Cheesecake is a sweet dessert consisting of one or more layers. The main, and thickest, layer consists of a mixture of a soft, fresh cheese (typically cottage cheese, cream cheese or ricotta), eggs, and sugar. If there is a bottom layer, it most often consists of a crust or base made from crushed cookies (or digestive biscuits), graham crackers, pastry, or sometimes sponge cake. Cheesecake may be baked or unbaked (and is usually refrigerated).
Cheesecake is usually sweetened with sugar and may be flavored in different ways. Vanilla, spices, lemon, chocolate, pumpkin, or other flavors may be added to the main cheese layer. Additional flavors and visual appeal may be added by topping the finished dessert with fruit, whipped cream, nuts, cookies, fruit sauce, chocolate syrup, or other ingredients.
Easy Cheesecake (from King Arthur Baking)
Never mind the sour cream, farmer’s cheese, cream cheese, water bath, and worrying about a sunken center. The filling for this delicious cheesecake has just four simple ingredients, and the cake bakes in a mere 30 minutes. Now THAT’S easy!
Want to reduce the carbs and calories in this recipe? Substitute our King Arthur Baking Sugar Alternative for the sugar called for. See how in “tips,” below.
1 1/2 cups (128g) graham cracker crumbs, 9 to 10 whole graham crackers, crushed
1/4 cup (28g) confectioners’ sugar
5 1/3 tablespoons (74g) butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon salt
two 8-ounce packages (452g) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup (152g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
Select a pie pan whose inside top dimension is at least 9″, and whose height is at least 1 1/4″. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
To make the crust: Stir together all of the crust ingredients, mixing until thoroughly combined.
Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan, making a thicker layer on the bottom than on the sides.
To make the filling: Mix together the room-temperature cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the eggs and vanilla, again mixing until smooth. To avoid beating too much air into the batter, use a mixer set at low-medium speed. To avoid lumps, make sure the cream cheese is softened, and/or at room temperature.
Set the pie pan onto a baking sheet, if desired; this makes it easier to transport in and out of the oven, and also protects the bottom of the crust from any potential scorching. Pour the filling into the crust.
To bake the cheesecake: Place the cheesecake in the oven. Bake it for 20 minutes, then add a crust shield; or shield the crust with strips of aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 10 minutes (for a total of about 30 minutes). A digital thermometer inserted into the filling 1″ from the edge should read between 165°F and 170°F; the filling won’t look entirely set in the center.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and set it on a rack to cool. Once the cake is cool, refrigerate it, covered, until you’re ready to serve it.
Serve cheesecake in wedges, with fresh fruit if desired.
Storage information: Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for several days; freeze for longer storage.