Classic Creamy Cheesecake
Today’s quarantine baking activity was cheesecake! So creamy and smooth, you’ll just want to keep eating it, especially when topped with some sweet macerated strawberries. That strawberry syrup just drizzled down the side… mmmm. Don’t let cheesecake scare you, the step-by-step tips will help you make it just right! It may be a long process, but let me tell you, it’s well worth it! Let’s get baking!
- 2 1/2 cups graham crackers (about 2 1/2 packages)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4, 8 oz blocks cream cheese, softened (Yes, that’s 4 different 8 oz blocks! 😉)
- 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup sour cream, room temp
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Macerated Strawberry Topping
- 1 cup strawberries, quartered
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup sugar
- Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9″ springform pan and line sides with parchment paper. Set aside.
- To make the crust. pulse your graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs appear.
- Next, add you graham cracker crumbs to a bowl with sugar and cinnamon. Whisk.
- Add your melted butter to the graham cracker mix and combine until crumbs appear and butter is evenly mixed.
4. Add crust to the pan and use a measuring cup to form to the sides and bottom. This helps ensure that the crumbs will stay together. We pushed the crust up about 2-3 inches up the side.
5. Bake crust for 10 minutes until edges are golden. Once baked, remove from oven and set aside. Drop the oven temperature to 325 F.
6. Add a medium-large pan in the bottom rack of the oven. (Later, we’ll pour water into it to create steam for the cheesecake, in order to stop cracking.)
7. Now, let’s make the cheesecake filling! Beat together your cream cheese, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl. Mix until fully combined and smooth. You can use a stand mixer or hand mixer.
8. Pause what you’re doing for now and boil some water on the stove. We used a tea kettle, but you can also use a pot.
9. Now, back to the filling! Add in the eggs 1 at a time and mix in between. Make sure to also scrape the bowl with a spatula because you want all the good stuff! Then, add in the last egg yolk and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until fully combined.
10. Add sour cream to the filling and fold using a spatula, not the mixer.
11. Carefully pour the batter into the pan. Tap a few times to shake out bubbles and even out the top.
12. Pour the boiling water into the pan and quickly close the oven door. The pan should be about half full.
13. Place the cheesecake on the middle oven rack and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. It may need up to 20 extra minutes. To check if it’s done give the sides a gentle shake and if the middle is runny like a cup of water, it needs more time. If the middle is jiggly like jello, it’s done.
14. Once it’s done baking, turn the oven off and leave the oven cracked open for 1 hour.
15. After 1 hour, remove from the oven and leave on the counter at room-temp for 30 minutes.
16. After 30 minutes, remove the springform pan and parchment and place in the fridge for 4 hours, but the best option is overnight.
17. After chilling, garnish with strawberries or macerated strawberries.
18. To macerate, add all ingredients to a small pot and let sit for 15 minutes. This will thicken the sauce.
19. After 15 minutes, bring to a simmer on low for about 5 minutes until the sauce red and syrupy and coats the strawberries.
20. Garnish cheesecake with the macerated strawberries and enjoy!