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My Favorite Cheesecake and BSI: Cream Cheese Announcement

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Fact: I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have 24 sweet teeth and if I hadn’t had my wisdom teeth and first molars removed to make more room in my tiny sugar-addicted mouth, I have no doubt they would be sweet too.  Fact: Despite my sweet teeth, there are certain things I make or buy very rarely because I like them so much that my self-control us utterly nill when in their general vicinity.  These things are: any kind of cookies, but particularly homemade chocolate chip, chocolate éclairs, pecan pie, and cheesecake.

Prior to giving in and making this particular recipe, I hadn’t made a cheesecake in seven years.  But a friend requested one last year and I chose this recipe since I found it through one of my most trusted sources.  After raving over it for two days, my friend let me have a piece while I was at her house (it was a gift to her in exchange for a favor she paid me), and I’ve never made another cheesecake recipe since.  I have now made her three of these cheesecakes, which is a perfect arrangement because she always lets me have a slice and I don’t have to worry about going crazy and eating the whole thing in one sitting since it is not my cheesecake to dominate.  But I totally would if I could, which is why I will never make this cheesecake only for myself.  Never say never, but I’m saying it.  NEVER.  It is just too risky.  (Full disclosure: the last cheesecake I possessed that was only for the two of us was ten years ago.  It was about two-thirds the size of this one, and I ate it all by myself.  In one day.  And now you understand why I make them so rarely.)

This cheesecake comes out perfectly creamy with the best sweet-tangy flavor, enhanced by lemon zest.  Due to the minimal mixing time, it is not prone to cracks caused by air bubbles in the batter.  This doesn’t matter to me since I usually cover my cheesecake with a fruit topping anyway, but if you’re a cheesecake purist, you might dig the perfect top that comes out without doing anything special to achieve it.  No water baths, no pan of hot water sitting in a rack below the cheesecake, no baking it at super-low temps or leaving it in the oven an hour after you turn it off.  It’s a very simple, straight-forward recipe that yields a superior result, far better than any other I’ve tried.  Try it for yourself and you be the judge.

Favorite Cheesecake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 25 squares)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 (16 oz) tub of sour cream

To prepare crumb crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan, using your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.

To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar and beat just until incorporated.  Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to slowly beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Blend in the sour cream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan and poke any air bubbles you see with a toothpick.  Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes (mine usually takes a little more than an hour, but I think my oven runs cooler than most). The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overcook! Do not do a toothpick test in the cake’s center, this will make a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours to set up. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, nonserrated knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each cut.

Recipe source: adapted slightly from Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake

BSI Announcement

I’ve chosen CREAM CHEESE for this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient contest.  You can use regular, low-fat, homemade, or even vegan.  Sweet or savory, snack or main course, you choose!  I know you guys probably have a lot of great recipes using cream cheese and I can’t wait to see what you submit!

How to enter:

  • Make a recipe using the secret ingredient and write a blog post about it.
  • Include a link back to this post.
  • Add your entry to the comments section at the bottom of this post (permalink to your entry, not homepage, please).
  • Older/archived posts may be used as long as they’re updated with a link to this post.
  • If you don’t have a blog, but would still like to enter, please email me your entry (w/ photo) to vraklis (at) yahoo (dot) com

Deadline for submissions is Sunday, April 17th at 9pm (Central).  I will post the roundup and the winner the following day and send a prize to the person whose recipe I like best.  Please let me know if you are interested in hosting next week’s BSI.

For a list of all the previous hosts/choices, check out Biz’s BSI page.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comment area or send me an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

36 responses »

  1. Oh Veronica! this is just gorgeous! My mouth is watering!

    Cream cheese! Excellent choice for BSI! :)

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  2. Cheesecake totally rocks! I have an oreo cheesecake that I’ve been meaning to make. I even bought the Oreos like 2 weeks ago. Can you believe that there have been Oreos in my cupboard for 2 weeks!? I’ll email you with something with cream cheese later!

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  3. Pingback: Cooking For Two | My Bizzy Kitchen

  4. Love, love, love cream cheese – great idea Veronica!!

    Hope you have a great Monday!

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  5. You know my love for cheesecake…. i like yours.. i haven’t met many i don’t like :)

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  6. I couldn’t stop laughing when I read this post. I understand every word you are saying. :) I love the arrangement you have with your friend. I need someone who will take my treats from me and just let me have one. :)

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  7. Just printed this out. I have a go-to recipe but, this looks delicious and I want to use my springform pan…lol! Good idea sharing with a friend. I do that with many dinners and they appreciate it :)

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  8. Awesome!! I definitely have to try this, since cheesecake is my husband’s favorite (along with lemon cake w/ chocolate icing, a very bizarre combo). I made him a cheescake a few years ago and it cracked big time. I’m really looking forward to making this one.

