Vanilla Cheesecake Recipe

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Vanilla Cheesecake

Vanilla beans are expensive but they really add rich flavor to this classic cheesecake, which is topped with fresh strawberries.

  • 1-1/4 cups graham-cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole blanched almonds, toasted and finely ground
  • 5 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • --------------------
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • --------------------
  • Whole and sliced fresh strawberries, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make crust
  • /I> Combine graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, almonds and butter in bowl until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden brown, 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Wrap bottom and side of pan with heavy-duty foil. Set aside.
Make filling
  • /I> Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Remove seeds from vanilla bean with tip of small paring knife or spoon; set aside. (Place bean in a canister with granulated or confectioners sugar to make vanilla sugar.) Beat cream cheese in mixer bowl on medium-high speed, 3 minutes. Scrape side of bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in vanilla seeds. Gradually beat in sugar, scraping sides of mixer bowl with rubber spatula. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended and mixture is completely smooth. Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract, if using. Pour filling into prepared pan. Place pan in a larger roasting pan and carefully add enough hot water to come halfway up side of springform pan.
  • Bake 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let cheesecake stand in oven 1 hour. (Do not open door.) Remove from water bath and cool on wire rack 1 hour. Cover cheesecake and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
  • Remove ring from pan. Transfer cake to a flat serving plate. Garnish top of cake with whole strawberries, and serve with sliced strawberries, if desired. Makes 12 servings. (Nutrition facts are based on per serving without strawberries.)
Nutrition Facts
  • Calories 525, Total Fat 36 g, Saturated Fat 21 g, Cholesterol 170 mg, Sodium 372 mg, Carbohydrate 41 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 9 g.
  • Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
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