Best Ever Sour Cream Cheesecake

Best Ever Sour Cream Cheesecake

3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4-cup sugar
1/2 cup butter-melted
Note-I used 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs and added the butter a little at a time until I felt the crust was right. I don’t like a really thick crust.

1-cup sour cream
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

Place a baking pan of water on the oven rack right below the rack that the cheesecake will be on. Preheat oven to 300º

Make crust: In medium bowl, with hands or back of spoon, mix graham cracker crumbs with sugar and melted butter until they are well combined. Press mixture on bottom and sides of 9-inch spring form pan, to form a rim all around. Refrigerate until needed.

Make filling and pour into crust-lined pan.

Bake at 300º for 1-1/2 hours.

Allow to cool to room temperature then refrigerate overnight.

This sounds really good, and I love cheesecake!

This looks so good, also seems really simple to make which is always a bonus! good stuff

It is…Me too!!!

It is simple…

It’s not in the instructions but the secret to making a cheesecake that doesn’t crack is putting a parchment paper collar around the pan. A cheesecake will expand as it cooks and then contract as it cools…if it has a collar around it then it is free to move without putting any stress on the cake. If there is no collar the cheesecake will stick to the sides of the pan and it’s going to have to give somewhere so since it’s stuck to the sides it gives in the middle forming a crack. Here is a picture of one of my cheesecakes that I haven’t taken out of the pan yet.

Use Comstock Cherry or Blueberry pie filling as a topping, or make your own with fresh fruit and thicken the juice with cornstarch and a bit of sugar and cinnamon. MAkes a great topping for Cheese Cake and Ice Cream Or buy left over, cheap jars of MIncemeat after Christmas and top the cheese cake with that

To Betty’s comment about using a parchment collar around your springform pan . . . great idea and can’t hurt for the final release of the springform ring, but I don’t think it’s why your cheesecakes aren’t cracking. That would be all about temperature, moisture in your oven and not cooking it past being completely set in the middle. The fact that you’re baking your cheesecakes @ 300 degrees F, I think your keeping the humidity up in your oven without evaporating the moisture from your oven, and that’s probably what’s keeping them from cracking . . . and a good nonstick springform pan, with a thin coating of butter (or not) on the side ring, would save you money on expensive parchment paper . . . DG

Dessert Guy…

On this, we will just have to agree to disagree. Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts ever. They are cheap to make but oh so expensive to buy… so I was determined to learn to make my own. I tried every trick I ever read trying to get a “perfect” not cracked cheesecake until I watched an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown. I followed his advice with the parchment paper and it worked like a charm. I haven’t had a cheesecake crack on me since I started using the collar.

As for the expense of parchment paper…I buy mine at Walmart when I get groceries…it’s less than $4.00 for a 33 foot roll, that’s less that $0.12 a foot. Do I absolutely have to have it? No. But I like it and it makes my life a little bit easier so why not? If I was pinching pennies that hard then I probably couldn’t really afford to eat cheesecake.

Hi Betty K. . . .
My point was that it’s probably not the parchment paper that’s keeping your cheesecake from cracking . . . it’s most likely the temperature. A custard, like a cheescake, always benefits from a lower cooking temperature (which is why some people use a water bath to moderate the temp . . . when the outside of the custard sets before the center, which will happen at a higher heat, you get a pulling away motion). But it sounds like your technique is working for you. And, if you like cheesecake, this is a cheesecake that I posted on this site that I’ve probably sold more than a thousand of over the years. But don’t be tempted to bake it at 300 degrees (bake at 350) or the almond side crust won’t carmelize properly. And if you’re going to go with the parchment paper collar, you might want to LIGHTLY coat the sides of your springform pan with softened butter to keep the paper “secured” while you recoat the paper on the inside with the other softened butter from the recipe that keeps the almonds attached to the sides before you add the cheesecake batter. And don’t freak out if the center cracks because you’re covering the top with whipped cream. Also, make sure to bake it on a sheetpan. It’s a winner if you like cheesecake . . . and happy baking, DG

