrigerator. I know some of you may think that is excessive but it works for me so I’ll stick to it!
Finally, once the cheesecake is completely cold, you may release it from the pan. You will want to first run a knife along the sides, then unlatch its buckle. Cut out a fat slice for yourself and serve with a glaze, fruit, or berry jams!
New York Cheesecake
recipe from Life Made Simple Bakes
2 c graham cracker crumbs (about 15 sheets)
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
5 tbsp. butter, melted
2 lbs. or (4) 8 oz. blocks plain cream cheese, room temperature
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1½ c granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
⅔ c sour cream, room temperature
⅔ c heavy whipping cream, room temperature
Sour cream topping
1½ c sour cream
¼ c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Generously butter the inside of a 9inch springform pan. Wrap the bottom and sides with extra large aluminum foil so that the no water can leak in. Wrap it with two layers for extra security. Crimp the top of the foil around the top edge of the springform pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, placing the top rack in lower third of oven.
- In a large freezer ziplock bag, finely grind the graham cracker to crumbs with a rolling pin. Add in the sugar and salt. Pour the melted butter over top and mix until the crumbs become coated.
- Pour into the prepared springform pan and gently press up the sides using a measuring cup to help. Carefully work the crumbs up the sides so that they are 1½” tall and approximately ¼” thick. You should have a nice layer on the bottom and the sides should go about halfway up your pan. Place into the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
- Beat the cream cheese, salt and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer for approximately 4 minutes or until smooth and creamy. With mixing speed on low, gradually add the sugar, then turn back up to high and beat for an additional minute. With mixing speed on medium, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the sour cream, then the heavy cream, beat on high for 1 minute.
- Place the prepared springform pan into a large high-sided roasting pan. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Pour boiling water around the springform pan, taking care not to get any on the filling. You’ll want the water to go halfway up the side of the pan. Place in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minuets. If you like extra firm cheesecake, continue baking for an additional 14 minutes for a total of 2 hours.
- After the the cheesecake has baked, turn off the oven, slightly crack the door open and allow to cool for 1 hour. This is the key to getting a perfect top without it falling or cracks forming. Remove the cheesecake from the bath, dry the bottom and cover with foil. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
- Prepare the topping by combining all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stirring together until smooth. Using a spatula, spread over the top of the cooled cheesecake. During the chilling process the cheesecake should come away from the edges of the pan, making it easy and mess-free to remove it before serving.
- Note: I used vanilla extract instead of a vanilla paste, which made my glaze more watery than it should have been. To thicken it up, you can use more sour cream and less powder sugar as more powder sugar will just water it down.