Our Classic Cheesecake has an uber creamy, dreamy texture thanks to a triple-threat dairy base comprised of heavy cream, sour cream, and cream cheese. The vanilla bean seed-speckled filling covers a crunchy, buttery crumb crust, and a final veil of sour cream gets baked into the top at the very end, creating a dramatic snow-white cap.
- 2 cups (224 grams) graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cups (300 grams) plus 5½ tablespoons (66 grams) granulated sugar, divided
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (680 grams), cubed and softened
- 3 tablespoons (24 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (12 grams) vanilla bean paste
- 4 large eggs (200 grams), room temperature
- 2¼ cups (540 grams) sour cream, room temperature and divided
- ¼ cup (60 grams) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray with flour; line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and cinnamon until well combined; using a small straight-sided measuring cup, press crumb mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan.
- Bake until set and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes; let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of heavy-duty foil; place in a large oven bag, tucking ends so bag is flush with top edge of pan. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F (170°C).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add 1½ cups (300 grams) sugar, flour, vanilla bean paste, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt; beat at low speed just until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium, and beat until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition. Add ¾ cup (180 grams) sour cream and heavy cream; beat at medium-low speed until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Spray sides of prepared pan with baking spray with flour. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust, spreading into an even layer with a small offset spatula. Carefully place springform pan in a large roasting pan. Position oven rack so top of springform pan is 5 to 5½ inches from top heating element; place roasting pan in oven, and add hot water to come 1 inch up sides of springform pan.
- Bake until edges are set, top looks dry, center is almost set, and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 150°F (66°C) to 155°F (68°C), 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat remaining 1½ cups (360 grams) sour cream and remaining 3 tablespoons (36 grams) sugar at medium-low speed until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl.
- Remove cheesecake from oven. Carefully spoon sour cream mixture onto cheesecake; using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread into an even layer and swirl as desired. Bake for 8 minutes more.
- Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 1½ to 2 hours. Refrigerate in pan on a wire rack overnight, loosely covering with foil only when completely cool to prevent condensation from forming on top of cheesecake. Carefully remove from pan, and transfer to a serving plate. Use a warm dry knife to slice when ready to serve.
A great cheesecake requires an equally great springform pan that won’t leak or offer flimsy protection. During testing, we found two MVPs: Williams So noma’s Goldtouch Springform Pan (available at williams-sonoma.com) and Fat Daddio’s PSF-93 9×3-inch Springform Cake Pan in silver (available at amazon.com ).