Everyone needs a classic cheesecake in their kitchen repetoire and this tall and creamy cheesecake – made consistently without a giant crack through the center! – totally fits the bill.

For updated photos and recipe write-up, check out this post: Tall and Creamy Classic New York Cheesecake

To kick off this holiday season, I was in search of the perfect cheesecake recipe. I’ve made a couple different varieties in the past but until now I’ve yet to come across a plain cheesecake with the “wow factor” that makes me want to make it my go-to cheesecake recipe.

cheesecake4

The issue for my finding an awesome cheesecake recipe has always been where to look.  There are hundreds and hundreds of different cheesecake recipes out there – which one would I choose?  I decided to not waste any time sifting through tons of recipes on the internet and I went straight for Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.

Many of the recipes I’ve made from Dorie’s most recent book have turned out wonderful, including the aforementioned Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake so I figured I’d give her plain cheesecake a shot too.

cheesecake3

This was hand’s down the best plain cheesecake I’ve ever made. Ever.

It was creamy, light, and just so flavorful that I probably could have eaten half of the cheesecake in one sitting.  This was the type of cheesecake that just melts away in your mouth.

The type of cheesecake that you want to linger on your taste buds forever.

The type of cheesecake that is the perfect for a kick-ass strawberry topping (see recipe below).

I followed the recipe and instructions exactly as Dorie wrote them and had no issues at all with this tall and creamy cheesecake.  And after this being the 2nd Dorie cheesecake I’ve made using a waterbath, I’m totally sold on the technique, even if it is a little time consuming to set up.

You will never be sorry making this tall and creamy cheesecake!

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake

  • Prep Time: 40min
  • Cook Time: 1hr 30min
  • Yield: 12-16 servings

Notes

The most important hint I can give here for making the perfect cheesecake (which this is), is to make sure your ingredients are at room temperature.  Cold cream cheese will yield a lumpy batter and when made as instructed, the batter should be silky smooth without any traces of lumps.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1  ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 2 lbs (four 8oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1  1/3 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1  1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two

For the strawberry topping:

  • 1  ½ cups frozen strawberries, thawed
  • ½ cup strawberry jam
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp orange juice

Instructions

  • 01

    To make the crust: Butter a 9-inch springform pan – choose one that has sides that are 2  ¾-inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter left over) – and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.

    Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. ( I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach slightly above or below the midway point on the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven. (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

    Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350° F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

    Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.

  • 02

    To make the cheesecake batter: Put a kettle of water on to boil.  Put the foil-wrapped springform pan into a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it.

    Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at a medium speed until soft and creamy; about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition – you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

  • 03

    Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the rim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower side and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or a small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

  • 04

    Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes, at which point the top should be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

  • 05

    After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster – be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

    When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is better.

    At serving time, run thin, hot knife around the interior edge of the pan and remove the sides of the springform pan. Set the cake on a serving platter, slice, and serve.

  • 06

    To make the strawberry sauce: In a small saucepan, stir all ingredients together over medium-low heat.  Cook until jam has thinned out and strawberries begin to breakdown, about 10-15 minutes.  Turn heat down to low if mixture begins to boil.  Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

cheesecake adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan | strawberry sauce is a Smells Like Home original

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  • joelen
    December 2, 2008 at 12:44 PM

    That is one *gorgeous* cheesecake! Beautiful job… so much so that I’m craving a slice! 🙂

  • December 2, 2008 at 4:05 PM

    This looks amazing! I’m so excited to get a springform pan (hopefully!) for Christmas so I can make this. YUM.

  • December 2, 2008 at 5:51 PM

    wow, that first picture is just BEAUTIFUL! i can’t wait to make this later in the month for TWD now 🙂

  • December 3, 2008 at 9:18 AM

    Holy smokes that cheesecake looks awesome. I’ll give it a shot and hope it looks half as pretty as this!

  • December 3, 2008 at 11:37 AM

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it.

  • December 4, 2008 at 10:11 AM

    Creamy and dreamy! YUM!! Looks delicious!

  • December 28, 2008 at 5:01 PM

    It looks sooo great..!! How did you not get cracks in your top? Mine had a few fissures..it did not change the taste at all but wow yours is visual perfection. Love it!

  • March 25, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    […] a few of my cookbooks and decided that Dorie’s has been fairly neglected since the dreamy cheesecake I miracuously discovered at […]

  • April 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM

    […] strawberry sauce […]

  • Helen G
    May 18, 2009 at 1:58 PM

    Can I make the crust go up the side of the cake without ruining the recipe. I am making it for a friend’s birthday party and she just loves the graham cracker crust all the way up the side of the cake.

    • smellslikehome
      May 18, 2009 at 2:32 PM

      Definitely! I’m pretty sure the amount of crumbs/butter in the recipe allows for the crumbs to run up the side. I always have trouble with that which is why I just made a bottom crust.

  • Annette
    December 31, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    OMG! I tried the recipe and it’s great! Nice creamy texture. When I was growing up, family used to make cheesecake that was huge and tall. If my spring form pan was taller I think this would be close to what they made. They used the kind of pan for Angel Cakes.

    Thanks for the recipe and the Tips are 100% useful!!

