Who can possibly resist a luscious slice of cheesecake? This tall, crack-free, New York-style cheesecake is ultra rich and creamy! It’s sure to be a showstopper at any party or get-together.
I’ve made lots of cheesecakes, but, there is nothing quite like New York-style cheesecake!
It’s dense, with a silky smooth, velvety texture – the way cheesecake is meant to be!
What is New York-style cheesecake?
What sets New York-style cheesecake apart from the rest is that it is baked, resulting in a distinctive firm and mouthwatering creamy filling.
If you’ve never made New York-style cheesecake before, you have to give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!
There are two ways to bake a New York-style cheesecake: with or without a water bath.
What is a water bath?
When baking cheesecakes, a water bath refers to baking it in a pan which is put inside a larger pan that is filled with hot water. So the cheesecake is surrounded by the hot water as it bakes.
To water bath or not to water bath?
I have tried both ways and I discovered huge differences in the way the cheesecake turned out.
When I baked the cheesecake by itself without a water bath, I noticed that the crust always ended up really hard, which I hate! I like a softer crust that I can easily cut through with my fork. Although the cheesecake still tasted great, I was always disappointed with my crust.
I finally found the solution – using a water bath! OMG! It made such a huge difference! Not only was the crust perfect, but the texture of the cheesecake was much better, too! I will never go back to baking a cheesecake without a water bath ever again!
So, even though you can make New York-style cheesecake without a water bath, I personally believe that a water bath results in a perfect, professional-looking cheesecake. If you’ve never tried the water bath method, don’t be intimidated! It is really simple! I’ll show you exactly how to do it!
The benefits of using a water bath
The hot water surrounding the pan gently bakes the cheesecake by creating a moist environment in the oven. This is crucial so the cheesecake doesn’t dry out and become rubbery. Yuck!
Another reason why I love this method is because it prevents the cheesecake from cracking and sinking.
So, let’s say you want to serve the cheesecake without any toppings. If it’s full of cracks or the center has sunk, it won’t look very impressive! Take a look at the picture below. Not a single crack!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE NEW YORK-STYLE CHEESECAKE
Cookie crumbs: I always use Digestive biscuits because graham cracker crumbs are not that easy to find in Europe. Of course, you could use graham cracker crumbs, instead.
Butter: I use unsalted butter.
Spices: I use a combination of cinnamon and ground nutmeg in the crust, but this is totally optional.
Cream Cheese: I use full-fat cream cheese. Low-fat will not offer the same results!
Sugar: I use regular, granulated sugar.
Flour: I use all-purpose flour.
Eggs: I use organic eggs.
Salt: Just a pinch for flavor.
Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract.
Juice: I use some lemon juice.
Greek yogurt: I always use full-fat Greek yogurt. As with the cream cheese, low-fat yogurt will not offer the same results!
I have made this cheesecake before with sour cream and it was delicious, but I found that Greek yogurt adds an incredible light tanginess that balances out the overall sweetness. Delicious!
HOW TO MAKE NEW YORK-STYLE CHEESECAKE
This cheesecake is not a quick recipe, it’s more of a make-ahead dessert because it needs to be refrigerated overnight before serving.
For this recipe, you’ll need a nine or ten inch (26 cm) springform pan. A springform pan has a removable bottom, which makes it easier to remove the cheesecake without it falling apart.
Butter the pan and line the bottom and the sides with parchment paper.
Then, make the crust.
Then make the filling and prepare the water bath.
Then bake. Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool inside with door slightly ajar for one hour. I like to use the handle of a wooden spoon to keep the oven door open. Then take it out of the oven and let it cool completely at room temperature for 2-3 more hours.
Then refrigerate overnight before serving.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- Use 2-3 layers of aluminum foil (preferably heavy duty) around the pan to keep it from taking in any water while baking.
- Make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you begin. That way, you avoid overmixing the filling.
- Don’t overmix the filling because it creates a lot of air, which could cause the cheesecake to puff up and collapse while baking, almost like a soufflé.
