Let’s talk about one of my favorite desserts, cheesecake. Thick crust with a creamy center and a generous amount of topping. Delicious. I am going to walk you through a recipe that my grandmother constantly brings up in conversation. One thing to know about my grandmother is that she loves her sweets. She has the largest sweet tooth in a family filled with people that have a desire for sweets. Therefore, when I say she loves and frequently asks me when the next time I will be making this cheesecake recipe, it’s a large compliment to say the least. I hope this helps explain how valued this recipe is in my family and how excited I am to share this!
The Difference is in the Vanilla?
Vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract are two ingredients that can be easily confused. Vanilla bean paste contains actual seeds that come from a vanilla bean pod. Vanilla extract is made from soaking vanilla beans in alcohol and water. I prefer vanilla bean paste for a couple of reasons:
- Vanilla bean paste has an incredible amount of flavor.
- Being able to see flakes of vanilla bean in the final product has a visually appealing effect.
A little goes a long way with this Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla bean paste. If a recipe calls for 1 TBS of vanilla extract, you can use 1 TBS of vanilla paste instead. This paste can be found at either of The Chopping Block's retail stores.
Springform vs Cupcake Tin
Most cheesecakes are made in a springform pan. If you go that route, I would bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. However, I most often prefer to use muffin tins when I make cheesecake. This dramatically cuts down on the baking time and the dessert is nicely portioned out for your guests. If you go this route I would bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes.
What’s with the Scoop?
This scoop is a game changer. Have you ever looked at a picture of muffins or cupcakes on Instagram and wondered how they are all the same size? This scoop measures the batter out perfectly. This scoop can also be found at either of our stores.
The crust is essentially a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, sugar, spices, and melted butter. In the recipe I used the following spices: ground ginger, ground cardamom, and ground clove. You can easily change this recipe based on spices that you tend to enjoy. For example, I did not use cinnamon this time, but you easily could swap out any of these ingredients for cinnamon.
The batter consists of plain cream cheese, salt, vanilla bean paste, granulated sugar, eggs, sour cream and heavy whipping cream. You can change the filling by adding the juice or zest of fruit. For example, when making a lemon cheesecake, I would add the zest and juice of a lemon.
I chose to use a sour cream topping that consists of three ingredients: sour cream, powdered sugar and vanilla bean paste. I believe this adds a nice balance to the filling. Another option is to make whipped cream as a topping. For whipped cream, simply combine heavy cream and confection sugar using a large whisk. You could play around with your topping by adding citrus or alcohol. I’ve added the zest of a lemon or bourbon to compliment desserts in the past. Playing around with ingredients can make an already delightful task more interesting!
Perfect New York Cheesecake
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 2 lbs. or (4) 8 oz. blocks plain cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
- 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 2/3 c. sour cream, room temperature
- 2/3 c. heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1/4 c. powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees, placing the top rack in the lower third of oven. Line twelve muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a large bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, spices and melted butter until thoroughly mixed. Press the mixture firmly into the prepared muffin tins to cover the bottoms. Chill the crust while you mix the filling.
- 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 low, 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 in the oven and bake at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. After a half hour in the fridge, wrap in aluminum foil.
- Prepare the topping by combining all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stirring together until smooth.
I have made this recipe many times and my family appreciates every time that I do. Next time that you make cheesecake why not try using Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla bean paste or the perfectly portioned scoop?
This is a recipe is adapted from Natalie Dicks. Click here for the original recipe.
Interested in learning how to make more delicious desserts? Almost every one of our cooking classes features a dessert course. You won't be able to resist the Pina Colada Cupcakes with Pineapple Frosting in Spring Break: A Trip to the Islands or the Lemon and Whipped Cream Tartlets in Date Night: Spring Dinner Party.