Sunday, December 23, 2012

Un-Holiday Birthday Cheesecake

It's that time of year! Holly. Ivy. Caroling. Funny pointed hats. Mountains of green and red food.

Watching old movies and trying to determine the perfect spot for your favorite ornament on the tree.

Glass of eggnog anyone?

Most of us are so busy preparing for the holidays, we completely forget those who have a birthday this time of year!

Several lovely co-workers of mine had birthdays recently. In an attempt to make something as un-holiday as possible - I made a cheesecake.

I used the famous recipe that my mother has been using for years. One that garnered her much adoration from bake sale purchasers everywhere. In fact, this cheesecake went for $120 once in a youth ministry bakesale. 

Needless to say, it's worth every penny.

Start with gram cracker crumbs and ground walnuts.

Combine and drizzle with melted butter. Then pack into the bottom of a well-buttered 9" or 10" spring form pan. Set aside. 

Next up, room temperature cream cheese. And I mean room temperature. Let it soften on the counter for several hours. 

Beat it until it's nice and smooth. No lumps. Then add in the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Beat until super smooth - see a trend here? Smooth batter = smooth cheesecake. No one like lumps in their cheesecake. 

Pour over crust. Bake for 60-75 minutes, until puffed up and probably cracked on top. (That's why we make a topping for it).

Once cooked, remove from oven and let rest 15 minutes. Don't turn off the oven yet!

In a medium bowl, mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla together (you can do this while the cake is baking, just keep it in the fridge once mixed). 

Spread over the cheesecake - leaving a 1/2"-1/4" border edge of cheesecake showing.

I mean it. Leave a border. Put back in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on the counter for an hour. Then refrigerate for 24-48 hours before serving. It's worth the wait. 

I serve mine with blackberries on top. Happy un-holiday!

Momma Jeanne's Cheesecake
Reprinted from the Crane Family Recipes from the Hoosier Heartland cookbook

3/4 c. coarsely ground walnuts (3oz)
3/4 c. finely crushed graham crackers
3 T. melted butter
Combine walnuts, crackers, butter, and press into the bottom of a buttered 9 or 10 inch springform pan.

4 - 8oz pkgs. cream cheese - room temperature
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. sugar
1 T. fresh lemon juice
2 t. vanilla
Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat very well. Spoon over crust. Bake 60 to 75 minutes depending on pan size. (Megan's note: my 9" took closer to 80 minutes) May rise and crack, topping will cover it. Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes. Retain oven temperature.

2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Combine while cake is baking. Cover and refrigerate. Spoon over baked cake and spread to within 1/2 inch of edge. Bake 5 to 10 minutes until set. Refrigerate 24 to 48 hours before serving.

Preparation time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Temperature: 350 degrees


  1. cheesecake! i need this in my life. it looks so good that i'm almost a little mad that it's there on screen and not on a plate in front of me.

    1. I feel that this cheesecake entirely validates me having a springform pan. That I use only for cheesecake. About once a year.

      It's soooooo worth it. And perfect for your next dinner party!