This decadent and creamy New York Cheesecake is silky smooth and pairs beautifully with fresh strawberry compote or any other topping!
I can’t imagine anyone not liking a decadent piece of creamy, satiny smooth cheesecake topped with some homemade strawberry compote. Can you? I suppose there are those who don’t like cheesecake, but I’m betting it’s because they’ve never had the right cheesecake. I’m personally not a fan of cheesecake from those huge bakeries that bake hundreds of them at a time. They look pretty, but the taste is just not there for me, and I can taste the preservatives in every bite.
You may be intimidated by the thought of making a homemade cheesecake, but don’t be. It really isn’t hard. There are 4 steps, and none of them are difficult. They are the crust, filling, water bath, and chilling. The hardest thing for me is the chilling time. I have no patience and the cheesecake needs to chill for at least 4 hours before trying to slice and serve it. The water bath is super simple and we’ll talk about that more in a minute.
Step 1 – Let’s talk first about how I made the easy crust…
Top Left – The first thing I did was wrap some heavy duty foil around the outside of a springform pan. This was to keep the water bath from seeping into my pan. I sure didn’t want a soggy crust.
Top Right – I used my rolling pin to crush some whole graham crackers. I used 9 whole ones, but you can purchase the boxed crumbs if you don’t feel like crushing the whole ones.
Bottom Left – I mixed the cracker crumbs with some melted butter until all the crumbs were moistened with the butter.
Bottom Right – I pressed the crumb mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and about 1-inch up the sides. I used a measuring cup to help press the crust evenly in the pan. I’m not a big fan of a thick graham cracker crust. However, if you are, feel free to make 1 1/2 batches of the crust.
Lastly, I baked the crust in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes to set it. Then I allowed it to cool while I made the filling.
Step 2 – Let’s talk about how I made the filling…
Top Left – I started with 4 blocks of softened cream cheese. It’s very important that you start with softened cream cheese here.
Top Right – I mixed the cream cheese with the whisk attachment of my stand mixer until it was creamy and totally free of any lumps. It’s very important to get all of the lumps out of the cream cheese before adding the other ingredients. Once the filling was totally smooth, I added the other ingredients.
Bottom Left – This is what the filling looked like once I was finished mixing it. Very smooth and creamy with no lumps.
Bottom Right – I poured the filling into the cooled crust, then I picked up the pan and gently shook it back and forth a few times to even out the batter and get rid of any air bubbles. Note, I didn’t shake the pan while it was on the counter or I might have torn the foil. It’s important that the foil has no holes in it.
Step 3 – Now, let’s talk about baking the cheesecake and the water bath, and don’t be intimidated. It’s super easy, but it’s also important. The water bath is the secret to a perfectly baked cheesecake that has no cracks in the top and the steam from the water helps to add moistness to the cheesecake.
First I brought a pan of water to a boil. Then I place a pan in my oven on the middle rack position. I used my half sheet cake pan, but any pan that is larger than the cake pan and about 2-inches deep will work. I poured about 1 inch of water in the pan. Once I had the cheesecake filling ready, I gently placed the foil-lined pan into the water bath. Then I carefully added some additional water to the pan, until the water level was halfway up the sides of my springform pan. It’s important to not get any water in the cheesecake filling.
I baked the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until it was just slightly jiggly in the center and I turned off the oven. I removed the cheesecake and the water bath from the oven. I removed the foil from the cheesecake and returned the cheesecake to the oven. I left the cheesecake in the warm oven for 1 hour with the oven door slightly ajar. Cooling the cheesecake slowly also helps to keep it from cracking.
Step 4 – Once the cheesecake cooled in the oven, I ran a sharp knife around the edges. I loosely placed a piece of plastic wrap over the cheesecake and placed it in the refrigerator overnight. This was the hardest part for me. The waiting!
If you happened to read my Table Talk post this week, I showed a picture of what happens if you loosen the ring around your cheesecake while it is still warm. Never talk to your husband when you’re making a recipe!
This cheesecake is absolutely delicious on its own, but leave it to me, I couldn’t stop there. I made a quick and easy strawberry compote to serve on top of each slice. The compote took 5 minutes to make. Then I didn’t stop there either. I whipped up some fresh whipping cream to pipe on top. What more could you ask for?
This cheesecake is a great dessert for any occasion, and you can make it a couple of days in advance, just cover it with some plastic wrap. It also freezes beautifully, good luck in having any left to freeze.
For perfect slices, use a sharp knife and wipe it clean between cuts.
This creamy New York Cheesecake is satiny smooth and each bite will melt on your tongue. It makes a great dessert for a special occasion.
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (About 9 whole graham crackers)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- Pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
FOR THE FILLING
- 4 packages softened cream cheese, 8 ounces each
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
FOR STRAWBERRY COMPOTE
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cups strawberries, halved
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
FOR THE CRUST
- Melt the butter in a medium bowl in a microwave. Add the cracker crumbs. (I used whole graham crackers and crush them by with my rolling pin). Add the sugar and salt and mix until all the crumbs are moistened with the butter. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with heavy-duty foil. Place the springform pan on the middle rack of an oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until the crust is set. Mine took 9 minutes. Set the pan aside while preparing the filling.
FOR THE FILLING
- Prepare the water bath. Move oven rack to the bottom third of the oven. Place a large pan, larger than the springform pan, on the oven rack. Make sure the pan is at least 2 inches deep. Fill the pan with at least 1 inch of boiling water. Leave the pan in the preheated oven while you prepare the filling.
- Add the cream cheese to the large bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix the cream cheese on high speed until the cream cheese is light and creamy and free of any lumps. Add the vanilla, sugar and eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium speed until well blended. Pour the filling over the crust. Pick up the pan and gently shake it to even out the filling. To ensure you do not tear a hole in the foil, make sure you do not shake the pan back and forth on a surface.
- Gently place the springform pan in the water bath in the preheated oven. Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cheesecake is just slightly jiggly in the center. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and remove the foil from around the pan. Remove the water bath from the oven and return the cheesecake to the oven. Turn the oven off and leave oven door gently ajar. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a sharp knife around the edges. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Release and remove the springform ring and cut and serve.
FOR THE STRAWBERRY COMPOTE
- Add the water and cornstarch to a medium saucepan and whisk together until smooth. Place the pan over medium heat and add the sugar and strawberries. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes while stirring constantly and remove from heat. Using a potato masher, slightly mash some of the strawberries. Allow compote to completely cool. It will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate the compote until ready to use.
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- Add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and sugar and mix on high speed until medium-stiff peaks form about 1 minute. Place dollops of the cream around the edges of the cheesecake, or pipe it on with a pastry bag.
- It’s always important when whisking cream cheese, to whisk it until it’s very light and creamy and free of all lumps before adding other ingredients.
- This cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, and frozen for up to 1 month.
- For neat slices, use a sharp long knife and wipe the knife clean between cuts.
- Category: Desserts
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: New York Cheese Cake, Creamy, Cheesecake, Strawberry Compote,