Black Forest Cheesecake

2 Cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (I use Oreo cookie crumbs)
1/3 Cup butter, melted (no subtitutes)
1 Tablespoon butter (no substitutes)
1/4 Cup sliced almonds, (crushed to approx. 1/8" pieces)
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3/4 Cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon real Vanilla extract
1/2 Teaspoon real almond extract
24 ounces sour cream
3 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Kirsch (Cherry Liqueur)
7/8 Cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped (if you like them LESS coarse, freeze them and, when completely frozen, pulse them in a food processor until you reach desired consistency . . . but remember that the longer you pulse, the more chance you’ll turn them into a gummy ball)
1 C. whipping cream
Semi-sweet chocolate curls

For crust, in a medium mixing bowl combine cookie crumbs and 1/3 cup melted butter making sure they are thoroughly combined. Generously grease sides of 9" springform pan. Carfully press cookie crumb mixture in bottom of pan pressing with a flat-bottomed measuring cup. (Keep the crumbs from coming up the sides of the pan.) Make sure it is completely pressed into bottom of pan. Holding pan at an angle, pour almonds into side of pan. Roll pan around to let almonds coat sides of pan, and let excess pour out. (Warning: If you turn pan to too high an angle, you risk crust falling out.)

For filling, in a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, and almond extract with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until combined. Add sour cream, eggs, and Kirsch. Beat on low speed just until combined. Pour half of the filling into the crust-lined springform pan. Sprinkle chopped dried cherries evenly over the filling. Carefully pour remaining half of filling over dried cherries. Place the springform pan in a shallow baking pan on center oven rack. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 55 minutes or until center appears set when shaken (edge should just start getting lightly browned). Remove springform pan from baking pan. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a small metal spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen crust (try not to damage almond crust). Cool 30 minutes more. Remove sides of springform pan. Cool for 1 hour, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours (overnight is better and a couple days is even better). Before serving whip cream to soft peaks and spread to within 3/4" of the edge of cheesecake keeping it thicker in the center . . . domelike). Sprinkle chilled chocolate curls on top.

Makes 12-16 servings

Hi Dessert Guy…

Yeah, I got your point and I’m sure that all the stuff with the temps and so on helps but I disagree about the collar. Try it sometime…I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

As you make more cheesecakes, you’ll get a better understanding of how temperature/humidity affect them . . . DG

OK…15? Do you own a bakery? I will admit that I have not made thousands of cheesecakes…probably not even hundreds and my non-stick springform pan doesn’t work anywhere near as well as the parchment paper does so yours must be a much better quality pan than mine is. In fact I don’t even use the springform pan any more. I just use a 9x4-inch cake pan and the parchment. It seems to work much better than my springform.

As for the novice part, compared to your thousands of cheesecakes, yes I’m a novice…but like I said before I got this parchment thing from an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown. You can call the man many things but I don’t think novice is one of them.

. . .

I will admit to being a bit puzzled as to why you seemed so passionate against the use of parchment paper on a cheesecake. If you think about it…it’s just simple physics. Thermal expansion leads to expansion of length, area, and volume of the cheesecake. Without the parchment paper the cheesecake bonds to the walls of the pan. As the cake cools and contracts the bonding strength of the cake to the pan is greater than the tensile strength of the cheesecake and something is going to give, so you end up with a crack in your cake. If you by chance have a pan that releases cleanly and reliably every time then you don’t need the paper…but I don’t have a pan like that…so a little parchment paper will cover a multitude of sins. It took me watching that episode of Good Eats for the bells to go of in my head and let me see what was happening. I felt kind of silly that it never occurred to me that I was getting cracks in my cheesecake because it sticking to the sides of the pan.

And thanks for the offer of the recipes. I can’t think of anything I need right now but I’ll keep that in mind.

