Vanilla Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Vanilla Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping-7

This is the best basic cheesecake recipe I’ve ever had.  It’s perfectly rich and creamy, not too sweet and VERY generous in size.  Topped with a tangy sour cream topping, it’s heaven in every bite.

Vanilla Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

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Also whew!  I didn’t think I was going to get a recipe out today but got a last-minute burst of inspiration and sat down with a glass of wine to finish it.  Blame it on the wine!

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My uncle brought this cheesecake to holidays a few times and I fell in love.  Yes, my love life generally revolves around food.  He shared the recipe with me from Simply Recipes originally from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.  This is the kind of cookbook that I grab off my shelf and browse frequently, because everything looks absolutely delicious and has a variety of recipes varying from beginner to advanced.  Plus Dorie is so cute and so knowledgable and she lives part-time in Paris.  Paris!

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I generally followed the original recipe from Simply Recipes, aside from halving the sour cream topping.  Cheesecakes always seem so scary to make, but, aside from taking some time to make from start to finish, they really aren’t hard.  Just make sure to have the ingredients at room temperature and mix thoroughly so you don’t have a lumpy cheesecake and don’t skip the water bath!  Lastly, allow yourself the proper amount of time for chilling, both for the cheesecake alone and the sour cream topping you will add after its chilled.

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I’m going to share a life-changing secret with you…DO NOT USE A SPRINGFORM PAN FOR CHEESECAKE!  Bake it in a deep 9-inch cake pan (I use this one and it’s perfect for the amount of filling most cheesecakes contain) and place it in a larger round cake pan (like the 11 or 13-inch one in this set) to make the waterbath.  I cannot take credit for this method; I saw Alton Brown do it on Good Eats and watched an Instagram story with Zoe from Zoe Bakes doing the same thing.  It’s genius!

It completely eliminates the soggy crust problem, which plagued me for years despite wrapping that springform sucker in tons of aluminum foil exactly like every recipe told me to do.

This method may scare you and I totally get it-it scared me too!  But it freaking works…like 100% of the time.  Let’s recap: bake the cheesecake in a 9 x 3-inch round cake pan inside a larger round cake pan filled with water.  No aluminum foil necessary.  Chill the cheesecake as instructed in the recipe.  When ready to remove the cheesecake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the side and place the cake pan over medium-low heat for about 45 seconds to 1 minute, moving constantly, to melt the butter in the crust just slightly.  Flip the cheesecake onto a cardboard round or other flat plate or pan that’s barely bigger than the cheesecake and flip back right-side-up onto your serving plate or cake stand.  Let the cheesecake sit for a little bit at room temperature so the butter hardens and doesn’t adhere to your serving plate.  Then top with the sour cream topping and let chill completely before serving!  It’s honestly a lot easier than it appears in this long paragraph…I promise.

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I made this for a Super Bowl Party and went home with an empty pan and rave reviews! But please don’t wait until the next Super Bowl to make it.

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Vanilla Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

  • Author: Amanda
  • Yield: 12 to 16 servings
  • Category: Cheesecake


The perfect ultra-creamy, sky-high New York-style vanilla cheesecake with vanilla bean-specked sour cream topping.  Use creme fraiche in place of the sour cream for even more decadence!



  • 1-3/4 cups (230 grams) graham cracker crumbs (or about 15 graham crackers, processed to crumbs in a food processor)
  • 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (60 grams) butter, melted


  • 2 pounds (900 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1-1/3 cups (270 grams) granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sour cream OR crème fraiche, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature


  • 1 cup sour cream or crème fraiche
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Half of vanilla bean, seeds scraped, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and melted butter, stirring until crumbs are completely wet.  Press the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9 x 3-inch round cake pan.  Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, until set and slightly golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.
  2. While the crust cools, make the filling:  Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until completely smooth and creamy.  For the entire process of making the filling, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the beater frequently; this will ensure a completely smooth and homogenous filling.  Add the sugar and beat for another 4 minutes.  Add the salt and vanilla, beating to combine.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after you add each egg.  Once the eggs are incorporated, add the sour cream, beating until incorporated.  Lastly, add the heavy cream and again beat until incorporated.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°.  When the crust has cooled, pour the filling into the prepared pan, gently wiggling the pan to remove any air bubbles. Transfer the cake pan into a slightly larger round cake panor a large roasting pan and place the pan in the oven.  Pour 6 to 8 cups of hot tap water into the roasting pan, ensuring the water comes about halfway up the sides of the cake pan.  Bake for 1-1/2 hours, until the cheesecake is set but the middle is still slightly jiggly.  Turn off the oven, crack the door about 1 inch, and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour in the oven.   
  4. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool to room temperature.  Transfer the cheesecake, uncovered, to the refrigerator and chill for at least 4 hours. Once the cheesecake is completely chilled, you can cover the top with aluminum foil.
  5. To unmold the cheesecake, run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the sides.  Place the cheesecake over medium-low heat, moving the pan around often, for about 45 seconds to 1 minute to loosen the bottom crust (this will melt the butter slightly, but don’t keep it over the heat too long!). Alternatively, you can place the cheesecake in a large pan of hot water to loosen the bottom.  Carefully invert the cheesecake onto a cardboard round or flat surface slightly larger than the cheesecake, and quickly invert right-side-up onto your serving plate or cake stand.  Let the crust set up at room temperature for about 30 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the topping: Mix all the ingredients together until completely smooth.  Top the cheesecake with the mixture, spreading to cover the top, and return to the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour to set the topping.


Inspiration: Perfect Cheesecake on

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