Make Ahead

Gran's Gifted Cheesecake

December 26, 2013
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Back in the 1950s my mom was gifted a recipe for a cheesecake from her dear friend Rita. Family and friends alike loved this version so much that many put it on their Christmas "wish list." Mom would always comply and make a cheesecake for them for birthdays or Christmas. Normally about twelve cheesecakes every Christmas were carefully baked and frozen for all. I made this for Christmas this year...my kids were delighted when they saw their "Granny's" cheesecake on the dessert table. —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Inpatskitchen is a retired teacher, paralegal, and seafood retailer.
WHAT: Dare we say the best cheesecake we've ever had.
HOW: Make a graham cracker crust, pour in a cream cheese layer, bake, top with a sour cream layer, then finish with whipped cream.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This might just be the perfect cheescake; the graham cracker crust is a breeze to make, and the cream cheese, sour cream, and whipped cream all contribute respective layers of sweetness and tang. We love how there's almond extract, too, which adds a certain level of je ne sais quoi. —The Editors

  • Makes one 9-inch cheesecake
Ingredients
  • For the crust and cream cheese filling
  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 pound softened cream cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • For the sour cream layer and topping
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. For the crust and cream cheese filling
  2. Blend the graham crumbs, melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon together and press into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan.
  3. With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, almond extract, 1/2 cup sugar, and eggs together, adding the eggs one at a time.
  4. Pour the cream cheese filling over the graham crust and bake at 375° F for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  1. For the sour cream layer and topping
  2. After baking the cream cheese layer, crank up the oven temperature to 475° F. Blend the sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract together and spread over the cooled cream cheese layer. Return the cake to the 475° F oven for 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely.
  3. Once cooled, whip the heavy whipping cream, gelatin, two tablespoons sugar, and one teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread over the top of the cake and chill before serving.
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inpatskitchen

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I learned...to this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

75 Reviews

Therese March 29, 2020
It’s delicious. I just need to remember to bake the cheesecake at step 1 for about 10 to 15 minutes more.
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen March 29, 2020
Thanks so much Therese! I know every oven is different.
 
Candice July 4, 2019
This is my go to recipe for family celebrations! (3rd time in 2 months) The almond extract in the batter makes this cheesecake irresistible
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen July 5, 2019
Thanks so much Candice! We can all thank my mom's friend Rita!!!
 
Theresa L. June 29, 2019
Help please? I made the cheesecake and cooled it but forgot the sour cream topping. Can I put it on the chilled cheesecake and pop it in the oven quick? I'll still have plenty of time to chill it again - thanks to whoever can LMK!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 29, 2019
Hi Theresa! I'm not sure (I'm not much of a baker) but you could try bringing the cream cheese layer to room temperature and then top with the sour cream.Just make sure your oven is at 475F. Hope it works out!
 
Theresa L. June 29, 2019
Tried it, and it's currently cooling again in the fridge. Fingers crossed! Will let you know how it turns out.
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 29, 2019
Oh yes....please let me know...
 
Theresa L. June 30, 2019
It was a disaster. Not the recipe - it was my execution. A series of mistakes that produced a curdled pile of slop. Thank goodness I had the sense to stop at Nadege on the way. But my reputation as a good baker is in need of resuscitation. Can’t win them all.
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 30, 2019
I'm so sorry...maybe you'll try it again someday...
 
Astrid M. June 5, 2019
Hello :-) I have a question: Did you really bake the first layer (with the cream cheese) for only 20 minutes? I did it like in the recipe mentioned, let it cool down for a while, but when I wanted to put the sour cream layer over the cream cheese, well........... a Chaos. A delicious mess, but a mess. Unfortunately the shift was not stable enough, so that everything got mixed up. And at the end I left the cheesecake in the oven for about 50 minutes - before it was totally liquid.
What did i do wrong?
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 5, 2019
Hi Astrid! I'm sorry this didn't work out...have you had your oven checked? The center is a little jiggly after baking but not like you described. Maybe next time bake your first layer a bit longer...every oven is different. Thanks for trying it though!
 
Theresa L. June 30, 2019
Astrid that was me too - because my oven wasn’t hot enough. It was being temperamental that day, of all days.
 
Alaina C. December 14, 2016
Update: I forgot about a slice of this in my freezer for eight months and it was still absolutely delicious when I thawed it out and ate it ;)
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen December 14, 2016
Lucky you!!! I need to put some in my freezer this week! Thanks again!
 
Stacey December 7, 2016
Any advice on what to do if I don't have a spring form pan?
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen December 7, 2016
Hi stacey! You can skip the crust and use a pre made graham cracker crust that comes in a foil pan. Use the largest one. If you double the recipe you can make 3 of them if using the smaller foil pans.
 
