This classic baked cheesecake is super simple to make and makes a cheesecake that is smooth and creamy with a hint of lemon. Serve it plain or with fruits on side.
Cheesecake is one of my favourite desserts to eat, but a recipe that I hesitated to try because it seemed so daunting. But after attempting it for the first time, I realised that it’s actually not hard. It just requires preparation and planning ahead. Read on ahead for my classic baked cheesecake recipe along with tips to help you with the baking.
What are the different types of cheesecake?
There are two main types of cheesecakes: baked or unbaked. Baked cheesecakes are usually made with eggs, and are baked at a low heat to ensure they set properly. Their texture is dense and smooth. On the contrary, unbaked cheesecakes are lighter (think mousse style) and utilise gelatin to help them set. The recipe that I am sharing is for a classic baked cheesecake. It’s rich & creamy with a tangy flavour that is enhanced with the use of sour cream and lemon zest!
What special equipment do I need for this classic baked cheesecake recipe?
- Spring form pan – this is an absolute essential for a baked cheesecake so that you can easily remove the cheesecake after it’s ready. In case you don’t have a spring form pan, you can use a glass dish or cake pan, but it will be difficult to take out the cheesecake.
- A deep baking dish or roasting pan – you need this for the water bath, and it needs to be large enough to fit the spring form pan comfortably.
Tips for making a baked cheesecake
Advance Prep: The actual process of making the cheesecake is quite quick, but from start to finish the process is long. For instance, the ingredients need to be taken out early so they can soften to room temperature, and then there is the cooking time (easily an hour) along with the cooling time.
Have all ingredients at room temperature: make sure the cream cheese and the eggs are at room temperature to ensure your cheesecake filling is smooth and creamy.
Don't over mix: Keep a light hand as over mixing can lead to a grainy texture and cause the cheesecake to separate.
Prep your springform pan: Occasionally, spring form pans can leak as the cheesecake cooks; and that’s a major problem if you are using a water bath. Cover the springform pan with foil from the bottom to catch any possible spill.
How to stop it cracking: To keep your cheesecake from cracking, make sure it isn’t exposed to extreme temperature changes. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for at least an hour before removing it. Once it's out of the oven run a knife around the edges of the cake and the pan to allow it to shrink a little without puling along the sides. Once it's completely cool, unclip the tin and carefully remove the cheesecake to a serving plate. Don’t worry if the cheesecake does crack – it will still taste delicious! Or just cover it with fruits, sprinkle it with icing sugar, or add a drizzle of caramel sauce on top. Maybe some edible flowers!
If you are looking for other dessert recipes, do try out the following:
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Classic Baked Cheesecake Recipe
Ingredients for Crust:
- 250 grams digestive biscuits graham crackers or other tea biscuits can be used
- 100 grams butter softened
Ingredients for Filling:
- 500 grams cream cheese block cream cheese – NOT spreadable cream cheese
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ tablespoon vanilla essence
- 2 tablespoon flour
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160 C/320 F (fan/convection). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
Break the digestive biscuits into half and put them into a food processor. Pulse till crumbs are formed, and then add the softened butter. Pulse again till combined. The mixture will look like wet sand.
Grease the bottom of the springform pan with butter or oil. Press the crushed biscuits onto bottom and edges of springform pan. Use the back of a spoon or the side of a glass to press the biscuit in. Bake the biscuit crust for 5 minutes, and then let it cool.
Place cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric whisk or stand mixer to mix both together till smooth and creamy. Add milk, and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking just enough to incorporate. The mixture should be creamy and lump free at this point.
Add the sour cream, vanilla essence, flour and lemon zest. Fold through with a rubber spatula. Don’t over mix as it can result in air bubbles.
At this point, cover the bottom of the spring form tin with aluminium foil. Put two layers of aluminium foil around the bottom springform pan in order to ensure there is no leakage.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the cooled springform tin.
Place the spring form tin in a roasting / baking tray. The roasting tray / baking tray should be able to fit the spring form tin.
At this point you need to add hot water from the side till it reaches halfway up the sides.
My methodology is to put the roasting tray in the oven, and then add the hot water in the tray from the sides using a kettle or saucepan. I find that the safest method as I don’t have to carry a tray with hot water from the counter to the oven.
Bake the cheesecake for about 45 minutes – 50 minutes till it is ready. The top will be very light golden brown, and almost fact. It should also jiggle slightly when gently shake the pan.
Once the cheesecake is ready, turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for about 1 – 1.5 hours.
Take out the cheesecake from the oven, and let it cool till room temperature after which you can put it to chill in the fridge for 4 – 6 hours or overnight.
Serve chilled with berries or a sauce on the side.
Biscuits: Any plain tea biscuits can be used such as Marie or Digestives. In the US, graham crackers can be used. The crumb should press to the bottom of the sides of the pan easily. If it's too wet add another biscuit, and if it's too dry add more butter.
Cream Cheese: Make sure to use plain cream cheese (the one that comes in blocks or squares) not the processed cream cheese spread.