Simple, No-Fail Authentic Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with a Sweetened Vanilla Bean Sour Cream Topping

Before I even start telling you how good this is — let me just grab you by the shoul­ders and pull you in close. Have I got ya? Good — lis­ten up: “You can do this. It will be great. You will impress your peo­ple. Believe me.” Now that we have that tak­en care of, let me tell you about what I see in your future: creamy, thick, per­fect­ly smooth, dense — per­fect­ly gourmet home­made cheese­cake!

This recipe comes from Lau­ra, my BFF. Last Feb­ru­ary, Lau­ra and I were talk­ing about some our favorite recipes and this love­ly recipe came up in our con­ver­sa­tion. “Haven’t I told you about this before?” Lau­ra asked, sur­prised she had been able to keep this trea­sure to her­self for 20 years. “No — I can’t believe it!” I replied, in a mix of shock and dis­ap­point­ment I had been deprived for so long.

I let no moss gath­er and found the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ty to try it for myself — Shep’s 8th birth­day. I poured a home­made lemon curd over the top for his birth­day — so good!!


There is a short list of ingre­di­ents & you know what that means. Each ingre­di­ent needs to be high qual­i­ty.




  • Don’t use boxed crumbs, take the extra ((min­i­mal)) effort to make your own. The crust is a lit­tle chunki­er — which I real­ly like! Of course you can keep puls­ing the gra­ham crack­ers until they are dust if you please. image
  • But­ter: there is no sub for good but­ter. Oh, I almost for­got: the recipe calls for unsalt­ed but­ter, but I use salt­ed. I like it bet­ter, the extra salti­ness con­trasts the sweet fill­ing per­fect­ly.
  • Notice no sug­ar is added to the crust mix? The sug­ar can tend to leave a burnt fla­vor as it bakes. Leav­ing it out avoids that prob­lem, you won’t even notice the lack of sug­ar!image
  • One more tip with the recipe I am shar­ing, I added 20 gin­ger­snaps to the proces­sor. This gave the crust a very slight sweet­ness and a won­der­ful hint of hol­i­day spice. Per­fect for this time of year! ((I just pulled out 5–6 gra­ham crack­ers to keep from hav­ing too much crust.))



  • No time to wor­ry about fat and calories…use the real ((name brand)) stuff. “Why not light or off brand??” you may be ask­ing. Both light and off brands may add more water to their prod­uct. Ain’t nobody got time for a run­ny, watery, slimy cheese­cake. Don’t you agree?image
  • Eggs: fresh organ­ic please. “Cage-free, all nat­ur­al, farm fresh” all labels you may find on you pack­age. They sound nice, but real­ly don’t mean any­thing. Organ­ic eggs are the only reg­u­lat­ed eggs. The taste is notice­able, the price is worth it & the health ben­e­fits ((in gen­er­al)) are proven. Bet­ter yet, find a local farm and col­lect your eggs right from the nest­ing box! ((Don’t for­get to break each egg indi­vid­u­al­ly in a sep­a­rate bowl before adding to the mix­ing bowl — do I real­ly need to tell you why??))
  • Sug­ar: use pure cane, it mat­ters.image
  • Vanil­la: McCormick’s vanil­la extract is the top rat­ed extract ((accord­ing to Cook’s Illus­trat­ed)). You can also read reviews of vanil­la prod­ucts on Ama­zon. For this recipe, I used a vanil­la bean paste that I found on Ama­zon because I want­ed the lit­tle vanil­la bean flecks through­out.image



  • For this cheese­cake, I added a sweet­ened vanil­la bean sour cream top­ping. Whole sour cream lim­its the water & pure cane sug­ar ensures the per­fect sweet­ness. And again — a good vanil­la bean paste, tastes great and looks gor­geous.image

 Now that we have the ingre­di­ents gath­ered, time to make the cheese­cake.

imagePulse the but­ter and crack­ers togeth­er in a food proces­sor until the desired tex­ture is reached. 


Place crumbs in a large (10″) cheese­cake pan, press down and bake for 5–7 min­utes on 350°.


Place soft­ened cream cheese, eggs, sug­ar and vanil­la in a large mix­ing bowl and whip on medi­um-high speed, scrap­ing the sides every so often, until blend­ed smooth.


Pour fill­ing over the crust, tap to remove any air bub­bles and bake for 40 min­utes. Once bak­ing is com­plete, turn the oven off, open the oven door and allow the cheese­cake to cool in the oven for 30 to 45 min­utes.


Remove, light­ly cov­er with foil and refrig­er­ate for 8 hours or overnight.


The next morn­ing, pre­pare your top­ping.


Spread it care­ful­ly over the top of the chilled cheese­cake and return to the fridge until ready to serve.


Get ready to “need a moment”.


Sim­ple ((Per­fect)) Home­made Cheese­cake
Serves 20
Per­fect­ly rich and deli­cious — but sur­pris­ing­ly sim­ple. Nev­er buy store-bought again.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. 2 pkgs of gra­ham crack­ers ((I added 20 gin­ger­snaps and left out 5–6 gra­ham crack­er sheets))
  2. 1 stick but­ter ((I pre­fer salt­ed))
  1. 5 8 oz pkgs cream cheese
  2. 1 1/2 c pure cane sug­ar
  3. 2 1/2 t vanil­la extract or vanil­la bean paste
  4. 3 eggs
  1. 1 1/2 c sour cream ((not light))
  2. 1 1/2 c confectioner’s sug­ar
  3. 3 t vanil­la bean paste
  1. Pre­heat oven to 350°. Using a food proces­sor or by hand, crush crack­ers and cut in but­ter. Press crumbs into a 10″ (large) cheese­cake pan. Bake at 350° for 5 to 7 min­utes. Remove and set aside until ready to add the fill­ing.
  1. In a large mix­ing bowl, blend soft­ened cream cheese on medi­um speed. Add sug­ar, eggs & vanil­la. Blend for 2 min­utes on medi­um-high speed until smooth. Scrap the sides of the bowl peri­od­i­cal­ly. Pour fill­ing into the baked crust, tap gen­tly to remove air bub­bles and bake at 350° for 40 min­utes. Once cook­ing time is com­plete, turn the oven off and open the oven door. Allow the cheese­cake to cool in the opened oven for 30–45 min­utes. Remove from oven, cov­er with foil and refrig­er­ate over night or for 8 hours.
  1. In a small mix­ing bowl, com­bine top­ping ingre­di­ents. Stir until smooth. Remove cooled cheese­cake from fridge ((after 8 hours to overnight)), pour the top­ping over the cheese­cake and spread out smooth. Chill for on more hour or until ready to serve.
  2. Release the cheese­cake pan, cut with a sharp knife ((clean­ing the knife between cuts)) and serve
  1. The top­pings for this cheese­cake are end­less. Cit­rus curd, spiced sour cream, dark choco­late ganache, salt­ed caramel. Make it your own!
Adapt­ed from recipe cour­tesy of Lau­ra Wright
Adapt­ed from recipe cour­tesy of Lau­ra Wright
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