While I’m at it…

…I might as well give you the recipe for Mr. Handsome’s birthday cheesecake.

Maybe once I get all the cakes off my chest, I’ll be able to clear my mind of cake and move on to something different, like the soup I made the other day—a rich creamy cheesy chicken-and-cheese chili, not that it’s much different from a cheesecake, considering I use the same adjectives to describe both of them.

Oh well, when I get in a rut (in any rut, be it culinary or otherwise) I spin around helplessly for a while till someone offers to come hoist me out. In this current rut, I’m churning up lots of crumbs and cream and nobody has extended a hand (or recipe) to help pull me out, I’ve noticed. So I’ll keep cake-making my way into a big fat hole.

At least it’s sweet down here.

Classic Cheesecake
Slightly adapted from Aunt Valerie’s recipe

I have yet to eat a better cheesecake. (Feb. 4, 2011: Except, er, I have another recipe here called “The Perfect Classic Cheesecake.” I think it’s better.)

*Don’t you dare use reduced-fat anything.
*Farm eggs make the cake look yellowish. If it’s a white cheesecake you are after, use anemic store-bought eggs. (I used farm eggs for this cake.)
*You must, absolutely must, put a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven. It’s the key to making a moist, creamy cheesecake.
*The topping is not optional.
*Make the cake the day before you eat it. Those few extra hours in the fridge make it that much better.

For the crust:
2 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted

Stir together the cracker crumbs and sugar. Add the butter and stir to combine. Press the moist crumbs into the bottom and (three-quarters of the way) up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for five minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

For the cake:
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs, separated

Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Using the egg-white-y beaters, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Add the vanilla and the egg yolks and beat thoroughly. Fold in the egg whites.

Bring a couple quarts of water to a rolling boil. Pour the boiling water into a 9 x 13 metal pan and set the pan on the bottom rack of the oven.

Pour the cake batter into the pre-baked crust. Put the cake in the oven, on the rack above the pan of water.

Bake the cake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and starting to crack around the edges and the center is almost set (it will still jiggle a little). Remove the cake and cool to room temperature. It will sink as it cools.

For the topping:
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup heavy whipping cream

Whip the heavy cream till peaks form. Set aside.

Stir together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Fold in the whipped cream.

Spread the topping on the cooled cake, the whole way out to the edges.

Cover the cake with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Serve plain, or with fresh fruit or a fruit sauce.

About One Year Ago: Apple Tart with Cider-Rosemary Glaze.


  • Jennifer Jo

    Jodi, I bet his cheesecake was divine. I say this is the best PLAIN cheesecake—creamy, smooth, rich, classic. But I love any and all cheesecakes, too. When it comes to cheesecakes (and most other foods), I am no snob; in fact, I'm more of a slob, not above licking the plate clean.

    Happy belated birthday to you!

  • Anonymous

    I find it very amusing that Mr. Handsome and I were born on the same day (same year, too), and we both had cheesecake made by our spouses. Maybe you and Shelby need to have a cheesecake cook-off one year. His would be awfully hard to beat. (He put chocolate mousse on top . . .)

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