There are quite a few cheesecake recipes on our blog, but there hasn’t been a classic cheesecake recipe until now! Granted, I like my cheesecake loaded with extra stuff and flavors, but I am totally okay with plain cheesecake if it’s covered in chocolate.
To me, classic cheesecake is creamy, silky, and smooth. My cheesecake recipe is not quite as dense as New York cheesecake, but boasts equal richness and is just as special. It’s thick, it’s velvety, and there’s no denying its decadence. When I imagine what Chandler and Rachel’s stolen cheesecake tastes like, it’s this!
While there’s a glaring absence of chunks, swirls, and sprinkles in this ivory crowned jewel, there’s nothing plain about her.
Preparing my cheesecake recipe is rather simple– it’s baking the cheesecake that could result in a flop. Many factors are at play like the springform pan leaking, the surface of the cheesecake cracking, under-baking, over-baking, etc. I have plenty of tricks that will help guarantee classic cheesecake perfection, including determining when the cheesecake is done and everything you need to know about a cheesecake water bath.
How to Make Graham Cracker Crust for Cheesecake
4 INGREDIENTS GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
• graham cracker crumbs: did you know you can buy a box of graham cracker crumbs in the baking aisle of your grocery store? They are usually near the pre-made graham cracker pie crusts. I love using the store bought graham cracker crumbs because it saves times!
• brown sugar: adds a deep rich flavor to the crust and helps to bind the crumbs and butter together
• cinnamon: adds a little warmth and spice without being overwhelming
• butter: this most crucial ingredient in binding the crust together
Mix all the crust ingredients together and then firmly press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or bottom of a glass cup to help pack the crust.
How to Make Plain Cheesecake
Our classic cheesecake recipe only calls for 4 ingredients!
• cream cheese: use three 8 oz packages. Be sure to use full fat, not low fat, cream cheese for best results.
• sugar: helps to balance the tanginess of the cream cheese.
• vanilla extract: just a teaspoon, but it enhances the flavor.
• eggs: eggs are the last ingredient that get mixed into the cheesecake batter. Be sure to mix them in, one at a time, just until the yolk breaks. Over beating the eggs is the number one cause of air bubbles and cracking.
How to Make the Perfect Classic Cheesecake
Every single cheesecake recipe I have on my site, I include two critical tips. Here are the 2 most important details to follow when making cheesecake..
1. Don’t be afraid of the water bath
2.Don’t rush the cooling process
How to Make a Cheesecake Water Bath
I know it sounds weird, putting your cheesecake in a water bath, but it’s the secret to creating moist, perfectly baked cheesecake. It’s really not scary.
The basics of a water bath: Place a springform pan inside a large cake or roasting pan, fill the roasting pan with about 1 inch of water and place in the oven.
How to Prevent your Cheesecake Water Bath from Leaking
This is the best trick ever to prevent your cheesecake water bath from leaking and ruining your cheesecake.
Place the springform pan inside a large oven safe turkey bag or slow cooker liner bag and roll down the top of the bag so it doesn’t cover the cheesecake. If you have a lot of excess bag space, twist one side tight and knot it so the bag is tight around the pan. Place the springform pan that’s inside the bag in the large roasting pan and fill with water.
The water bath will not leak into your cheesecake!
How to Cool Cheesecake
Remember, don’t rush the cooling process.
Once the cheesecake is done baking turn the oven off and gently remove the springform pan from the water bath and oven safe bag. Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and return to the oven (oven is off) with the oven door cracked.
A slow cooling process will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking. Don’t forget to refrigerate your cheesecake over night before serving.
Tips for Plain Cheesecake without Sour Cream
• Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature before beating it. Room temperature cream cheese is easier to whip.
• The eggs are the last ingredient that get mixed into the cheesecake batter. Be sure to mix them in, one at a time, just until the yolk breaks. Over beating the eggs is the number one cause of air bubbles and cracking.
• Using a different size springform pan will alter the baking time. I used a 8 inch springform pan.
• Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven (with the door cracked) for 1 hour.
How to Freeze a Whole Cheesecake
1. Cool the cheesecake completely before freezing. You can allow it to cool on the counter or you can place it in the fridge over night to chill before freezing.
2. Use a knife to remove the outer springform ring. Use the knife to gently remove the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan. Place the cheesecake on a round cardboard circle that’s been covered in aluminum foil. Make sure the cardboard circle is the same size as the cheesecake.
3. Wrap the entire cheesecake (without any toppings) well in plastic wrap. Then wrap the cheesecake in aluminum foil for extra protection. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the cheesecake in the fridge overnight. Add toppings before serving.
What to put on Plain Cheesecake
• chocolate ganache (follow the ganache recipe from our espresso cheesecake)
• caramel sauce
• strawberry sauce
• chocolate whipped cream
• crushed candy pieces (like peanut butter cups, M&Ms, snickers, etc)