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.
Junior’s Cheesecake (Copycat)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Dessert
Sponge Cake Crust:
- 1/3 cup cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Junior's Cheesecake (for 8-inch cheesecake)
- (3) 8-ounce packages cream cheese
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Blueberry Lavender Topping:
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 tablespoons lavender buds
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
For the crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease an 8-inch springform pan. Set aside.
- In a small bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your mix master with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar and extracts until thick. Fold in the dry ingredients and melted butter. Set aside.
- Whisk egg whites in a separate bowl and beat with cream of tartar until frothy. Add in the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the egg yolk batter until a light batter comes together. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until crust has set. Do not let it overbake. Remove from the oven and let cool while preparing the filling.
For the Cheesecake:
- In the bowl of your mix master with a paddle attachment, beat one package of cream cheese with cornstarch, vanilla and 1/3 cup of sugar. Once smooth, add the rest of the cream cheese, one package at a time, beating between each addition. Add the eggs, one at a time until the batter is thick and smooth. On low speed, gradually add the cream.
- Pour the batter over the cooled crust. Transfer the pan into the Easy Bath Cheesecake Wrap and place in a deep baking dish. Add water halfway up the sides of the wrap and place in the oven. Bake the cheesecake for about 40 minutes or until slightly golden and the center barely jiggles. Remove the cake from the water bath onto a wire rack and let cool until room temp. Once the cake has cooled, gently press clingfilm to the top of the cake and transfer to the refrigerator and chill until the cake has completely set.
For the Lavender Blueberry Sauce:
- In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients for the topping to a boil until the berries have opened and thickened into a sauce. Let cool before transferring to a jar and refrigerate. Before serving the cheesecake, top with the blueberry lavender sauce. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Junior's Cookbook
- Serving Size: 1
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Cindy Merrill says
I'm allergic to blueberries.
I'm NOT allergic to blueberries and this recipe sounds fabulous. What a treat to have a copycat of Junior's cheesecake. I will be making this to take to a friends house for dessert. Thanks for sharing!
[email protected]'s Recipes says
This looks beyond delicious and so very tempting with that lavender berry topping!
Big Daddy Dave says
Catherine, That is one beautiful cheesecake! The best one I ever had was made here in East Tennessee by an Italian transplant from the Bronx. It was fresh and still warm and he used ricotta cheese to make it. It was a one time deal unfortunately but I'll never forget it! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave
Lydia @ Thrifty Frugal Mom says
I LOVE cheesecakes but always hate the whole water bath process. This is a great solution!
Adriana Lopez Martin says
Lovely recipe! I enjoy Juniors cheesecake but I only get it when I travel to NYC. So I appreciate having a copycat recipe to make at home and then with blueberries perfect as season just started
Your cheesecake is so decadent, I have heard such great reviews about Juniors cheesecake and I'm glad you have a copycat recipe
Priya Srinivasan says
OMG i m so drooling at those pictures !! That looks super delicious and nothing can beat a warm
Saucy cheesecake! That is one balmy dessert!!❤️
Sandhya Ramakrishnan says
I am drooling looking at that cheesecake. Wish I am brave enough to bake one for my family. Cheesecake is something that really scares me. I am so tempted to give your recipe a try.
Oh man my Dad loves Juniors cheesecakes and has them shipped from NY! I can't wait to make this for him.
Marisa Franca says
What a great idea!! The water bath helper is fantastic. I always dreaded the mess that making a cheesecake in a water bath. All that aluminum foil and wrapping the springform pan. YUCK!! Your cheesecake is gorgeous - the lavender in it sounds wonderful. I will definitely give this a try.
Oh my goodness... what a treat! I can't wait till my family's next special occasion... I'm totally making this!
This looks DELICIOUS!
I would like to make it a 9", what adjustments would need to be made?
Living the Gourmet says
Hi Evie, Thank you so much for stopping by! You can go ahead and use a 9" for this recipe as well! It shouldn't change the dimensions too much so the ingredient measurements can stay the same. Enjoy!
This is my go-to recipe! Anytime there is a birthday, people request me to make it. Only thing is, in the cheesecake directions - it doesn't say to add the rest of the sugar anywhere. I almost forgot my first time but since I've made it so many times, it's now second nature. A new baker might not be as fortunate 🙂 Great work on the recipe!