Easiest Cheesecake Ever

, Easiest Cheesecake Ever

Everyone needs to have a fast, quick cheesecake recipe at their fingertips, and this “Easiest Cheesecake Ever” formula puts that in your repertoire.

When I was right out of college and working in marketing, some friends needed a hand in the mornings, and I found myself working for a local bakery. I was glad to help out, and even happier to learn some cake decorating techniques, some advanced baking, and some volume baking that went nicely with working in the galley on a windjammer in Maine, cooking and baking for 12-40 people from a tiny galley stove.

, Easiest Cheesecake Ever

Anyway, the owner of the bakery was a retired Navy baker. He had baked on a ship, and his forearms were enormous, and filled with those inky blue tattoos of sailing ships and fouled anchors and sea serpents. He also was diabetic, and he had a habit of hiding the day’s take in various places in the bakery – the flour bin one afternoon, the sugar bin another – until time for the next day’s deposit. You never knew when you would open the freezer and find a couple thousand dollars! There are plenty of stories there.

So, as a former baker on board a ship, he did not mollycoddle and discuss his RECIPES. Oh, no, he explained – baking is SCIENCE, and science required FORMULAS.

My mother does a lot of baking, a very, very lot, and I knew this from her as well. Baking is a science, and the measurements must be exact, unlike cooking.

, Easiest Cheesecake Ever

Well, this recipe makes all those exact scientific measurements easy. I played around with several cheesecake recipes before it evolved into my favorite type – a bit sweet, a bit tangy, and I prefer a taller cheesecake to those thin types, and, I really prefer a dryer, more substantial, dense cheesecake over the fluffy type. Here goes:

, Easiest Cheesecake Ever

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit while you are assembling. I tend to line up all my ingredients in order of use so I don’t forget anything. I can be distracted, come back, and see exactly where I left off in the process. Here, I am working on two cheesecakes, and don’t want to forget any ingredients!

Crust:

One packet of graham crackers – one of those rectangular packets

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup melted butter

Crush the graham crackers, and combine these three ingredients. To crush the graham crackers, I break them up as much as possible while they are still in the packet, then it breaks, and into a large mixing bowl they go. I use either a very heavy potato masher, or my conch/meat mallet, or the bottom of a sturdy water glass or any glass bottle that is handy to break up the crackers. Some people prefer them pulverized, others prefer larger chunks. That’s up to you.

To spread the crust in the springform pan; a stiff rubber spatula works great to press down and level out the crust mixture.

Cake:

3 packs cream cheese (room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Finally, after a 30-year wait, I have a decent stand mixer, and creaming cream cheese is a breeze. I have ruined two electric hand mixers, fared tolerably well using an immersion blender, and even used a potato masher and stiff whisk to put this cake together. Adapt, improvise, overcome! I’m using two Pampered Chef pans here. Their cookware is always reasonably priced for the good quality they offer.

First I cream the cheese, then add the sugar and cream those two together. Then I add the sour cream and blend all of that in the mixer. Eggs and butter or cheese don’t mix well initially, so add the eggs one at a time. Then add in the vanilla while still blending.

, Easiest Cheesecake Ever

Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the crust in the springform pan, and place in oven for an hour.

After an hour, check that the middle is firmly wobbly. A bit of “jiggle” is ok. Cool on wire rack an hour or two, run a spatula or knife around the edge of the pan to separate the cake from the pan. I refrigerate and transport cheesecakes right in the springform covered with plastic wrap, then place on an attractive serving dish upon arrival.

Cheesecakes can be topped with anything from very simple cherry or blueberry pie filling out of a – gasp – can, or homemade preserves, or a drizzle of chocolate and a drizzle of homemade caramel and some crushed homemade cookies, or storebought sandwich cookies – whatever you can imagine, you can top your cheesecake with.

For cutting, a very long slim sharp knife wiped between cuts works best.

This recipe yields 16 slices. Enjoy!

, Easiest Cheesecake Ever

 

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