Almost everyone I know loves cheesecake. But not many people I know bake their own. It seems surreptitious, as if you need a cloak and dark sunglasses instead of an apron and a simple recipe card to bake it.
In some ways, making cheesecake is easier than baking four dozen cookies, it’s just more time consuming because of the two hours you let the cream cheese and eggs come to room temperature, the hour and 20 minutes it bakes, and the couple hours it takes to cool before you stick it in the fridge. (You can plop yourself on the lounge chair and soak up the sun during all that time.)
But the time it takes to whip one up is about the same time it takes to wash the dishes. So your actual time in the kitchen (for this cheesecake) is only about 30 minutes max. And the fresh strawberry sauce is so tasty and easy you’ll never want to buy the frozen stuff again. I hope you give it a try.
For Mother’s Day 2016, the kids, Jason, and I went to Minneapolis for the weekend. We ate at Pittsburgh Blue in Edina and we ordered cheesecake with strawberry sauce and five layer chocolate mousse cake off the dessert menu. Thirteen months later I still think about how luscious that cheesecake was. I wanted to make one just as creamy with a plate-licking-worthy strawberry sauce.
Need Another Strawberry Recipe?
When you have delicious strawberries, make decadent amaretto brownies, top with layers of velvety white chocolate and cream cheese and a pile of fresh, juicy strawberries.
I’ve finally nailed it. No need for a $17.95 family-style slice of cheesecake with strawberries. I’d rather spend the money on their appetizer of bourbon-maple glazed bacon.
Sweet strawberry wishes,
Vanilla Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce
- 1 9-inch springform pan
- 9 graham cracker sheets
- 10 Golden Oreo cookies, or vanilla wafers
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 40 oz cream cheese , 5 (8-ounce) packages, softened to room temperature
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 eggs, large
- 2 egg yolks, large
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced into quarters, washed, stems removed
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, diced, washed, stems removed
- Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse graham crackers and cookies into fine crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until wet sand consistency. (Or smash together in a zip top bag.)
- Press crust mixture firmly into bottom and slightly up sides of greased springform pan. Bake at 350°F for 6 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Turn oven temperature up to 475°F.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese on medium-high until smooth. Add sugar and mix on medium until well blended.
- Add sugar and mix on medium until well blended.
- Add flour. Beat until incorporated.
- Drop in lemon zest and salt. Pour in vanilla extract. Beat on low until incorporated.
- Crack 5 eggs into a bowl or measuring cup. Dump one or two at a time into cheesecake batter; beat on medium low just until incorporated. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl after each addition. DO NOT OVER MIX. Do the same thing with 2 egg yolks.
- Pour heavy cream into mixture and beat on low just until stirred in. Overbeating will cause the cheesecake to crack.
- Pour cheesecake batter into prepared springform pan. Tap pan onto the counter a few times to get out air bubbles.
- Place springform pan in oven. Bake at 475°F 10-12 minutes, just until top of the cheesecake starts to brown.
- Turn oven temperature down to 200°F. Bake 60-70 minutes, or just until filling sets but is slightly jiggly. Turn off oven. Open oven door slightly and let cool to room temperature or remove cheesecake from oven and let cool to room temperature. After about 30 minutes, run a thin knife between the pan and the cheesecake to be sure it doesn't stick to the side.
- Once completely cooled, cover cheesecake in springform pan and place in refrigerator 12 hours or overnight. Remove springform ring from cheesecake. Slice and serve slightly chilled topped with fresh strawberry sauce. Store cheesecake covered in refrigerator up to 7 days or in the freezer up to 3 months.
- Place sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely. (Or store in refrigerator until ready to make the sauce a few days later.)
- Place syrup in the jar of a blender. Add 2 cups quartered strawberries. Puree until smooth. Pour through a fine strainer, colander, or sieve into a bowl or jar.
- Stir remaining two cups of berries into puree. Serve with cheesecake slices. Store in a sealed container in refrigerator up to 3 days.
All text and images © Staci Mergenthal • Random Sweets