Surprisingly light and creamy with a sweet cinnamon graham cracker crust, this cheesecake will be your most loved cheesecake recipe! This recipe includes all the tips to get your cheesecake looking and tasting amazing.
This award winning cheesecake recipe is surprisingly light and creamy and not too dense or too sweet. It's luxurious, velvety, and always smooth with this recipe. This is a tried and true Davis family recipe that you will now add to your family's most loved dessert recipes! There are a few secret ingredients that make it the best recipe in all the cheesecake land- read simple ingredient list below...
Simple Ingredients for this Cheesecake Recipe
- Graham crackers
- Cinnamon (secret ingredient to add a unique flavor to the crust)
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream (secret ingredient to add smoothness and extra creamy texture)
- Almond flavor (secret ingredient that complements the vanilla flavor and adds an extra flavor punch!)
The addition of the secret ingredients truly makes this cheesecake deliciously smooth in texture and extra flavorful. Try it and you will see the difference. This is not your ordinary cheesecake recipe. It the THE BEST! A huge thank you to my mother-in-law (really second mother) Sharon for this recipe!
The only cheesecake recipe I've ever liked...
Honestly, I was never a huge cheesecake fan until I tried this cheesecake recipe! We don't have cheesecake in Italy and I always found American cheese to be too dense and overly sweet. When my mother in law first made this for me many years ago I was apprehensive to try it knowing it wasn't my favorite. My husband raved about this cheesecake and requested for his birthday as a young adult.
After taking that first bite, it all made sense as to why this tried and true cheesecake recipe is a family favorite! This is the recipe that changed my mind about American cheesecake. It is creamy and smooth with a crunchy graham cracker crust with a hint of cinnamon that adds the perfect touch!
The BEST Cheesecake Recipe
I always eat more than I should and you will soon see why! Enjoy this recipe and make with love as you share it with family and friends! It is a luscious and sweet dessert. The texture is light and creamy and also, rich and smooth. Trust me, you will love it too!
10 Tips for the Perfect Cheesecake- No Cracks!
- Go with full fat ingredients - Use regular cream cheese and sour cream in cheesecake recipes, unless one specifically calls for reduced-fat or fat-free products. This will ensure that the cake turns out as intended and tastes great, too.
- Beat eggs before adding to the mix & add eggs last to avoid cracks! - You can whip together the cream cheese and sugar together as long as you like (or at least until smooth and fluffy) without causing any issues with your batter. However, be mindful with the eggs in any cheesecake recipe. Add them in last and beat just until combined. I beat the eggs BEFORE adding them to the mixture so I don't have to mix them The longer you mix the eggs, the more air you incorporate into the batter. The air can expand and then contract during baking and cooling which causes cracks. If you do get cracks- don't worry it will still taste delicious.
- Make sure ingredients are room temperature - When making cheesecake, using room temperature cream cheese and eggs is absolutely critical. Room temp ingredients blend up smoothly so you don’t have a lumpy cake.
- Use the lower rack in the oven - You don’t want your cheesecake too close to your oven’s heating element. While baking on the center rack is perfect for cookies, you’ll want to move the rack one rung lower for cheesecake. It’ll still be near the center of the oven, but just far enough away from the heat to prevent major cracks.
- Use a water bath - Even if the recipe doesn’t call for it, our Test Kitchen recommends using a water bath to bake cheesecake. Water baths help the cheesecakes bake gently and evenly, plus the steam from the hot water creates a nice humid environment for baking. Humidity while baking will help prevent dreaded cracks.
- No peeking in the oven! - Open the oven door as little as possible while baking the cheesecake, especially during the first 30 minutes. Drafts can cause it to crack.
- Wobble Test for doneness - Set a kitchen timer to the minimum recommended baking time, and check for doneness only when the timer goes off. You’ll know it’s finished baking when the edges are slightly puffed and when the center wobbles slightly when you tap the side of the pan with a spoon. The retained heat will continue to cook the center while the cheesecake is cooling. Pro tip: Don’t use a knife or a toothpick to test for doneness. Do that, and the top might—you guessed it—crack.
- Knife trick - To prevent cracks during cooling, it’s important to loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan after baking. First, cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then carefully run a table knife or small metal spatula between the cheesecake and the inside of the pan. Don’t remove the sides of the pan yet. Cool for an hour longer in a draft-free location.
- Let it cool properly- Cool the cheesecake in the oven. Leave the cheesecake in the oven first. Turn off the oven and crack the door open or prop it open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool slowly for 1 hour. It needs to be 100 percent cool to prevent condensation from collecting on the underside of the cover. Refrigerate up to 4 hours and up to overnight before removing the sides of the pan.
- Loosen the pan first - make sure your cheesecake is chilled at least 4 hours to overnight so it’s firm. Loosen the latch of the springform pan and carefully lift the rim of the pan straight up.