- Don’t use cold water for your water bath – always use boiling-hot water.
- Before pouring the filling over the crust, gently tap the bowl on the counter to knock out any air bubbles.
- DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO OPEN THE OVEN DOOR WHILE BAKING! That would affect the temperature inside the oven which would cause the cheesecake to bake unevenly.
- Let the cheesecake cool down gradually, not too fast. This will prevent cracks.
- When the cheesecake has completely cooled, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If you seal it tightly with plastic wrap any condensation that forms in the fridge might drip onto your cheesecake and make it soggy!
- As difficult as it to wait, always chill the cheesecake overnight before serving! It tastes so much better after being in the fridge overnight!
- To slice, dip a straight edge knife into a glass of hot water and wipe it dry before each cut. This will give you perfect slices every time!
CHEESECAKE TOPPING IDEAS EVERYONE WILL LOVE!
Feel free to top your cheesecake with whatever you like! Here are a few ideas I’ve tried:
- Strawberry sauce or jam. This is an all-time classic cheesecake topping! My strawberry jam recipe is what I used in the picture below. It’s not too thick, but it’s not runny, either. ABSOLUTELY DIVINE WITH THIS CHEESECAKE!
- Whipped cream with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. This delicious combination is really light and airy!
- Chocolate sauce or syrup. You can never go wrong with chocolate! My easy homemade chocolate syrup recipe is AMAZING and it pairs so well with cheesecake!
- Caramel sauce.
- Fresh fruit.
Are you drooling yet???!!???
I really hope you enjoy this Creamy New York-style Cheesecake!
Let me know how this Creamy New York-style Cheesecake turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!
CREAMY NEW YORK-STYLE CHEESECAKE
- a nine or ten inch (26 cm) springform pan
For the crust
- 400 g (14.1 oz) crushed Digestive biscuits or about 4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- a pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
- a pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
For the filling
- 1 ½ cups (300 g / 10.6 oz) sugar
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 kilo (2.2 pounds / 36 oz) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 container (200 g / 7 oz) full-fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, at room temperature
Preheat the oven
- Start of by preheating the oven to 350°F/ 180°C.
Prep the pan
- Butter the pan and line the bottom and the sides with parchment paper. Set aside.
Make the crust
- Mix the cookie crumbs, spices, and melted butter together. You can do this in the food processor or in a bowl using a spoon.
- Spoon the crumb mixture into the prepared springform pan.
- Starting in the center, use a straight-sided glass to gently press the crumb mixture over the base and up the sides of the pan.
- Use the glass to even out the thickness and edges of the crust. Set the pan aside.
Make the filling
- In a small bowl, mix the flour and the sugar together. Set aside.
- In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Set aside.
- Beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth. Scrape the bowl often.
- Add the salt, the flour mixture, the vanilla, the yogurt, and the lemon juice. Beat on low speed until well combined. Do not overmix.
- Gently tap the bowl over the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. If you still see a few air bubbles, pop them with a toothpick.
- Pour the filling over the prepared crust.
- Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon.
- Place the pan into a larger pan, like a roasting pan.
- Pour boiling-hot water in the larger pan, about 2 inches (5 cm) deep, or until it reaches halfway up the springform pan.
- Place the pan in the lower or middle rack of the oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 325 °F / 160°C and bake for another 45 minutes.
- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR AT ALL.
- Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool inside with door slightly ajar for one hour. I like to use the handle of a wooden spoon to keep the oven door open.
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool completely at room temperature for 2-3 more hours.
- Cover it loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before serving.
Transfer the cheesecake to a plate or serving platter
- Gently release the ring and remove the parchment paper from the sides and the bottom. It should be easy to lift the entire cheesecake off the bottom parchment paper.
- Transfer the cheesecake to a plate or serving platter.
- To slice, dip a straight edge knife into a glass of hot water and wipe it dry before each cut.
- Enjoy as is or with your favorite toppings!
- Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.