Mom’s Amazing Cheesecake (and Dad’s Favorite!)
|June 27, 2015||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Cakes, Pies and Cobblers|
Growing up, every year we’d celebrate Father’s Day, 4th of July and Dad’s birthday within a two week span. It was pretty chock full of desserts and goodies. My favorite was Mom’s famous cheesecake, though.
It wasn’t a fancy cheesecake. There was no chocolate or caramel. No Oreos, pecans, ganache or Reese’s cups. No springform pan. Just cheesecake in all it’s traditional glory. A creamy, rich, decadent finale to the festivities.
This is the conversation that happened between Mom and Dad at this time of year for as long as I can remember:
Mom: What kind of cake would you like for your birthday/Father’s Day?
Dad: Oh, I don’t care. Whatever everyone wants is fine.
Mom: George… (dramatic pause and raised eyebrow) …it’s YOUR birthday, not ours. What kind of cake would you like?
Dad: Well, I’d really like one your cheesecakes, then. *smile*
(There was an occasional request for carrot cake, but that’s for another day.)
On his birthday, we’d all crowd around, sing “Happy Birthday,” then stare a hole through my mom as she took the candles off the cake. We all knew that cheesecake left a big glob of yumminess on every candle and we were determined to have them. Since there were three of us kids, it was very competitive. In hindsight, I think Dad got more of the candles than we did. I also remember that familiar tinny taste of the canned cherry pie filling that Mom scooped on top of each piece of cake. Every so often we’d have blueberry or strawberry.
I am intimidated by this prized cheesecake and never tried to make one. It was always Mom’s territory. This year, though, I feel up to the challenge and have permission from Mom to share her recipe.
Ready? Let’s make a delicious cheesecake!
Mom’s Amazing Cheesecake
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 (8 ounce) bars of cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 scant cup of sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup sour cream
Mix all of the crust ingredients together until it resembles coarse sand.
Press into the bottom, and slightly up the sides, of a well-greased a 9 x 11 pan. Set aside.
Mix together all ingredients except sour cream with a hand or stand mixer for 10 minutes. Add sour cream and mix for 2 more minutes. Pour over crust.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes until very light gold on the edges and not quite set in the center, still a teeny bit jiggly.
If desired, top with a mixture of 1 cup sour cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Refrigerate before serving.
Pan – Mom never used a springform pan for this recipe. In fact, it specifically calls for a rectangular pan. You could certainly use the springform, but it isn’t necessary.
Room temperature – Ingredients come together best when at room temperature. The filling will be less lumpy.
Greased Pan – While greasing the pan is good for easier serving, it plays another role here, too. Cheesecake will naturally shrink as it cools and greased sides will allow the cake to pull away from the edges to accommodate the shrinking, rather than creating cracks in the center.
Water Bath – Before everyone starts yelling, yes, you can use a water bath if you like. A water bath is supposed to help with cracking by adding moisture in the oven, though I thought over-coagulated eggs created cracks in the oven. Either way, this recipe doesn’t call for one, and it works just fine.
Sometimes the cheesecake cracks. Sometimes we cover that with topping and sometimes we just enjoy it’s character. Cracks don’t change the flavor!
Crust on the sides – This is a matter of preference. It you are a person who likes the graham cracker crust all the way up the edge of the cake, by all means, make it so.
Do you have any tips for making cheesecake? What are your favorite toppings?