This plain cheesecake recipe is the best homemade cheesecake ever AND the perfect foundation for thousands of variations! Follow the recipe exactly the first time that you make it so that you’ve got the basics down. When done right the top never cracks and the filling is always dense and creamy! It’s the best combination of sweet and tangy, rich and luxurious cheesecake that I’ve ever had.
In fact this is the recipe I developed when I was catering and it’s the only one I ever use.
For this recipe you’ll need: crumbs, butter, sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, eggs
I love cheesecake. I can’t tell you whether it’s the flavor or the texture or a combination of the two that makes it so addictive to me but I can tell you that I will eat cheesecake until either the cheesecake is gone or I explode. It’s the first thing I look for on the dessert menu of any restaurant I’m visiting and woe be unto the restaurant that serves me a commercially made frozen cheesecake and tries to pass it off as house-made.
I’ve shared tons of easy cheesecake recipes here on Restless Chipotle but never my plain cheesecake recipe – the one that all the others are based off of. As long as you keep the basic measurements the same and follow directions exactly this plain cheesecake recipe will never ever let you down. No cracks, no tough edges…
The only problem I’ve ever had is when I don’t leave it in the oven long enough and the middle isn’t done all the way. Even with that it’s delicious – just a little more creamy in the center.
I bet you can tell when I last made this cheesecake, can’t you?
Yep, 4th of July. It was a request from my cheesecake loving son, Nick. He usually asks for cheesecakes on his birthday… which just happens to be July 3rd.
I didn’t really do anything special to the fruit, besides cut the bananas into little bitty stars. THAT was tedious. The fruit wasn’t macerated or sugared because I didn’t want it to be runny. I just gently placed each piece on the top of the cake.
The totally smooth, totally NOT cracked top of the cheesecake.
Gorgeous, isn’t it?
I learned to make cheesecake the summer that I learned to bake bread. I think it was 1975 and I was 15. My Dad had moved out to a nearby apartment (my parents had a very rocky, on again/off again 50 year marriage that ended with Dad’s death. Umm… not by Mom’s hand) which meant I had access to a kitchen that my mother wasn’t in control of.
I’m not sure what all circumstances led to the changes in my life that summer, only that there were immeasurable changes. It was the summer of my freedom – I was old enough to ride my 10 speed to Dairy Queen for ice cream with my friends, or Winchells for donuts and coffee. I was old enough to stay at Dad’s by myself and pretend that I was even older and it was my very own apartment.
It was the summer of halter tops and cut off jeans, of feeling like I might be getting pretty after all, and knowing that, despite my thick, muscular thighs and frizz-prone hair, I owned every male eye at the local pool when I walked out of the women’s dressing room in my tiny bikini. It was a feeling of confidence and power that I’ve rarely had the opportunity to experience but remember with a smile and a burst of … pride? … once in awhile.
It was the summer I was seriously in love for the first time.
Glenn and I dated for two years. He was artistic, angsty, and brooding – I imagined he was a modern day Heathcliff striding across the moors in his Levis and calvary boots, pushing his long hair out of his eyes. We spent every waking moment together and many of those moments were shared with Danny, our third Musketeer, and the one that had introduced us and was a best friend to both of us.
I never was sure why Glenn broke up with me – I was devastated when it happened. I was positive that it was because I wasn’t attractive enough or interesting enough or fill-in-the-blank enough. Anyway, not long after that he quit school and disappeared from my life.
Just before my divorce Danny, Glenn, and I caught up with each other again on Facebook. We talked about that magical summer and laughed over some of the crazy stuff that we’d done. Glenn was out of state and we talked about him coming down and the three of us getting together for real.
He and I talked through Messenger on Facebook often. We talked about his life, which hadn’t gone well overall, and my life which had it’s ups and downs but was pretty sweet overall. He told me he was proud of who I’d become and what I’d done with my life. Proud but not surprised. I asked why we’d broken up and he just said he didn’t think he was good for me and felt he was holding me back… and then he said, “and see, I was right. Look at you now!”
