The Best Basic Cheesecake An unbeatable recipe and way easier to make than you think it is going to be.

The best cheesecake. Liturgy of Life.


My husband does not like sweets. My cookies don’t even get a second look (and so of course I end up eating them all myself).  But this year for his birthday he once again requested this cheesecake.  I promise you that if you are looking for a basic cheesecake recipe you will not find one better than this. And it is oh so easy to make (sure I’ve messed it up on several occasions, over cooked it, under cooked it, added too much vanilla, forgotten the sugar etc.) but I promise you the technique here is simple.


This recipe comes from my friend and mentor Kate Beale who runs Isaiah 55 Deaf Ministries here on the border.  One of the perks of living nearby now means I get to pick her brain about recipes and enjoy her excellent cooking.   She pointed out that this actually isn’t her recipe, the original comes from an old church cookbook, St. John’s from Alabama, though I think she has made a few modifications.


You will need:

Spring form pan– I bought an inexpensive one at the grocery store (I think they keep them stocked for people like me who go to start a cake and realize they need a special pan and have no idea what it even is).  This is basically a pan with a flat bottom and sides that go straight up and that are hinged with a spring, so you can loosen the sides when it is done baking to remove the sides but keep the cake in place on the bottom.


Baking sheet–  Because the spring form pan has a crack along the bottom, butter and goo can leak out, keep it on a baking sheet so you don’t make  a mess in the oven.


Electric Mixer– I use a stand mixer but a hand mixer will work fine. It would be hard to get this cake whipped well enough without some sort of appliance though.


An extra day. This cake is best if you make it in the morning, or even the day before you plan on serving it.  It also freezes well.



The best cheesecake. Liturgy of Life.


2 cups crushed graham crackers

1/2 c sugar

1/2 melted butter (I used salted)



3 packages of cream cheese, at room temperature

5 eggs

1 1/2 cup sugar (you can reduce this to 1 cup for a less sweet cake)

3 teaspoons vanilla



2 cups sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sugar




Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.


To make the crust:

Crush the graham crackers (you can start by leaving them in package and smashing them with a rolling pin, they dump them onto the counter and smash up the bigger pieces again)

Mix crackers with sugar and butter.

Press mixture down onto the bottom of the pan. I usually press mine up the sides a half inch or so but you don’t have to)

Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.


The best cheesecake. Liturgy of Life.


The best cheesecake. Liturgy of Life.


To make the filling:

Place 3 packages of cream cheese in a bowl and beat until soft and whipped.

Add one egg at a time, between each addition scrape down the sides and then beat the mixture again until it is fluffy

Once all the eggs are added beat for a minute or two on high (or medium high is fine it high starts making it splash and makes a mess).

Add sugar and vanilla.

Beat one more time (having the mixture well mixed helps give it the right texture).


The best cheesecake. Liturgy of Life.


Pour the filling into the shell. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees.  Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

While baking make your topping by mixing together vanilla, sugar and sour cream.


photo 5The best cheesecake. Liturgy of Life.


Check after one hour and see where you are and then check every 10 minutes or so, bake until the center is no longer jiggly, it make be longer or shorter depending on your pan and oven.

Once cake is baked, pour topping over top and bake for 7-10 more minutes.


Remove and cool.

Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.


We recommend it as breakfast with a crispy slice of bacon.


Enjoy (sorry I always get to excited by the end and forget to take a picture of my finished product, I’ll update one next time)!





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  • Shannon Reply

    i never knew cheesecake had sour cream in it! so interesting. this looks great and actually do-able so I’m definitely pinning it for later. cheesecake is eric’s favorite but we’ve never attempted it at home!

    • egjarrett Reply

      Once I learned this recipe I stopped looking for others so I don’t know if they often do or not. The sour cream in this one makes a topping that is just sour enough to balance the sweet. You can have this alone or add a little chocolate syrup or lemon or fruit or whatever. For some reason I assumed cheesecake was a really tough one to do. I guess because at restaurants they sell it for like 5 dollars a slice. So this was way easier than I expected. Eric would love it! You know I think I’m going to go have a left over piece right now.

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