- 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese*
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 T cornstarch, optional**
- 3 large eggs
- 3 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 1/2 t vanilla
- 1/4 t salt
- 3 cups sour cream
*Don’t be tempted to use the more expensive “natural” cream cheese. Philadelphia brand, available even in Japan, offers the best and most consistent flavor for this cake.
**If cornstarch is omitted, a small amount of liquid will seep out after unmolding. If the cake has a sponge base, this is no problem. Otherwise, liquid can be absorbed with a paper towel. I prefer not using the cornstarch as the cake is a shade more creamy. Also, it makes it suitable to serve as a Passover dessert.
Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use 1 8-inch by 2 1/2-inch or higher springform pan, greased and bottom lined with greased parchment or wax paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with a double layer of heavy-duty foil to prevent seepage.
In a large mixing bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar until very smooth (about 3 minutes), preferably with a whisk beater. Beat in the cornstarch if desired. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until smooth and scraping down the sides. Add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated. Beat in the sour cream just until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cake cool for 1 hour. Remove to rack and cool to room temperature (about 1 hour). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To Unmold: Have ready a serving plate and a flat plate at least 8 inches in diameter, covered with plastic wrap. Place pan on heated burner and move it around for 15 seconds. Wipe sides of pan with a hot, damp towel. Run a thin metal spatula around the sides of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Place the plastic-wrapped plate on top in invert. Remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment. Reinvert onto the serving plate and use a small metal spatula to smooth the sides. Refrigerate until shortly before serving.
Notes: An 8-inch by 3-inch solid cake pan can be used instead of a springform. To unmold the cake, run a thin spatula around the sides, place the pan on heated burner for 10-20 seconds, moving the pan back and forth, and then invert. If the cake does not release, return to the hot burner for a few more seconds.
For a richer, denser cheesecake that completely holds its moisture without cornstarch, replace the 3 whole eggs with 6 egg yolks.
Cookie Crumb Crust: Chocolate cookies blend well with cherry topping. Ginger, graham, and lemon-nut cookies go well with fruit-flavored fillings or toppings. As crumb crusts become soggy if placed in the pan before baking, I prefer to pat the crumbs onto the cake after baking and unmolding. You will need about 3/4 cup if you wish to do the bottom as well as the sides. If the cake is not too heavy, support it on the palm of your hand. Tilt the cake a bit toward the other hand, cupped to hold the crumbs, and press the crumbs gently into the sides. Alternately, if the cake is too heavy, place it on a large sheet of foil and use a wide, flat spatula to lift the crumbs onto the sides of the cake.
From The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Gray: This is an excellent cookbook and a great recipe. I found it ironic that I got to pick something out of The Cake Bible, since Katie is the one who loves to bake and bought this cookbook. All of the recipes are well detailed and point out the pitfalls and give the tips to ensure success. The result is a delicious and beautiful cheesecake.
Katie: Well, this was awesome! What a great cheesecake recipe! We found that you really should listen to her and not put the cookie crumb crust on the bottom. It becomes VERY soggy. Also, we did include the corn starch, and ours still had a fair amount of liquid seepage or something that made liquid come out. Even with the soggy crust, it was SO delicious! The texture is to die for and the taste has just the right tang to it.