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  9. Ohh so yummy… I try not to make sweets that will stay in my house for the same reason! Sounds delicious and great choice for BSI. Here’s my submission… the cupcakes wouldn’t be the same without the pomegranate cream cheese frosting:

    http://danasfoodforthought.wordpress.com/2011/02/13/pomegranate-margarita-cupcakes/

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  10. I shudder to think about vegan cream cheese. Why?!

    Anyway, cream cheese is one of my favorite cheeses! I’ve never been much for cheesecakes, but your pic have suddenly got me craving a slice. Only you…

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  11. Hi doll,

    I stumbled across your blog when I googled “Cake Pops Receipe” and viola immediately you have a new follower. I am excited to make cake pops this weekend <3 I'll let you know how it goes ;)

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  12. I love your creative recipes! I’m making your cake pops for my daughter’s wedding appetizer table and I’d like to make a cheesecake for the cake. Can I make ahead, freeze, then thaw on wedding day?

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    • A wedding cheesecake sounds lovely! If you Google “freeze cheesecake” you will find lots of tips, and I’m forwarding the following advice to you from Diana’s Desserts: To freeze, place a fully cooled cheesecake in the freezer, uncovered, for 1 hour. If it’s in a springform pan, remove sides of pan and freeze with the pan bottom in place. After 1 hour, use a knife to separate the cheesecake from the pan bottom. Slide it onto a foil-wrapped piece of heavy cardboard. Wrap in plastic wrap, then carefully place it inside a large freezer bag or wrap it in heavy duty aluminum foil. Label and date. Freezing for more than a month is not recommended to retain the best quality. For a cheesecake with topping, such as fruit, always freeze cheesecake WITHOUT the topping and add the topping before serving. Always thaw a cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator. When partially thawed, transfer it from the cardboard bottom to a serving plate. Hope this helps!

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  13. WOWZA, Veronica!!! That is one amazing looking cheesecake. I may or may not have just licked my screen to try to taste it :)

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  14. Pingback: Muhammara (Hot Pepper Dip) « Recipe Rhapsody

  15. Pingback: ♥ Irish Cream Cheesecake | it's a Greyt Vegan Life

  16. Okay, I have to chime in with a plug for vegan cream cheese (and sour cream): http://greytveganlife.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/%E2%99%A5-irish-cream-cheesecake/
    This cheesecake came about after a quest to make a vegan version of Baileys Irish Cream. It was a delicious way to use up the Irish cream leftovers.
    Your cheesecake looks freaking awesome – I would pull it through the screen if I could!

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  17. Pingback: April 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge – German Chocolate Cheesecake |

  18. Here is my submission…fingers and toes you love it the most…haha :)

    http://www.nutmegnanny.com/2009/04/27/april-2009-daring-bakers-challenge-german-chocolate-cheesecake/

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  19. I had a cream cheese herbed chicken in puff pastry dish on my menu this week, but it was a crazy week and I never made it – so its on this weeks menu.

    Here is my BSI entry – not very healthy but probably the best carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting I’ve ever made – its now the requested birthday cake in my family!

    http://mybizzykitchen.com/2009/08/31/happy-birthday-jody/

    Thanks again for hosting this week!

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  20. Im on Im in… just a bit behind here :)

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  21. Hi Veronica and thank you for hosting BSI this week.
    Here is my entry – Strawberries and rose water mousse. (cream cheese is one of the ingredients.)

    http://anasbageri.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/finalmente-morangos-com-mousse-de-agua-de-rosas/

    My blog is writen in Portuguse, I usually add an English translation but I just don´t have the time to do it this week You can read the recipe in English, using the translate button (at the top of the right column) on my blog.

    :)

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  22. Pingback: BSI Announcement «

  23. Pingback: Homemade Kahlua {Coffee Liqueur) « Recipe Rhapsody

  24. Pingback: Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars « Veronica's Cornucopia

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  26. Hi! I’m from Brazil and I have never ate cheesecake before.
    They’re become very popular in here, but it’s hard to take a slice. People every buy all slices after me when I go downtown. Hahahahah.
    So, that’s why I’ll try to make your recipe. It looks delicious and I wanna try this.
    Thank you to share this recipe with us around the world.

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  27. If you’re using a spring form pan, make sure you wrap it in tin foil. My pan wasn’t airtight and some kind of grease dripped on the bottom of my oven. Smoke everywhere. Some alarm going off constantly.

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  28. I loved the cheese cake. One pointer, if you’re not sure your spring form pan won’t leak, wrap it with tin foil. I didn’t because the instructions didn’t say to do that. I ended up with a smoke filled house from drips and horrible burnt on sugar on the bottom of my oven. We had to use a razor blade scraper and hours of elbow grease to get the oven back to normal.

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  29. What’s up, I read your blog regularly. Your writing style is awesome,
    keep doing what you’re doing!

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  30. E’ buona da mangiarne subito una fetta.
    Complimenti

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