Stacey December 7, 2016
Thanks Pat! I was thinking of using my glass pie dish (9 in) and still making the crust, but having it go up the sides. Any other considerations I should make for baking? Or is a spring form pan mostly for visual effect?
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen December 7, 2016
That will work!! I think the springform pan IS for visual effect and classic cheesecake. I sure hope you enjoy! let me know...
 
Hannah June 12, 2016
I've made this recipe four times now and I say it's the best cheesecake recipe in the world! Even my friend who doesn't like cheesecake likes this one.
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 12, 2016
Thanks so much Hannah! It truly is a remarkable cheesecake...my mom would have been so happy!!
 
Esther G. March 27, 2016
I made this for Easter dessert and it was a treat for all.
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen March 28, 2016
Thanks Esther!
 
Alaina C. March 14, 2016
This cheesecake was determined to be "excellent" by a dozen or so people who love a good cheesecake. Thanks for the great recipe!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen March 15, 2016
Thanks Alaina! It's our favorite!
 
Jenny Y. February 13, 2015
I made this for a co-worker's birthday and everyone loved it! I increased the almond extract to 1/2 tsp and added some lemon zest to the whipped topping and they worked out well. I love how easy this was to make (no water bath) and love the idea of adding the gelatin to the whipped cream to stabilize it. I'll use that trick from now on. Thank you!!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen February 13, 2015
Thanks Jenny! So happy everyone enjoyed. I love the gelatin trick too!
 
Blythe July 2, 2014
How far in advance can this cake be made?
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen July 2, 2014
You can make the cheesecake a couple of days ahead, but don't add the whipping cream until just before serving or at least on the morning of service. You can also freeze the whole cake (whipping cream and all) and make many days ahead.
 
EmilyC June 15, 2014
Made this for Father's Day, and it's incredible -- the best cheesecake I've ever had. My husband said he wants it for his birthday. The flavor and texture are really superb. Thanks for sharing this gem!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 16, 2014
Thank YOU Emily! So happy you all enjoyed!
 
EmilyC June 12, 2014
Hi Pat -- I'm hoping to find the time to make this for Father's Day dinner, or if not this weekend, soon! One question -- in Step 3, should the cream cheese be fully set in the middle before taking it out of the oven or slightly jiggly? Should I expect any cracking? I don't have much experience with cheesecake, and with my oven I can't always follow recommended baking times. Thanks in advance!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 12, 2014
Hi Emily! It might be slightly jiggly and maybe a little cracking ( both have happened to me)....but the sour cream layer will take care of that. Oh I sure hope you enjoy!
 
Vincent June 12, 2014
Thanks for the "words of encouragement"
I agree - Life is too short to nitpick about calories at my age anyway,
so I'll just add a few more workouts to the regimen :-)
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 12, 2014
There you go!!
 
Vincent June 12, 2014
This may sound silly but I'll ask anyway, Calories ? Protein?
I love Cheesecake but have always denied myself the privelege !
This looks "TOO GOOD TO PASS UP"
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 12, 2014
Hi Vincent! No idea about calories and protein but you could always go to one of those websites that figures it out for you. I hope you try this though...a splurge now and then is good for "the body and soul"! Thanks so much!
 
Jessica C. June 11, 2014
I am so excited to try this!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 11, 2014
I sure hope you enjoy! Thanks!
 
LittleTeapot June 4, 2014
I made this for my husbands' birthday and it was a big hit! I added some passionfruit to the top at his request which was delicious and balanced the sweetness well. Thanks so much for the recipe - I'll be making it again!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen June 4, 2014
So happy you all enjoyed! Thanks! (and the passionfruit sounds phenomenal!(
 
miamineymo May 10, 2014
Never mind, I see you answered it already!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen May 10, 2014
Oh I sure hope you enjoy!
 
miamineymo May 10, 2014
I just baked this but want to save it for tomorrow. Should I add the whipped cream topping today or tomorrow? P.S. it looks and smells fantastic!
 
ATG117 May 10, 2014
Do you think the gelatin can be left out?
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen May 10, 2014
Certainly it can be omitted. Mom put it in to keep the whipped cream stabilized. I usually make this the day before I serve and just make the whipped cream and spread it just before serving.
 
Nikki November 27, 2019
Do you think Pectin or something similar (and vegetarian) will work? Thanks!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen November 27, 2019
Don't know about pectin but I've read that cornstarch or powdered milk act as stabilizers for whipped cream.
 
Nikki November 27, 2019
Ok! Will try that. Thank you!
 
Author Comment
inpatskitchen November 27, 2019
Remember...you can always leave the stabilizer out and just whip the cream and top just before serving. Hope it works out for you! Happy Thanksgiving!!