For the crust:
- 1 3/4 cups graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 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
- 1/4 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