  • January 1, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    […] to the dinner aside from the stuffed mushrooms (post coming soon!) we brought for an appetizer, the cheesecake we brought for dessert, and the caramel corn (also coming soon!) we brought to snack on during my […]

  • January 11, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    […] and getting everything ready to bring down to Long Island for Christmas Day (including my frozen cheesecake that never made it down for Thanksgiving dessert). So I set my mind to make these buns during my […]

  • Ruth
    May 10, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    This is the best cheescake I’ve ever made. And I’ve made hundreds! I’ve sctually made it two times now. The first didn’t crack, not even a little, but my second one did. It’s all good. I made a nice blackberry topping for it, and no one was the wiser! Thank you.

    • May 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Ruth: So glad you love it! It’s definitely our favorite one and I haven’t tried any other cheesecake recipes in all these years because my family loves this one so much. Thanks for coming back to comment about how it turned out for you!

  • July 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    This Cheesecake looks delicious! I would love to use it, but I am making ‘mini cheesecakes’ in muffin cups. Do you think it will work out the same? Any thoughts on cooking times? would I still use the water bath? Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!

    • July 30, 2012 at 8:37 AM

      Erica: With them being so small, you don’t need a waterbath because there won’t be issues with the centers cooking unevenly. I would suggest baking them for 12 minutes then check them for doneness. They might need a few more minutes but you’ll know they are done when the centers are just about firm and only a tiny bit jiggly. Hope that helps!

      • August 1, 2012 at 9:30 PM

        🙁
        I am sad to say, it was a total disaster! Every single one fell! Not sure what happened

        • August 2, 2012 at 5:51 AM

          Erica: It sounds like they needed to be baked longer. I’m sorry they didn’t work out for you.

          • Erica
            August 3, 2012 at 7:31 AM

            I would normally agree, but they fell while in the oven

  • July 30, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Thank you so much!!!

  • Anita
    August 18, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    As a cheesecake baking novice, and cheesecake tasting connoisseur this recipe is fabulous! Not quite as brown on top as the picture, but fabulous nonetheless. Also, no cracks!! Thanks!!

    • August 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

      Anita: Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you. This is our absolute favorite cheesecake recipe and I’m so glad you loved it. 🙂

  • Cathy
    September 6, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    This was the best cheesecake ever…..I made it for the holiday weekend, and the family absolutely LOVED IT. They were looking for more after it was gone, so they can’t wait for the next holiday for this delicious treat…This recipe does not disappoint…DELICIOUS!!!

  • cram
    September 15, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    OMG!!!! this is the best cheesecake ever…if you follow the recipe to the dot you will have a perfect cheesecake. I have never made a perfect cheesecake first time ever. The flavor just wonderful, smooth creamy not to rich and best of all perfect shape did not sink did not crack…This is defiantly my favorite recipe going in the box for sure. Thank you so much it was a big hit at my house.

  • Natalia
    November 3, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    yum. Yum.. YUM!!!!!!!

    I am a cheesecake person. I am always asked to make them for events. Yours…? simply delish! I modified a bit with some of my secrets for my “flavor” but the texture was divine!!

    Thanks!!

  • VanTho
    November 23, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Used this recipe to bake my very first cheesecakr & it turned out beautifully! Color was just like the pic with no cracks. I don’t own a springform pan so I used a non-stick push pan instead & it released without a problem! This went so fast that I’m going to make another one. Great recipe!

  • Logo
    January 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I started making it but didn’t really time everything out well. What will happen if I can only refrigerate it for two hours?

    • January 13, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      This is probably late but it may not be completely set after only 2 hours in the fridge. I strongly recommend refrigerating this cheesecake overnight.

  • Bakemeacake
    April 12, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    This cheesecake turned out just like the one
    in the photo. I have already made this twice

    and it is delicious and creamy.

    The only thing I did differently is wrap plastic wrap

    around bottom of pan and then aluminum foil to keep

    the condesation from making the crust soggy.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Kristi
    June 24, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Really creamy and loved that it actually tasted like cheesecake. I made in cupcake pan with sugar cookie crust since I was out of graham crackers. It got the ok from my pops for Father’s Day

  • Linda Kusumo
    August 29, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    Hi! Your cheesecake looks amazing! May I know the amount of sour cream and amount of heavy cream you used? Thank you!

  • Linda Kusumo
    August 29, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    Hi! Your cheesecake looks amazing! May I know the amount of sour cream and the amount of heavy cream you used? Thank you so much!

    • taraliptak
      September 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

      Thanks! I estimate about half of the total amount for each. It doesn’t have to be a perfect split between the two – just as long as it is close and equals a total of 1 1/3 cups. Hope that helps!

  • October 24, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    Well THIS is just awesome! I think my husband would die if this cheesecake was placed in front of him! So happy to hear one of my all-time favorite recipes is making other families happy too – great job and thanks so much for coming back to tell me how it turned out. 🙂

  • October 24, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    So great to hear! I imagine using all heavy cream would be perfect too – I started out with half heavy cream and half sour cream when I first made the recipe and have been slightly nervous to change the ingredients fearing that I’ll screw up the cheesecake. ha!

  • January 15, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    Hi Susette! My apologies for not responding sooner but I wanted to make sure I responded, especially if others have the same question in the future. The cheesecake will keep very nicely in the fridge for up to 2 days, tightly wrapped, before serving. After that, it’s still amazing but the crust loses some of its “oomph” and gets a bit soggy.

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