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Classic Cheesecake Recipe

Classic Cheesecake

Finished product with chilled cherry pie filling spooned on top. It was so tasty!


Crumb Crust

  • 11 whole graham crackers (22 squares)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 5 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Your favorite fruit!


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Use a food processor to crush the crackers in crumbs (or crush by hand). Add the butter and sugar; process to mix. Press onto the base of a 9-inch springform pan. Chill.
  2. For the filling, place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Blend in the sugar. Add the flour and beat until combined. On low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, just until blended, scraping the side of the bowl often. Add the sour cream, lemon peel and vanilla extract and beat until just blended. Pour the filling over the crust in the pan.
  3. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Don’t over bake, the cheesecake will firm up as it cools. Turn off the oven and keep the door ajar. Let the cheesecake sit in oven for 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Run a knife around sides. Cover; chill for 6 hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to serve, remove the pan sides. Slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate. Add your fruit topping.


This was my first attempt at a cheesecake. Lesa had a magazine with the recipe and it had a picture. I kept looking at and hinting at how good that cheesecake looked hoping Lesa would make us one. She got all the ingredients and said she wished me luck making my cheesecake so my hinting backfired on me and I was roped into making this thing!

I had no idea what a springform pan was but Lesa did. She found some at Walmart for $9 dollars. The set included 8″, 9″ and 10″ pans. Make sure you use the 9″ as the cheesecake rises to the very top when baking. As it cools it leaves a conical shaped top. Pretty cool. Lesa told me not to jump around or it might drop on me (not that I was planning to jump around but it made me be more careful). I didn’t need to run a knife around the sides. The cheesecake pulled away from the sides as it cooled down. You definitely want to use a springform pan though or you’ll never get the cheesecake out.

I let the cream cheese sit on the counter for a couple of hours to get soft but you can microwave each one for about 15 seconds to soften it.

I made the filling in the afternoon and set in the fridge to chill until after dinner when I made the cheesecake. With an hour 15 minutes baking time, an hour cool down time in the oven, and over two hours on the wire rack before completely cool, I would have made the crust in the morning and the cheesecake in the afternoon. I was up late waiting for it to cool down enough to put in the fridge.

The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel. I definitely could taste a light lemon flavor in the finished product and for my preference it was too strong. Lesa liked it a lot though so it is definitely a preference thing. I think it was absolutely yummy but my personal preference is to reduce the lemon to 1-1/2 teaspoons next time. The lemon flavor is very, very subtle so I would just do the recipe as printed and then adjust to your preferences the next time around.

I just put it in the fridge overnight and sampled after lunch the next day. It turned out great! Just follow the recipe and instructions and all will be well. It’s not hard to make but the timer got a lot of use. More waiting for the right time to do the next step than anything else. Prep work was pretty easy.

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