Cheesecakes in our house are always a special treat. Because they’re so rich and dense, they’re not really the type of dessert that you can have every night — they’re something that should be savored and eaten slowly. When made well, the cream practically melts in your mouth. And the graham cracker crust adds a nice crunchy contrast of texture. And, with this recipe, a light and milky topping perfectly completes the dessert.
Cheesecakes are commitments. Not only does making one require some patience, but eating one does too. Even when you just buy one, you’re committing you and your family to eating the whole thing (not that that’s a scary commitment to make ;).
And, perhaps luckily, these commitment cakes end. It takes but a night to cook one, maybe a little longer to eat one, if you’re sharing. You savor it as you enjoy it, are left satisfied once you’re done, but once you truly realize it’s gone, you know you’ll have to spend more time with this decadent dessert again!
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp white flour
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter, diced and cold
- 3 tbsp honey
- 3 1/2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 3 8-oz blocks cream cheese
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract (or seeds from one vanilla bean)
- 1 cups heavy whipping cream OR sour cream
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Make the Crust: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and oil the sides. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the mixture until chunks are the size of peas. In a separate bowl, mix the honey, milk, and vanilla together. Blend into the flour mixture just until combined.
- Press the dough into the bottom and half an inch up on the sides of the pan. Using a fork, poke holes into the dough. Cut a piece of large parchment paper and press it into the dough. Place pie weights or dried beans on top of the paper. Cook like this for about 10 minutes.
- For the Cheesecake: Whip the cream cheese blocks in a large bowl. Add the sugar. Whip in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla and whipping cream or sour cream. Pour onto the partially baked crust.
- Bake: There are two ways to bake the cheesecake: in a water bath or without. Baking in water will lead to a creamier, more evenly baked cake, so this is recommended. Bake at 300ºF for about 60-70 minutes. (To bake in a water bath, find a pan that is large enough to fit your springform pan. Fill with water about 2 inches high.)
- Once baked, don’t take out of the oven yet. Crack open the oven (using a wooden spoon if necessary) to allow the cake to cool slowly for about an hour. Afterwards, cover the cake and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Make the topping: Combine sour cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour over cooled cheesecake. It’s best to allow the cake to cool a little more after this step so the topping can properly set.