Betty . . .
When you say “you seemed so passionate against the use of parchment paper on a cheesecake. If you think about it…it’s just simple physics. Thermal expansion leads to expansion of length, area, and volume of the cheesecake.” I’m not against using the parchment collar, but it’s only for a clean edge. What I don’t think you’re understanding is that the springform pan is just a constraint for the batter which will only expand upwards, since the batter is already at the ring (so there’s no side-to-side expansion). A cheesecake cooks more quickly at the edge (moistened baking pan straps, like Wilton’s, can minimize this), especially at higher temperatures and especially in darker-colored pans. That’s why cooking your cheesecake at 300 degrees and probably not in a dark-colored pan is keeping your cheesecake from cracking. Humidity also evens out the cooking process. If what you’re proposing is true, then your cheesecake would shrink in from your crust, because you’re crust would remain stable, or you would end up with angled-in sides on your cheesecake. So we’re just back to “agreeing to disagree”, but at least we’ve given others, that are thinking of making cheesecake, some things to contemplate . . . happy baking, DG


The cheesecake as it starts to bake is a liquid. A liquid will always take the shape of the container it is in. As it bakes it will expand…the laws of physics say that as a given material expands it changes in area and volume but since it is liquid and still in the same container this will translate into an upward lift.

The cheesecake at the edges is loosing moisture at a much faster rate than the cheesecake in the center because it is being exposed to more heat. So the cheesecake on the edges of the pan will change from a liquid state to a plastic state much quicker than the center.

At the same time the edges are bonding with the pan and they are boning with the pan in this expanded state in which they will remain as the cheesecake cools and contracts, putting stress on the center of the cheesecake. BUT if you have parchment paper around the outside of the cheesecake this will allow all of the cheesecake to move in the same direction at the same time so there is no stress placed on the cake.

Now…If by chance you happen to be an expert at making cheesecake and you know exactly how to bake a cheesecake perfectly to get a perfect cheesecake every time then all of this will mean nothing to you. BUT…most of us are not experts at baking cheesecake and it’s usually a hit and miss process for us. SO…using a parchment paper collar on your pan can make up for a lot of wrong techniques by the every day home bakers…giving us a perfect cheesecake when we didn’t do everything right.

Betty . . .
Let me guess . . . debate team? Maybe a Taurus? You just reiterated all my points and then added that the parchment collar is what’s keeping the cheesecake from cracking. Next time you make this do everything the same (including the parchment collar) only bake it at 350 degrees instead of 300 degrees, and I’ll bet it cracks (you won’t be wasting ingredients because the flavor will be the same regardless). And unless you’re entering it in a contest for whole plain cheesecakes, when you top it and slice it (or slice it and top it), the crack will become a moot issue. Interesting debate though . . . DG

One of my sons is a metallurgist… it’s really strange how much you pick up being around people who can’t seem to talk about anything but work because that seems to be all they ever think about.
And oddly enough I am a Taurus but I fail to see what that has to do with anything.

You would loose that bet about the cheesecake…

Last Thanksgiving one of my daughters came home a couple of days early to help me get ready for the big day; I was baking my desserts the day before to get that out of the way. I had a pecan pie, pumpkin pie and a cheesecake sitting out on the counter ready to go in the oven. I was planning to bake the pecan and pumpkin pies first then take them out of the oven…lower the temp and put the cheesecake in. The oven was set at 375 degrees for the two pies. I needed to run to the store so I asked my daughter to put the pies in the oven for me and set the timer for 45 minutes.

I got home from the store and she had baked both pies and the cheesecake all together at the same temperature. The cheesecake was browned on top but thanks to the parchment paper…no cracks. I have the feeling that you are still failing to see the correlation between the parchment collar and the free movement of the cheesecake protecting it from cracks. I’m sure if you way, way over baked a cheesecake that even the parchment paper couldn’t save it, but that parchment paper will save a cheesecake from cracking even when you bake it at too high a temp with no water bath as long as you don’t over bake it.