This morning I Googled “cheesecake recipes” and there were 2,090,000 results. This is sheer madness, because the world does not need that many cheesecake recipes. Actually, I am about to share with you the only cheesecake you will ever need. Period.
(I’m editing this to add… yes, there will of course be tall, delectable 3000-calorie restaurant or bakery slices of cheesecake in your life, but when you’re making your own? This is the only one you need for that purpose. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s trip to NYC.)
This is my grandma’s recipe, and my family has enjoyed it year-round: Christmas, birthdays, funerals, even summer cookouts if the house is air-conditioned. In fact, can someone in my family tell me why we haven’t eaten this recently? Who is making it for Memorial Day? It is, after all, the Best Cheesecake Ever, and the recipe is really simple – just 7 ingredients, and according to this recipe card from my aunt, you can make it as much as 2 days ahead of time (but if you’re wondering, “can I freeze this?” The answer is “NO.”):
What makes this cheesecake
unique the greatest is the sour cream topping. It’s a thin, tangy, not-too-sweet layer that perfectly finishes the rich, creamy cheesecake beneath it. Warning, though: it will make you turn your nose at cheesecakes-without-sour-cream-topping for all eternity (but hey! You’ll save $7 by not ordering any at the Cheesecake Factory). And please don’t skimp on the ingredients — if you want something low-fat, don’t eat cheesecake! There were some missteps in the 1990s with this particular recipe that aren’t even worth talking about (they were dry with giant canyons on the top). Also not worth talking about? Fat free sour cream.
The Best Cheesecake Ever
for the crust:
- 18 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup melted butter
for the filling:
- 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (room temperature)
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
for the topping:
- 1 pint (2 cups) sour cream
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 9×13 pan. Crush the graham crackers (an easy way to do this is place them in a plastic freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin) and put them in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Line the bottom of the pan with cracker mixture and press up the sides as best you can.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixture and gradually add sugar. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each. Add 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix sour cream, 4 Tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread topping on top of cake when it comes out of the oven. Increase oven temperature to 475 and bake for just 5 minutes. Allow to cool at room temperature and then place in refrigerator. Can be made up to two days in advance.
- Discard all of your other cheesecake recipes.