My dad (and I) LOVES cheesecake. We have this on going tradition that whenever one of us eat cheesecake we have to text the other one to rub it in. There’s normally a picture of the cheesecake included in the text.

The first time I took on the challenge to bake a cheesecake I was very nervous. I didn’t have a stand mixer and I thought that cheesecake were going to be difficult to make. It was Christmas time and I was ready to take on the challenge. It came out looking good. Not as good as the picture from the recipe I was using and it tasted good but not as good as some cheesecakes I’ve had before. On Christmas I got a BIG surprise. My husband and I wasn’t going to get each other Christmas presents that year because we were trying to save money and we were going to Florida to visit his family right after Christmas. We finished opening presents at my parents house. Then my mom says “Wait! We have one more!” and she asked my husband if he would go downstairs to get the present that was sitting at the bottom of the steps. I thought it was a present for dad that mom was surprising my dad with, I was wrong. My hubby came up with a big box and sat it down right next to me. I was confused and he told me to open it. Being shocked I opened up the present and saw a red Kitchen Aid mixer. I just sat there with unbelief. Then I turned around and hit my husband in the arm because we wasn’t getting each other presents. We all had a good laugh and then I gave him a big hug. I think there were some tears in there somewhere too. He told me that I can now make a cheesecake that taste just as good as any other cheesecakes. I love my hubby!!

So this past Christmas I baked a cheesecake that was definitely better than my first. I have baked many cheesecakes since last Christmas. One was for my dad’s birthday that I believe he has requested one every year for his birthday and Christmas.

I haven’t baked a cheesecake that hasn’t cracked in the middle. I have found the higher you press the crust up the side will help with the cracking in the middle. But if it does (and it probably will), no worries, add some strawberries on top or chocolate ganache on top and no one will ever know!

I will tell you one thing I learned on my first cheesecake. Wrap the bottom of your pan with aluminum foil so if any butter leaks out the foil will catch it from dripping on the bottom of the oven. I didn’t wrap mine the first time and I learned my lesson. I now wrap the bottom of my pan really good before starting.

You can use chocolate or regular graham crackers to make your crust. We like the chocolate. Right before you serve, drizzle some melted chocolate ganache on top.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

UPDATE October 08,2013: The key is whipping the cream cheese until smooth first and then adding the ingredients. Also do not over bake. Set your timer for 60 minutes and then add more minutes if needed.

Cheesecake

Cooking time: 1 hour 20 mins plus refrigerate overnight

Ingredients: 

2.25 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted

4 (8oz.) packages cream cheese at room temp.
1.5 cups sugar
3 Tbsp flour
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Combine chocolate graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir in melted butter until moistened. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan(3 inches tall). Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

To make the cheesecake filling, whip cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer on medium. Add the sugar, and flour mix until all incorporated. On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Warm sour cream slightly and whip until smooth. On low, add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla just until combined. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 325. Its done when the center looks completely done and the edges are light brown. Turn off the oven and open the door and let it sit until cooled, about 30 minutes. The center will look more shiny than the edges. That’s ok because it will continue to cook a little while it’s in the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool completely to room temperature. Go ahead and separate the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a knife around the edges. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Adapted from Bakerella