The Ultimate Cheesecake

   A few weekends ago, I was craving cheesecake. Big time. I was tempted to drive down to the nearest grocery store to buy one, but every time we do that I regret it. They never taste as good as they look. I  decided it was time I attempted a homemade cheesecake.

   I did some searching on the net, and found this one from cutie, Tyler Florence on The Food Network. The recipe had 5 stars and over 400 positive reviews. It sounded like a winner to me! I also figured anything with the word Ultimate in the title, must be good, so I gave it a shot.

   The Verdict? It was AMAZING! One of the best cheesecakes I've ever tasted. Period. I topped ours with a simple homemade Strawberry Topping, that took it to the next level!

The Ultimate Cheesecake
2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 30 squares)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) blocks of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
dash of vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon lemon zest

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray.

Pour crumbs into the pan, and using the bottom of a measuring cup or smooth bottom of a glass cup, press crumbs into the bottom and 1-inch up along sides. Refrigerate crust while you prepare the filling.

For filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for one minute, or until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat slowly just until combined. Do not overmix! Gradually, add in sugar and beat until creamy. (About 1 minute)

Add sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest. Periodically, scrape down sides of bowl and beaters. The batter should be well-mixed, but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-filled pan and smooth top with a spatula.

Bake for 45-50 minutes. (Be careful not to over bake!) The center will still be slightly jiggly. (It will firm up while it chills) Let cool for 30 minutes, and then loosely cover with saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator for atleast 4 hours. Carefully loosen the sides of the cheesecake from the pan with a thin spatula or knife, and then carefully remove sides of pan.

Serve with Strawberry Topping, if desired.

Strawberry Topping:
1 (10 ounce) bag of frozen sliced strawberries, thawed
or 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced
3-4 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pour sliced strawberries and vanilla in a medium bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the top. Mix together and slightly smash the strawberries with a fork. Cover and store in refrigerator for atleast 1-2 hours. Serve over cheesecake!

Linked up at: Totally Tasty Tuesdays
Trick or Treat Tuesdays


Aimee said...

Looks delish Holly! I feel the same way about store bought cheesecake (and pretty much every other dessert). I love making homemade cheesecake and this one looks like a winner. LOVE the strawberry sauce!

Ellen B Cookery said...

My daughter has been begging for a good cheesecake. Store boughten just doesn't work for us. I've just printed this recipe and plan on making it. This looks perfect.

Ellen B Cookery said...

My daughter has been begging for a good cheesecake. Store boughten just doesn't work for us. I've just printed this recipe and plan on making it. This looks perfect.

The Country Cook said...

We are HUGE cheesecake lovers in this family! This looks amazing and I love that little drizzle of strawberry on top - perfect!! I'm sharing this one with everyone over on facebook. I just heard it was one of those fun food holidays today - National Cheesecake Day! LOL =)

Mal said...

mmm, I adore cheesecake! This one looks fabulous

Mal @ The Chic Geek

Jessica@AKitchenAddiction said...

This looks perfect, so creamy and light!

Jennifurla said...

so simple, so gorgeous.

Becky said...

This is a gorgeous cheesecake, so rich, and amazing. I love the strawberry topping, too.

Jenn said...

I'm usually too impatient to make cheesecake, but this one looks like it is worth the wait. I like your new picture of you and the hubby! Did you chop your hair or is it just behind you?

Holly said...

Thanks everyone! Jenn- I'm too chicken to cut my hair.. Ha! Its hard to see cause its behind me

kellisretrokitchenarts said...

It looks positively sinful! I would enjoy every single bit!

The Better Baker said...

Cheesecake is one of my most favorite desserts in the world...and topped with strawberries? Yummers!!!!! Thanks for sharing...and educating us about Nat'l Cheesecake Day. =)

Jocelyn said...

We adore eating cheesecake, but hate to pay the price of one in the store that doesn't taste very good. It has become a joint effort with my hubby when we do make them...I love that!!!! This one looks so good and I love that you made your own strawberry topping too:-)

yummychunklet said...

Deliciously perfect looking slice!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I've been trying out different cheesecake recipes lately but haven't made it to Tyler Florence's recipe yet. Your pictures are making my mouth water!

Cherry said...

Visiting from Trick or Treat Tuesday - such gorgeous photos of your cheesecake! We love cheesecakes at our house ... our preferred dessert, above regular cakes, etc.

outbackkat said...

Hi ~~ I made 4 -6' cheesecakes using this recipe. I swirled home made raspberry sauce through out them and made a cocoa graham cracker crust. The taste was awesome!! Easy recipe, great texture! The chocolate and the raspberry flavors complimented the mellow richness of the cheese! Had to freeze 3 of them so I wouldn't eat cheesecake everyday!!