Vanilla Cheesecake – Pure Bliss!
Vanilla Cheesecake is one of the most glorious desserts on earth. Fact. Tangy, creamy, smooth and rich. Paired with a sharp fruit compote, it is even better! Total, TOTAL bliss. Oh, and let’s not forget the buttery crust!
If you’ve read my previous posts in my Perfect Cheesecake Series, you will know that I was absolutely petrified of making baked cheesecake – for yeeeears. There are so many things that can go wrong with baked cheesecake. It can sink, curdle and crack or (on the other side of the spectrum) you can be too gentle and end up with an undercooked cheesecake.
In most cooking/baking shows, we constantly see all the dramas and dangers surrounding the humble cheesecake. BUT, you honestly don’t need to be afraid – at all!
Let’s Get Technical
A perfect baked Vanilla Cheesecake is, seriously, super straight forward.
The method is simple.
The ingredients are simple.
The only advice I would give is that you READ MY PERFECT CHEESECAKE MANUAL FIRST, before diving into the recipe! These tips will prep you for making your own flawless Baked Vanilla Cheesecake.
My Perfect Cheesecake Manual covers all the essential tips you need to avoid any cracks, curdling, sinking etc. I also discuss an alternative method to the traditional (and indiscreetly tedious) water bath baking method.
Open the Perfect Cheesecake Manual in a separate tab and give it a read. Remember, method determines at least 50% of the quality of your bake! Method matters.
My Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe Development
There are many takes on baked vanilla cheesecake. Many folks insist on using only cream cheese, eggs and sugar. I do feel that the cake ends up being a bit TOO cheesy though. Obviously a cheesecake needs to be cheesy, but I love it when the flavour is mellowed out just a tad with some cream inside the batter.
The first vanilla cheesecake I made was a recipe by Tyler Florence. He is constantly on a quest to make the ULTIMATE of something. My kind of person! His vanilla cheesecake recipe contained sour cream which gave the cheesecake a beautiful tang.
The addition of sour cream also rounded out the flavour of the cream cheese wonderfully! His recipe contained a bit too much sour cream for me though. Sorry Tyler!
I also tried a recipe by Gemma Strafford once. It was lovely, but I really missed the tang of the sour cream.
Some more influence came along from Ashlee Marie. Her recipe didn’t use any cream or sour cream inside the batter, but her baking and mixing methods for vanilla cheesecake were life changing.
For the cheesecake pastry, refer to my previous post in my Perfect Cheesecake Series – click here. I'll include another link inside this vanilla cheesecake recipe (further down) when you will need it.
I utterly ADORE this vanilla cheesecake recipe… It's a New York Style Cheesecake; buttery vanilla pastry with super creamy, dense (but not too dense), smooth and tangy cheesecake. Deeeeelectable!
It can be eaten as is, or you can top it with a fruit compote of your choice. A mixed berry compote hits the spot for me, so I’ve decided to include that in the recipe.
Here is my ULTIMATE Baked Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe!
- 210 g All-Purpose Flour
- 60 g Icing Sugar
- 130 g Salted Butter, cold and cubed
- 50 g Egg Yolks (about 2 ½ egg yolks)
- ½ Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 950 g Medium Fat Cream Cheese (25% fat), at room temperature
- 320 g White Sugar
- 5 g Salt
- 4 X-Large Eggs (240 g)
- 250 ml Sour Cream
- 40 ml Water
- 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 35 g Cream
- 40 g White Chocolate
- 100 g Blueberries
- 100 g Strawberries (passion fruit use 2 tubs (230 g) total)
- 120 g sugar (passion fruit use 70 g)
- Tiny pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 45 g Water
- 13 g Corn Flour
- Refer to my previous post, Cheesecake Pastry, for instructions.
- Preheat your oven to 300˚F/150˚C and move an oven rack to the center of your oven. Place the largest roasting tray you have on the bottom rack of your oven.
- Use a stand mixer to make this vanilla cheesecake. Do not use a hand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, then rather mix the batter by hand. Place the room temperature cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium low speed till smooth.
- Add in the sugar and salt. Beat on medium-low speed for 30 seconds. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and beat again on medium-low speed till sugar is dissolved (30 seconds).
- Scrape down the paddle, sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat again on medium-low speed till smooth (30 seconds).
- From here on out ONLY mix on the lowest and slowest turtle speed possible. If your mixer doesn’t have the option to go very slow, then do the rest by hand.
- Crack all the eggs in a separate bowl. Stir lightly with a fork till the yolks are broken.
- Pour more or less 1 egg at a time into the cream cheese mixture with the mixer going on its slowest speed, or stir by hand. It is crucial to not whip in any air.
- Add the remaining egg in in 3 sessions. Don’t watch it the whole time, you will be SO tempted to increase the speed. It is a great opportunity to spend some time on pinterest or learn a language on the Duo Lingo App (I’ve become 7% more fluent in French, just from cheesecake mixing time! Haha!).
- Before mixing in the last egg, scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl thoroughly and mix again on lowest speed.
- At this point, start boiling a full kettle of water on the side.
- Stir the sour cream, water and vanilla into the cheesecake batter by hand because the mixer takes forever to incorporate the liquid.
- Pour the vanilla cheesecake batter into the semi-baked pastry.
- Place the cheesecake in the center of your oven. Fill the empty roasting tray with just boiled water. Bake for 1 hour.
- Turn the cheesecake 180 degrees around. Bake for another 35 minutes. Switch off the oven with the cheesecake still inside and the door still closed.
- After 5 minutes, leave the oven door ajar. Leave the cheesecake inside the switched off oven for 1h30.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to the fridge and leave to cool overnight.
- Place the berries, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow to cook for 5 - 7 minutes till the sugar is dissolved. Smash some of the berries with a fork during the cooking process.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the corn flour in the water. Add it to the cooking berries while stirring constantly. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes, while stirring, so that the corn flour gets cooked through. The compote should be thickened. Set aside to cool.
- The next morning you can decorate the cheesecake! There may be some condensation on the surface of the cheesecake; dab the surface with some paper towels to absorb the moisture.
- Heat the cream and tsp of sugar in a saucepan to simmering point. Remove it from the heat and pour it over the finely chopped white chocolate. Leave to stand for 2 minutes, stir till smooth. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Once cool, whip till fluffy and white (about 30 seconds).
- Spread the whipped white chocolate ganache in a thin, even layer on top of the vanilla cheesecake. Refrigerate till the ganache is set - about 10 minutes. This ganache layer will prevent the fruit compote from seeping into the cheesecake.
- Top the white chocolate ganache with your cooled berry compote and spread it out evenly.
- Carefully push up the bottom of the tin all around the cheesecake to loosen the sides. Place the cheesecake on top of a mug or sturdy glass, gently pressing down the sides of the tin.
- Lift the bare sided cheesecake back onto your work surface. Slide a large, smooth edged knife under the pastry to loosen the cheesecake from the bottom of the tin. I like to go all around the edges first before attempting to loosen the center-bottom. Push the cheesecake gently, with a cupped hand, onto your cake stand/cake board/serving platter.
- Cut slices with a hot, dry knife. Enjoy!!!
Please let me know how you get on by using #philosophyofyum or even tagging me @philosophyofyum on Instagram because I would love to see your bakes!
In my next post we’ll be making Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake ooooooh yeah…