New York Cheesecake With Sour Cherry Topping

July  8, 2021
10 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 10 hours 35 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes
  • makes One 9-inch cheesecake
Author Notes

This is an ode to the classic cheesecake that made me first fall in love with the dessert. But perhaps more importantly, it is the version my husband, a bona fide cheesecake lover, still requests again and again (and again)! Baking in a water bath ensures a perfectly smooth surface and a beautiful custard with a silky, rich texture. Be sure to allow for carryover cooking—and remember that cheesecakes will continue to firm up and set as they cool—and err on the side of under-baking the cheesecake (it should still have a jiggle in the center at the end of baking when you gently shake the pan). I love to make it with my brown sugar shortbread as the crust, but it can easily be made with a graham cracker crust (or other cookie crumb crust). —Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
New York Cheesecake With Sour Cherry Topping
  • Brown Sugar Shortbread Crust
  • 12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1/3 cup (71 grams) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt
  • Cheesecake
  • 2 pounds (906 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (23 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fine sea salt
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) vanilla extract
  • Sour Cherry Topping
  • 1 pound (454 grams) pitted tart red cherries
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (14 grams) cornstarch
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • Dash vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Brown sugar shortbread crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Scrape the bowl well.
  2. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed to incorporate. Scrape the bowl well, then mix for 15 to 20 seconds more.
  3. Grease a 9-inch springform pan lightly with softened butter or nonstick spray. Drop clumps of the shortbread dough into the base of the pan and use your fingers to press into an even layer (you can just cover the base, or allow the crust to come about ½ inch up the sides of the pan, your choice).
  4. Dock the crust all over with a fork, then chill for 1 hour. Toward the end of the chill time, position a rack in the center of the oven; heat to 350°F/175°C.
  5. Bake the crust for 15 to 18 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool. Wrap the outside of the pan well with foil and place into a deep dish, like a casserole or large, shallow Dutch oven. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F/400°C.
  6. Make the cheesecake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, and salt to combine.
  7. Add the sugar mixture to the mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Scrape the bowl well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed to combine, scraping well after each addition.
  8. Add the sour cream and mix on low speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well, then add the heavy cream and mix on low speed to combine. Scrape the bowl well, then beat in the vanilla.
  9. Set a kettle of water to boil. Pour the custard into the cooled crust. Gently transfer the dish containing the springform pan to the oven and fill the dish with boiling water, ideally so it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  10. Bake the cake for 20 minutes, gently rotate the pan, and bake for 20 minutes more. The cake should be lightly browned at the edges and the surface and should appear visibly souffléd and puffy.
  11. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F/135°C and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the cake jiggles slightly in the center when you gently shake the pan.
  12. Turn the oven off and open the oven door to vent out the heat. Leave the cheesecake inside for 10 minutes, then let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Unwrap the foil from around the pan.
  13. Chill the cake for at least 8 hours before serving. To unmold, using a small offset spatula, run it around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen, then gently remove the outer ring. Using a large spatula, gently loosen the base of the cheesecake and transfer to a platter.
  14. Make the sour cherry topping: In a medium pot, toss the cherries and ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are juicy. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch, salt, and the remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar to combine. Stir into the cherry mixture.
  15. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture visibly thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, if using. Let cool completely, then spoon on top of the whole cheesecake, or serve alongside slices of cheesecake.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alison
  • Quirkybakes
  • mikeporterfield89
  • mou
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

10 Reviews

Alison December 27, 2022
I made this for Christmas dinner--the only change I made was to use a cranberry compote instead of the sour cherry, because it seemed more seasonal (and we all love cranberries) but I think that the sour cherry would work just fine visually for a winter dessert. So delicious! I hadn't made a cheesecake of any kind for at least a decade, but the instructions were clear and the results were delectable. I can see making it again. Actually I am dreaming about some other pretext for making it again....
One note: because I live in Denver, the cooking time/temp was adjusted slightly (maybe 58 minutes total, but I only reduced the temperature to 325 for the last 15). I took it out to cool when it was largely set on the sides and a little jiggly in the middle. Seemed fine, not overcooked. That could also reflect my oven, but I think the best approach is to watch it carefully.
Quirkybakes November 22, 2022
I’ve been making cheesecake for about 40 years. Having lived most of my life in the Hudson Valley area of New York, I love New York cheesecake! I made this recipe for a dinner party for family/friends in Missouri and it was loved and devoured by all. Thank you Erin for another great recipe and video!
mikeporterfield89 April 16, 2022
This cheesecake is wonderful! I followed the recipe and it came out perfect. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of this masterpiece!
mou January 25, 2022
I am in the process of doing this recipe. One quick note: Direction Number 5. The degree can NOT be 400 degree Celsius. 375 degree Fahrenheit makes 190 degree Celsius. Conversion problem...
Ethel P. September 2, 2021
375 F is 190 C. This can really mess up the cheesecake. Erin seems like way to nice a person to be sexually aroused by cheesecake.
Thelma L. July 20, 2021

Your video on making cheesecakes that is attached to this recipe is absolutely wonderful. I feel like I just attended a How To Make A Cheesecake class. So informative. So thorough. So easy to follow. So casual. I felt like my best friend was teaching me how to make cheesecakes.

I am so inspired to make this cheesecake this weekend.

Thelma Louise
Thelma L. July 27, 2021
I made this cheesecake for Saturday night dinner guests. The recipe worked wonderfully and the cheesecake was absolutely delicious. Cheesecakes seem so intimidating to me. I am so glad I found this recipe and the instructional video.

After chilling I was tempted to sneak a slice because I just love cheesecake and because I wanted to make sure it turned out. However it looked so beautiful I wanted my guests to see it. I proudly displayed it on the sideboard during dinner and cut it at the table. I served the cherry topping on the side.

Thank you for sharing a lovely recipe and providing lots of helpful tips.

Thelma Louise
grandmaB July 17, 2021
I just made your New York Cheesecake, and it does taste wonderful. I had a little too much crust and filling so I fill a little disposable loaf pan. I put both in the water bath, and that was a big mistake! Even though I wrapped the spring form pan with tin foil (3 layers), the water still got in a ruined the crust (we haven't eaten it yet...still cooling). We tried the little side pan and it came out perfect. I had put it in the freezer about an hour to speed up the cooling. I was able to kind of pull the pan away from the cake and the crust held together. My husband loved it!... with cherry topping. (And he really does NOT like cheesecake or much of anything made with cream cheese.) My next cheesecake will be the same, with your recipe, but I will not use a spring form pan. Now I am trying to find a 9" deep disposable aluminum straight sided cake pan. Any suggestions?
Kerry August 9, 2021
Hey GrandmaB.
I was so worried about this the first time I made cheesecake. I found a blog online which suggested using a large oven roasting bag around the foil. Worked a treat for me, one less thing to worry about.
R July 15, 2021
What a fabulous recipe! This is the best cheesecake I have ever made, and the least labor-intensive as well. I have to admit that I only made the cake itself--used standard graham-cracker crust and skipped the sour cherry topping--but this was pretty easy and produced a cheesecake that is as good as any I have ever tasted; it is creamy and has a lovely balance of tang and sweetness. Wonderful--many thanks for this, and for the YouTube video as well--