I love cheesecake. Absolutely love it. Probably too much. It’s a good thing it’s the sort of thing I don’t make too often, mostly because I generally make myself sick on it every time I make it because I make my cheesecake lethal. I have been known to bake cheesecake on top of a giant brownie and and load it with so much chocolate that it becomes virtually inedible. Deliciously inedible, that is. But yeah… still pretty hard to eat.

Strangely enough, this time I really wanted something more… edible. I wanted vanilla cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. Creamy, tangy, and weighing in under 10lbs.

I’ve put a pretty good amount of energy into learning how to make the best cheesecake possible. No cracks, no top skin, silky smooth, and beautiful.

To prevent cracks, heat the oven to 400°F. Wrap your sping form pan in foil to seal it, since you’ll be putting it into a water bath. Bake the cheesecake in a water bath (fill it with boiling water just before you put it in the oven). Just put the cake and the water bath in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven off. Leave it overnight. What causes cheesecake to crack is sudden temperature changes, and this handy cooking method eliminates those by allowing the cheesecake to cook in a slowly cooling oven; so by the time the cake comes out of the oven, the oven is cool, and though the cheesecake is cooked through, it’s also cool.

A simple tin foil cover gives you a beautiful, smooth-topped, skin-free cheesecake. After you pour the cheesecake batter into the spring form pan, cover it with a sheet of tin foil. Poke a few holes in it (to let out the steam so it doesn’t condense on the inside of the foil and drip back onto the cake). Et voila.

Perfect Vanilla Cheesecake

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
4 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Wrap your 8″ spring form pan in foil to seal it.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Press into the bottom of an 8″ spring form pan and bake until fragrant and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cream the cream cheese together with the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into the spring form pan. Cover the pan with a sheet of tin foil and poke a few holes in it. Place the spring form pan in a water bath and place in the oven. Shut the door and turn the oven off. Leave overnight.

Place the cake in the fridge the following morning. Serve in thin slices with your favourite cheesecake condiments!