Great things all have one thing in common. They all have a strong foundation. My cheesecakes are no different. From this plain vanilla cheesecake recipe we can make chocolate cheesecakes, mocha cheesecakes, pecan pie cheesecakes, peanut butter/Oreo cheesecakes, or just keep it simple with a nice berry compote on top. Excited yet? Me too! Let’s get to it!
The first thing that I will tell you and I can’t stress this enough. SCRAPE DOWN THE SIDES AND THE BOTTOM OF THE BOWL! Do this between every step in making the batter. I always feel like I do this enough and then I scrape up a somehow hidden chunk of cream cheese from the bottom of the bowl.
The second tip I would give is to make sure your cream cheese sits out at room temperature for at least an hour to soften. That will make getting it smooth so much easier. Other recipes will tell you to have everything at room temperature before you start and that everything mixes in better that way. I haven’t found a huge difference doing it this way with the exception of the cream cheese. By all means, if you want to do this and you notice a difference, “do you,Boo”.
You might notice that in the directions I listed adding the eggs in last. This may be different than other recipes for cheesecake that you have seen. I do that so you can just beat the heck out of this batter and get it perfectly smooth and then add the eggs because if you beat it too much with the eggs in there it can make for almost a gluey texture in the final product and we don’t want that. Now that we have a basic set of rules for success let’s get started.
First, we are going to prepare our pan. You do this by
- First cut a piece of parchment paper that is large enough to cover the bottom of your springform pan.
- Then you are going to attach the side of the pan to the bottom so that the parchment paper is sandwiched between the bottom of the pan and the side.
- Spray with nonstick spray. (this step is optional., if you want to serve your cheesecake right off the bottom of the pan you can just skip this step but if you want to transfer it to some other plate then do this step)
- Lastly, you are going to line the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides with aluminum foil. This is so that when we put the cheesecake in a water bath to bake it, water won’t seep into the cake.
After the pan is fully prepared you are going to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare and bake the crust of your choice. I recommend the Graham Cracker Crust for this one but once again ” Do you, Boo”. Whatever you chose to be sure to stick it in the freezer for an hour after baking so that the crust doesn’t fall apart when you unmold the cheesecake and slice it. There is a video on the clumsy cakes facebook page if you would like to see how it’s done.
Next, add the greek yogurt and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat once more until smooth. please note that you can use sour cream in place of greek yogurt if you would like. This is your last chance to make sure that the batter is smooth so take advantage of it and scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl REALLY well.
Finally, add the eggs one at a time beating between each addition on low speed just until incorporated on low speed.
Prepare a water bath – Fill a pan that is big enough to fit the springform pan inside (I suggest a roasting pan) with water halfway up the sides of the springform pan. It doesn’t have to be boiling. I have noticed not much of a difference with hot or cold water so I just use cold because it is easier.
Pour the batter on top of the prepared crust. Level off the batter and tap the pan on the work surface a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.
Place the cheesecake in the water bath and bake for one hour or until the sides of the cheesecake are set but the middle jiggles slightly. (there is a video of this also on my clumsy cakes facebook page) Don’t open the oven door during baking.. Only when checking for doneness. After you cheesecake is done shut off the oven and crack the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in there for an additional hour. This is to allow it to cool gently and slowly to prevent any cracks on the top of the cake.
Take the cheesecake out of the oven, cover with clear plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to set. In the morning you are going to un-mold your cheesecake:
- Take off the wrap and either dip an offset spatula in hot water or run it under hot water from the sink. Dry it off and proceed to run the spatula all the way around the cake between the side of the cake and the side of the pan. Release the sides of the pan.
- Place a piece of waxed paper or a piece of parchment paper onto the cheesecake followed by a light cutting board. (If you are a heavier cutting board you run the risk of squashing the cheesecake when you go to flip it over.
- Using the cutting board and the bottom of the springform pan flip the cheesecake over.. Take off the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper and place whatever you are going to use to serve the cheesecake on top of the crust.
- Using that and the cutting board on the bottom, flip the cheesecake back over.
- Take off the parchment paper and top the cheesecake with the topping of your choice.
Plain Vanilla Cheesecake
- Prep Time30 min
- Cook Time1 hr 10 min
- Total Time1 hr 40 min
- Yield19 inch cheesecake
- 3(8oz)packs of Cream Cheese
- 1 cup of Granulated Sugar
- 5 Eggs
- 1/2 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 TBSP of Vanilla Extract
- 1 Recipe of Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan by laying a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and then secure the side of the pan to the bottom so that the overhanging pieces of parchment paper are sandwiched between the side of the pan and the bottom. Spray the bottom with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides with aluminum foil.
- Prepare and cook desired crust. Place in the freezer for an hour.
- Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or regular mixing bowl if you are using a handheld mixer. Beat on medium speed for approximately 5-10 minutes until the cream cheese is smooth. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
- Add the greek yogurt and beat until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl.
- Lastly, add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed in between each addition just until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl one last time.
- Prepare a water bath – Fill up a pan that is big enough to fit the springform pan inside, with water halfway up the side of the springform pan.
- Place the cheesecake batter in the prepared springform pan. Level off the batter and tap the pan on your work surface a few times to remove any air bubbles.
- Place the springform pan in the water bath and bake for one hour until the edges of the cheesecake are set but the middle jiggles slightly when you shake the pan.
- Shut off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for an additional hour with the oven door cracked.
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven and cover with clear plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge overnight to set.
- Unmolding the cheesecake- Dip an offset spatula in hot water and dry it off. Run the spatula around the cake between the side of the cake and the side of the pan. Take off the side of the pan. Lay a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper onto of the cake followed by a light cutting board. Flip the cake over using the cutting board and the bottom of the springform pan. Take off the bottom of the pan exposing the crust with the parchment paper on top. Take off the parchment paper. Place whatever you are going to use to serve the cheesecake ontop of the cheesecake and using that and the cutting board, flip the cake back over.
13. Add desired topping and enjoy the fruits of your very intense labor!