Cheesecake probably is one of the cakes that has the most recipe variations worldwide. It exists to some extent in nearly every country, there are baked and unbaked cheesecakes with crumbly biscuit or sponge cake bases.
The New Yorker variation is one of the best known and most popular and is mostly based on the use of soured cream.
New York–style cheesecake relies upon heavy cream or sour cream. The typical New York cheesecake is rich and has a dense, smooth, and creamy consistency. Sour cream makes the cheesecake more resilient to freezing and is the method by which most frozen cheesecakes are made. However, a lavish variant uses sour cream as a topping, applied when the cheesecake is cooked. It is mixed with vanilla extract and sugar and replaced in the oven, essentially making the cheesecake twice-baked.1
There actually is an additional “sour cream frosting” to my recipe but I just omit that since I like the cheesecake best with just its creamy cheese topping.
I confess: I do like these cream cheese recipes much better than the Austrian Topfentorte. It might be lighter but the texture is not for me. It mainly depends on my daily preferences, sometimes I enjoy it, most of the times I can happily live without it.
With a traditional New York Cheesecake, however, not liking simply is not an option. Creamy and not too sweet with a slightly deeper biscuit base I adjusted some recipes perfectly to my liking.
So, while I’m sitting here devouring the last piece – yes, that works just fine being sick and all… – I thought I might as well share this now tried and tested recipe in honour of today’s Great British Bake off, obviously. I find it rather simple, especially since this kind of cake saves you the actual “cake baking”!
New York Cheesecake
For the base
- 115 g butter melted
- 300 g digestive biscuits or Graham crackers crushed into fine crumbs
- 600 g half fat cream cheese
- 200 g caster sugar
- 2 ½ tbsp plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
- 3 large eggs plus 1 yolk
- 200 ml soured cream
Preheat oven to 160ºC (fan) or 180ºC, set a shelf to the middle. Brush the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with a bit of butter.
Crush biscuits in food processor or a plastic bag with rolling pin. Melt the butter and stir in the crushed biscuits until they are evenly coated. Press the mixture evenly into the tin. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool while you make the filling.
Increase the oven temperature to 240ºC or 200ºC for a fan oven. Beat the cream cheese with a spatula or a paddle attachment in a mixer at a medium-low speed for ~2 minutes until it is creamy. (Reduce the mixer to a low speed and) Gradually add the sugar, flour and a pinch of salt.
Change to a whisk. Add the vanilla and lemon juice and mix. Whisk in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Add the 200ml soured cream and mix slowly making sure you don’t over beat. The mix should be light and smooth.
Brush the sides of the tin with butter and pour the filling into the tin – slightly shake to smoothen any lumps. Bake for 10 minutes at 240ºC (conventional)/200ºC (fan).
After 10 minutes reduce temperature to fan 90ºC or 110ºC conventional and bake for 25 minutes more. Gently shake the tin, the filling should have a slight wobble. Turn off the oven and leave it closed. Let cool in the oven for at least 2 hours.
Opening the oven door for cooling influences how creamy or firm the topping is – the cake on the picture has been cooling down for about 3 hours in a closed oven and has been left cooling in the fridge over night.
Serve with fruit like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or dusted with cocoa powder.
Now: Do you have your own traditional recipe? Do you prefer “simple” or do you enjoy experimenting with flavour, like lemon? And: German-style Quark or American Cream Cheese, what’s your take? 🙂