Back in November of 2013 (I really can’t believe it’s been that long), I reviewed Junior’s Home Cooking, the ‘official’ cookbook of the famous New York eatery “Junior’s.” To this day it remains one of my favorite cookbooks, and is the backdrop to some of my some of my kitchen memories. Their Cajun Fried Chicken served as the delicious centerpiece for my son’s birthday one year, and their eponymous cheesecake has been a family favorite since I posted the review.
That cheesecake is what we’re preparing today. Their cheesecake bakes up rich, moist, and creamy – though just firm enough to confidently hold its shape. The crust is buttery and sweet, with a delicious mix of lemon, brown sugar, and vanilla.
However, one of the key draws for this cheesecake is how it serves as a delightful ‘base’ recipe. While I’m using a blueberry and lavender sauce, you could just as easily encase this cheesecake in chocolate, or cover it in a variety of toppings, or give the cake a swirl. We’ll cover some variations in more depth bellow. Regardless, this is a great ‘base’ recipe.
That said, while I wouldn’t go so far as to call this recipe ‘quick and simple,’ it isn’t exactly hard or complicated either. No cheesecake really is. So, follow along, and I’m confident this recipe will become one of your family’s favorites – just as it did for mine.
Now, without further delay, let’s make some cheesecake.
Ingredient List – For the Cake Crust
- Cake Flour. Baking flour is ideal for the crust, since we want it to be as light and airy as possible.
- Salt. Simple table salt is all you need here.
- Eggs. Whole eggs, that means whites and yolks. These bind the crust, while adding in fat and moisture.
- Baking Powder. This is a two-phase leavening agent, and the recipe simply doesn’t work without it.
- Butter. Key to the batter. This adds fat, moisture, and flavor.
- Cream of Tartar. This stabilizes the whipped eggs, helping the crust hold its form, and preventing it from cracking.
- Sugar. Plain sugar, not a lot to say here.
- Vanilla Extract. A key flavoring agent for the crust. Vanilla paste and beans both work fine, if you prefer. All vanilla types substitute at a one-to-one ratio by volume.
- Lemon Extract. Fresh lemon will work, if you don’t have extract. You need two tablespoons of lemon juice per one teaspoon of lemon extract.
Ingredient List – For the Filling
- Cream Cheese. Not a lot to say here. This is what puts the ‘cheese’ in cheesecake.
- Sugar. Plain sugar is all you need for the filling.
- Cornstarch. This acts as a thickening agent.
- Vanilla Extract. For flavor, to bring out the best qualities of the cream and the cheese. Here again, vanilla extract, paste, and beans all work fine. As always, they substitute at a one-to-one ratio by volume.
- Eggs. These bind the cake together, while also adding fate and moisture. Yes, you need the whites and yolks.
- Heavy Cream. This is a key ingredient to help whip up the cream cheese to get that ‘cheesecake texture.’ Sorry, but there’s really not a workable substitute for this one aside from whipping cream.
Ingredient List – Blueberry Lavender Topping
- Fresh Blueberries. One of my go to toppings for cheesecakes, but really any berries will work.
- Lavender Buds. Simply, these put the ‘lavender’ in the lavender topping.
- Sugar. Here again, plain sugar is all you’re looking for.
- Brown Sugar. I’m using dark brown sugar as a matter of preference, since it has a delicious ‘molasses flavor’ that really heightens the topping. Regular brown sugar will also work just fine.
- Cornstarch. Once again, this works to thicken the topping.
- Lemon Juice. I really do recommend fresh, but since we’re cooking it down, bottled will also work just fine.
- No Bake - Yes, no bake cheesecake is a thing, and it’s delicious.
- Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl - Chocolate and pumpkin swirled in a decadent cheesecake base. Prepare this for Thanksgiving, Halloween, or simply as a Fall delight, and it’ll be the star of the show – I promise.
- Ricotta Cheesecake - If you prefer your cheesecake to be a bit fluffier, airier, and just a tad bit lighter, opt for a ricotta-based cheesecake.
- Candy Crust Cheesecake - For when you must have ‘all’ decadence, consider crusting your cheesecake in candy. Yes, it is as fun – and delicious – as it sounds.
Best Cheesecake Toppings
- Caramel Sauce. Cheesecake and caramel is a simply delicious combination. Grab my recipe for it here, and then drizzle it over the top of the cake until the cake is covered evenly.
- Rum Sauce. One of my personal favorites is my Rum Sauce recipe. Simply drizzle this over the cheesecake, making sure to cover the top of the cake evenly, with some dripping down the sides.
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