A plain cheesecake and a peanut butter chocolate swirl cheesecake
It’s true, this recipe is seriously amazing. My boyfriend has a dairy allergy and one day he said that cheesecake was his favorite dessert yet he couldn’t ever have it… So I decided to make him a soy cheesecake. I have never made a cheesecake of any kind before but I was up to the task. I think that’s why I’ve had so much success with this recipe – not to mention the fact that it’s just so easy! The biggest nuisance I encountered was how long the cheesecake needs to chill (12-24 hours) but that part is absolutely essential and the results are well worth the wait… People who aren’t used to soy are often quite suspicious when they hear of this dessert but I promise, it’s impossible to tell!
My first idea was to look for a soy or vegan cheesecake recipe online. I quickly realized that avenue would be tedious and most of all, EXPENSIVE. Vegan ingredients are not cheap and many of the recipes I came across required ingredients that I would never use again. No, thank you. So then I looked at regular dairy cheesecake recipes and it hit me… Use a dairy recipe and simply subsititute the dairy cream cheese for THIS:
I have been able to come across this product at every Kroger I’ve been to and of course stores like Earth Fare and Whole Foods carry it or a similar version. That is pretty much where the vegan/soy ingredients end for this recipe as I still use eggs and unsalted butter.
My recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe which I found on FoodNetwork.com… Here is the original. I picked this recipe mostly because it does not require a water bath, a step which many traditional cheesecake recipes require. I skipped that mostly out of laziness but it has paid of ten-fold considering I get lovely, fluffy cheesecakes every time with not a single crack yet. Conclusion? Water baths are for the birds.
I have only ever baked my version of her recipe but there is a lot of room for substitutions wherever you might see fit. For example, the original recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of lemon zest but per my boyfriend’s request, I have reduced it to 1/2 tablespoon. Much of this is personal preference and taste.
I have baked a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake and a blueberry cheesecake with this base recipe so I will go over both of those toppings but you could top this cheesecake any way you wish – it is very versatile… Let’s begin!
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 9 inch springform pan, greased
For the Filling:
- 3 8oz. containers of Tofutti Cream Cheese
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- 5 whole large eggs, room temperature*
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature*
- 1/4 cup Tofutti Sour Cream
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
*To get room temperature eggs, I cracked the eggs and put them in two separate bowls – one for whole eggs and one for egg yolks. I then covered both of the bowls with plastic wrap and let sit out on my kitchen counter for about 30 minutes.
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) To make the crust, I put the graham crackers in a freezer bag and crushed them using a rolling pin. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter and pour into your 9-inch springform pan. Spread the crumbs evenly all along the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes and let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
3) Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
4) To make the filling, mix the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs 2 at a time followed by the egg yolks. Mix well and scrape down the bowl and beater as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
5) Place pan with cake batter on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes then immediately turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes.
6) Turn the oven off and open the door wide. Do not be alarmed that your cake is not completely set in the center. If tapped, it will wobble a bit. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. This part is very important for those who wish to avoid cracks. None of my cheesecakes have ever cracked and I considered this step vital since I do not use a water bath.
7) Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature on a wire rack for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Gently go around with edges of the cake with a knife to loosen it from the pan. Wrap loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate 12-24 hours (36 is fine, also, I have found.) The bottom of your springform pan will most likely form some condensation or leak a bit so I recommend placing your pan on a baking sheet, foil or some other surface when you refrigerate it.