I could see that slow, lazy smile spread across his face in my mind and read it in his words.
I guess we talked a couple of times a week until I got the message from Danny. Glenn is dead. He committed suicide last night.
What? No way! We had just talked!
He felt like his situation was hopeless. He didn’t want to be a problem for anyone. He didn’t want to pull anyone down so he didn’t talk to Danny or I about the real, gritty details of his life. He didn’t give us the opportunity to be there for him. He did the only thing he could think of to do.
And maybe he didn’t realize it but he left behind a small group of shell shocked friends and family that would have moved Heaven and Earth to make his life better if we had only known.
His headstone was finally set and Danny and I headed out there yesterday to say goodbye, to tell him what an ass he was for what he’d done, and to try to get some closure, to make sense of something that would never make sense. In the years since high school we’ve lost parents, family members, and friends. We’ve grown and changed but yesterday, for just a couple of hours in the hot Texas summer, we were 15 and 16 again and in a weird way the three of us were together.
Y’all know I ramble on. It’s what old people do. There’s something about telling our stories that not only brings them back to life but gives them some sort of immortality. But this story has a point and here it is.
Everybody goes through things. Hard things, things that make you feel like your gut is going to burst open and spew all of your emotions out. Often when we’re going through those things we feel like we need to keep them to ourselves so as not to burden someone else with the knowledge of it. We seek to protect our loved ones – our friends and family.
And sometimes in that protecting the weight of it all becomes too heavy for us to carry.
Don’t do it. Don’t carry it by yourself. Don’t leave your friends wondering what they could have done differently. Reach out no matter how hard it is. Tough times are temporary but death is pretty permanent – there’s no coming back from that.
So y’all, there’s no good or cute or funny way to transition back into this plain cheesecake recipe after that story. I wish there was.
YOU MAY NEED…
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This leakproof springform pan is the exact one I use to make this plain cheesecake recipe. See, it’s even red! I love it and it makes this cake perfectly.
Plain Cheesecake Recipe
If you love cheesecake as much as I do and want to move on to something a little more challenging than this plain cheesecake recipe check out my post, 50 Best Cheesecake Recipes on the Internet!
Make this plain cheesecake recipe. Invite someone over. Share it. Tell them you are there for them no matter what. Life is short. Eat the cheesecake. Often.
- 32 ounces cream cheese , original not low fat or no fat - 4 8-ounce packages, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 eggs , room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 16 ounces sour cream , room temperature - not reduced fat or low fat or fat free
- Cover the outside bottom and sides of a high sided, 9-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. Make sure it's tight.
- Pulse the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor until they are crumbs.
- Stir in melted butter.
- Press the crumb mixture over the bottom and half way up the sides of the springform pan.
- Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a mixer.
- Beat with the paddle attachment until light and creamy on low speed for 8 minutes. DO NOT ever use a whisk or beat on medium or high speed.
- With the mixer still on low speed add the eggs, one at a time, beating 1 to 2 minutes after each.
- Fold in the vanilla and sour cream with a rubber spatula, folding until the sour cream is completely mixed in.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust and place in a large roasting pan.
- Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake.
- Bake for 1 hour.
- Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake sit for 1 hour. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR.
- Remove from the oven, take out of the water bath, and remove the foil.
- Let the cheesecake sit away from drafts until it cools to room temperature.
- Place a folded paper towel on the top of the cheesecake and cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil.
- Chill overnight or at least 8 hours.
- Just before serving remove the aluminum foil and paper towel from the top; run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to loosen the cake.
- Remove the springform pan.
- Top with desired topping and serve.
IF YOU LIKED THIS PLAIN CHEESECAKE RECIPE YOU MAY ALSO LIKE THESE RESTLESS CHIPOTLE FAVORITES…
From left to right: Red Velvet Cheesecake, Pecan Pie Cheesecake, Pineapple Upside Down Cheesecake