Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The BEST Vanilla Cheesecake

Many years ago now, one Thanksgiving, my dad and I decided to try making cheesecake for the holiday dessert. He was a chef, so that was no biggie for him, but for me it was quite the undertaking. Cheesecake seemed very intimidating, so easy to screw up, and complicated!
With dad's help we found a recipe, tweaked it a bit, and got to work. We had a great time, and the cheesecake was a huge success. It looked beautiful. We ate all of it! We decided it was a spectacular recipe, and I started making it by myself. It got to the point where I was selling custom cheesecakes to friends, and friends of friends for a couple years. It was really fun! It's also still my favorite cheesecake recipe. Because the filling is just vanilla it is perfectly versatile. Any topping is amazing on it, or you could add liqueurs to the filling, drop in berries, or mix chocolate into part of it for a marbled effect.
So here it is. My favorite cheesecake recipe!

Vanilla cheesecake

12 vanilla sandwich cookies (vienna fingers, or twice as many vanilla oreos)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temp
1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
For the crust: Position rack in center of oven and reheat to 350*. Wrap outside of 9 inch spring form pan with foil.
Blend cookies, butter and sugar in processor until crumbs stick together.
Press crumbs on bottom and halfway up sides of prepared pan. Bake crust 10 minutes and set aside. Maintain oven temp.
For filling: Blend cheese, sugar and salt in a food processor until very smooth, stopping often to scrape down sides of work bowl.
Add vanilla and cream and blend again. Add eggs, process 5 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Process just until blended, about 5 seconds more.
Transfer filling to crust. Bake cake until sides puff slightly and center is just set, about 50 minutes. A bit of cracking around the edges is normal, a very slight bit of color is ok. When you give it a small shake it should jiggle a little bit.
Place uncovered hot cheesecake directly into refrigerator and chill thoroughly. It will fall a little bit, which is normal. After about an hour a topping can be added. Chill at least 6 hours or overnight. To remove from pan, run a knife around edges and remove sides of pan. Want perfect slices? Wipe knife clean with a hot wet cloth after EVERY cut!
I had some lemon curd that I had made, so that went on top. The tangy lemon curd was amazing with the creamy vanilla cheesecake.
What else can go on top? Fruit toppings, ganache, caramel, candy bar bits, lime or orange curd, or just have it plain!
Cheesecake is NOT hard! You can make it! It's worth it! The hard part is not eating all of it immediately!
Good luck, and happy eating!


  1. I LOVE vanilla cheesecake and have been looking to bake (horrible at desserts!). I'll have to try this out, sounds delicious!

  2. Hope it works for you! I make this recipe so many times each year. It is amazing. You'll be happy you tried it!

  3. All you readers are in for a treat Rowies Cheesecakes are incredibly delicious, THE BEST, Rowie I am so excited to have this recipe, I going to the store to buy what I need, cheese cake for desert tonight YUMMY!!!
    I wish I could just call and place my order:) I think last time I order two, a pumpkin cheesecake and on that had caramel:) Thank you!!! Looking forward to more great recipes:)

  4. Ahhhh cheesecake! This looks DIVINE!

  5. I'm a little suprised.... greatful of course but suprised. I would have thought the recipe would stay with you forever I love this cheesecake, esp. with lemon curd... have a good recipe for that?

  6. Hello Rowie! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. This is actually a cool Vanilla Cheesecake recipe. Keep it up and I may see you on Food Network one day. By the way you can place more Foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other Foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!

  7. Jazzmonke- I will post a recipe for lemon curd...you'll just have to keep reading! I was a bit surprised myself, but recipes turn out a bit differently for everyone, so it'll still be my specialty! Just thought I'd share the love! Now California can still have Rowie's cheesecake, even if I'm not there!

    Christine- Thanks for the heads up on the Foodista widgets, I'm terrible with all that technical stuff! So glad you found the blog, and like the cheesecake!!! I'd love to hear from you again!

  8. I LOVE Oreos, what a great idea to use vanilla oreos for the crust. Thanks so much for the fantastic recipe. I can't wait to try it!

  9. WOW! Looks so delish!

  10. lovely!!! i'm a fan of cheesecake myself especially with lemons or limes in it :) can't wait to check out how you made the lemon curd!

  11. I'll post the lemon curd recipe soon! Glad everyone likes this! Hope you all try it out, you won't regret it! Oh, and the vanilla sandwich cookies REALLY make a difference in the crust! So much more flavor!

  12. look so creamy and yummy. my husband loves a good cheesecake. i will be trying this one out for the holidays! thanks (AND FEEL BETTER).