How to Properly Cut Cheesecake
Slice cheesecake while it’s cold. It’s a lot less messy! Dip a long, thin knife in very hot water, wipe the blade with a paper towel, then slice. Clean and rewarm the knife after each cut. Perfect cheesecake slice!
Don’t Stress if the Cheesecake Ends Up Cracking
FIX CRACKED CHEESECAKE
If the top of your cheesecake has a crack in it, just cover it up. The cake is still going to taste delicious. Our Test Kitchen suggests making fresh whipped cream or even a tasty chocolate ganache. You can always layer on jam or fresh fruit, too.
*Tips from Taste of Home.
Cheesecake Topping Ideas
Cheesecake is a blank canvas for many toppings! Enjoy it plain or make it special and add some toppings. Here are a few ideas:
- Fresh berries
- Fruit sauces such as; strawberry, raspberry, or cherry
- Chocolate sauce try our homemade chocolate syrup recipe
- Caramel sauce
- Chocolate shavings
- Fresh whipped cream
Enjoy your cheesecake plain or add a topping for a fun twist.
Can I make cheesecake ahead of time?
Yes! It is actually better that way. If you’re prepping for a party, you can bake your cheesecake in advance. You can cover and refrigerate it for up to three days. Or freeze it for up to two months by placing the entire cheesecake or individual slices on a baking sheet and freezing until firm. Wrap in heavy-duty plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator.
From my Cucina to Your Table. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
Made with Amore, Elena
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For the crust:
- 1 ¾ cups graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
For the filling
- 2 8 oz packages of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 cups (24 ounces) full fat sour cream, room temperature
- 3 eggs, well beaten, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoons pure almond extract
- Arrange a rack in the lower-middle position of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Use your fingers to coat a small pat of butter all over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. Prepare the pan: cut 2 large pieces of foil and place them on your work surface on top of each other in a cross. Set the springform pan in the middle and fold the edges of the foil up and around the sides of the pan. The foil gives you extra protection against water getting into the pan during the water bath step.
- Crush the graham crackers in a food processor (or in a bag using a rolling pin) until they form fine crumbs. Add the cinnamon and mix to combine. Melt the butter in the microwave or on the stovetop and mix this into the graham cracker crumbs. The mixture should look like wet sand and hold together in a clump when you press it in your fist. If not, add extra tablespoons of water (one a time) until the mixture holds together. Transfer it into the springform pan and use the bottom of a glass to press it evenly into the bottom.
- Place the crust in the oven (be careful not to tear the foil). Bake until the crust is fragrant and just starting to brown around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the crust cool on a cooling rack while you prepare the filling.
- Place the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric handheld mixer and large bowl.) Mix on medium-low speed until the mixture is creamy, like thick frosting, and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Scrape down the beater and the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Add the sour cream, almond, and vanilla and beat on medium-low speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- Beat the eggs with a fork in a separate bowl. With the mixer on medium-low speed, work in in the beaten eggs. At first, the mixture will look clumpy and broken, but it will come together as the eggs are mixed in properly. The finished batter should be thick, creamy, and silky. Don't worry if you see a few specks of un-mixed cream cheese here and there; they will melt into the batter during baking and won't affect the finished cheesecake.
- Pour the batter over the cooled crust and spread it into an even layer. Transfer the prepared pan with cheesecake to a roasting pan or other baking dish big enough to hold it. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and pour the water into the roasting pan, do not splash water onto the cheesecake. Fill the pan to about an inch, or just below the lowest edge of foil.
- Bake the cheesecake for 50 to 60 minutes. Cakes baked in a 10-inch pan will usually cook in 50 to 55 minutes; cakes in a 9-inch pan will cook in 55 to 60 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the outer two to three inches look slightly puffed and set, but the inner circle still jiggles (like Jell-O) when you gently shake the pan. Some spots of toasted golden color are fine, but if you see any cracks starting to form, move on to the next step right away.
- Leave the cheesecake in the oven. Turn off the oven and crack the door open or prop it open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool slowly for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and from the water bath, unwrap the foil, and transfer it to a cooling rack. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cake to make sure it's not sticking to the sides (which can cause cracks as it cools). Let the cheesecake cool completely on the rack. Chill the cheesecake, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days in the refrigerator. This step is crucial for letting the cheesecake set and achieving perfect cheesecake texture — don't rush it.
- Unmold the cheesecake and top the cheesecake with toppings, if desired, just before serving. You can serve the cake right from the bottom of the springform pan, or use a large off-set spatula to gently unstick the crust from the pan and transfer it to a serving platter. Mangia!
Storage: Leftovers will keep refrigerated, uncovered to avoid condensation building up, for several days.
- Prep Time: 15 min +4-24 hours (cooling time)
- Cook Time: 50-60 min
- Category: Sweet
- Method: American
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cheesecake, dessert, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, graham cracker, dessert recipe