Cakes/ Cheesecakes/ Classic Desserts/ Dessert

Simple Classic Cheesecake

April 1, 2015

Rich, creamy, and satiny, this is my go-to recipe for a simple and classic cheesecake.

Simple and classic cheesecake |

I’m back from Spain – well, at least physically. Mentally, I’m still walking through the narrow picturesque passageways of Seville, sharing a huge paella with hubby, and doing some shopping. And by some, I mean a lot. See why it’s so hard to come back to reality?

Simple and classic cheesecake |

Althoug I travel quite a bit, I usually don’t spend a lot of time in a single city. There’s always so much to see that it’s hard to just sit and relax. That’s why I was so excited about this particular trip; I knew I’d have plenty of time to explore both Madrid and Seville. The whole idea was meeting with my brother for his spring break and just chilling. So while the first 2 days our itinerary were full of touristy stuff, it was only after I “saw everything” that I really got to know the cities’ hidden gems and completely fell in love with them.

Still, I have to admit, getting back to reality isn’t so bad, especially since the only thing I really needed to do today was make this cheesecake, share with you how amazing it is, and then eat all of it by myself. Well, almost all of it. I did save a piece for Erez.

Simple and classic cheesecake |

This creamy cheesecake is made of very basic ingredients. After all, sometimes simple is best. It may sound cliché, but in this case it’s true. Heavy cream adds richness and makes for a delightful creamy texture. Although optional, I like to top the cake with a tangy sour cream topping that compliments the sweet cake wonderfully. I also like to bake the cheesecake in a water bath, which gives it an exceptional texture, but if you really want to skip that part, I’ve included instructions on how to bake the cake without it.

Simple and classic cheesecake |

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a water bath, don’t worry. While making this cake, I recalled that it took me a while to learn how to make a truly perfect cheesecake, so I’ll soon prepare for you a full guide on everything you need to know.

Simple and classic cheesecake |
Simple Classic Cheesecake
YIELD: 9 -inch cake

  • 150 g (about 1.5 cups) vanilla wafer crumbs (pulse in a food processor or blender until finely ground, then measure)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick/55g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 pounds (900 g) full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs , room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Grated lemon zest from 1 lemon , optional
Topping (optional):
  • 1 cup (240ml) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (30g/1 oz.) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir crumbs and melted butter together until combined and moistened. Put mixture in a 9-inch springform pan and press with your fingers (or use the bottom of a glass) to form an even layer of crumbs. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
  3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and lump-free, about 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and beat until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Add cream, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and beat just until combined and smooth. Pour batter over cooled crust and spread evenly.
  4. If baking in a water bath: After baking the crust, reduce oven temperature to 325°F/160°C. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with one large piece of foil, then repeat with another piece. This will ensure that water from the bath doesn’t seep into the cake. Place the pan inside a large roasting pan, then pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides. Place gently in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until the sides are set but the center is still slightly wobbly.
  5. If not baking in a water bath: After baking the crust, increase oven to 425°F/220°C. Bake cake for 10 minutes, then lower temperature to 225°F/110°C and continue baking for about an hour, or until the sides are set but the center is still slightly wobbly.
  6. Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then prepare the topping by whisking together sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth, and pour it over the warm cake. Let cool completely to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably more, until completely set.
  7. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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  • Reply
    April 2, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    שמחה לשמוע שנהנית בחו”ל, וברור שעשית הרבה קניות 🙂 זה חלק מהכייף שלנו בחו”ל
    העוגה שלך נהדרת ועשירה והצילומים מדהימים
    היא נהדרת לחג השבועות שמתקרב……
    בנתיים אני מאחלת לך ולכל משפחתך פסח נהדר 🙂

    • Reply
      April 4, 2015 at 9:12 am

      Thank you so much Winnie! Happy Passover! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 2, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    This cheesecake looks absolutely delicious

    • Reply
      April 4, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Thank you Chichi!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    gorgeous photos!!

    • Reply
      April 4, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Thank you Mariana!

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    April 2, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Such a perfect cheesecake!

    • Reply
      April 4, 2015 at 9:13 am

      Thank you Thalia!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Even if your mind is still in Spain, your hands managed to make a wonderful cake. I really adore your recipe for being quite classic in the best way I could possibly mean! Your photos are very lovely as well!

    • Reply
      April 4, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Classic recipes are my favorite, and I always try many recipes to find the best ones! I also like simplicity 🙂 Thank you so much for the lovely words!

  • Reply
    Alexandra @ Confessions of a Bright-Eyed Baker
    April 3, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Words can’t even explain how gorgeous this cheesecake looks. Beautiful presentation!!

    • Reply
      April 4, 2015 at 9:03 am

      Thank you so much Alexandra!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    all I can say is YUM!!!!!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Beautiful cake! Just a question about the not baked in water bath part, 10mins at 230C and then an hr at 110C, is this with the crust already at the bottom? Meaning that the crust also gets baked again with the cream cheese part?

    • Reply
      March 27, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Hi Liz, you need to bake the crust at 350F for about 8 minutes and then let it cool completely. While it’s cooling, increase the oven temperature to 230C. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust and bake as instructed. Follow the recipe as is, and skip step 4.

  • Reply
    September 14, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Made this cheesecake today. Found it easy and relatively quick. It turned out lovely and delicious. I will make this again for sure.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2018 at 11:52 am

    I read somewhere that you could put V a pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven instead of a water bath.
    Can this method work?

    • Reply
      October 25, 2018 at 5:29 am

      Hi Syntra, it is possible, but if you just use a pan of water at the bottom of the oven, you get half the benefits of the water. You can bake a cheesecake without any water at all, but you’ll get better results with water than without, and you will get better results if you use a water bath. It’s up to you. The texture will be better and less dry when using a water bath.

  • Reply
    Teresa Mix
    January 26, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    Hello, thank you for your time and have work to test for us.
    My question is probably silly but, when do you remove from pan? I have never used a spring form pan and I am very excited to try your New York Cheesecake.
    Thank you. I promise I’m not usually so ignorant

    • Reply
      February 6, 2019 at 5:33 am

      It’s not silly at all 🙂 You remove it once the cake is completely set, after refrigeration.

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