Birthday Cheesecake

cheesecake-recipe-photo-by-elayne-prechtel

My middle guy turns 14 today and guess what that means?  A cheesecake with strawberries has to be made to celebrate the festivities.  A nontraditional birthday cake to say the least but it’s pretty easy to pull together so I don’t mind at all.  I’m dying to cut into it to get a prettier picture but I’m exercising restraint so it is a fully intact “cake” for tonight!

In the past, I have always used the recipe on the back of the cream cheese package but I figured it was high time that I made our own version which is just as simple and just as tasty.

Simple Cheesecake Recipe 

The only trick to cheesecake is to plan ahead as all the filling ingredients need to be at room temperature (don’t cheat on this step, trust me!) and you will need several hours for it to cool in and out of the refrigerator.

For Crust:

1 ½ cup Graham Cracker Crumbs (typically 1 1/4 packages of graham crackers)

¼ cup Sugar

1 stick Butter, melted

 

For Filling:

Three 8 oz. packages Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 cup Sugar

1 cup Fage Plain Greek Yogurt, room temperature 

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract

3 Large Eggs, room temperature

 

For Topping: 

1 Quart Strawberries, sliced

1-2 Tbsp. Sugar

 

Preheat oven to 325.  Place a 9 x 13 pan filled halfway with water onto middle rack of oven. This will add moisture to the oven and help prevent cracking.  You can also place your cheesecake pan in a water bath (wrapped in foil and immersed in water) but that’s a lot more steps than I am prepared for this early in the morning.  = )

Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely processed.  Measure out 1 ½ cups of crumbs and place in bowl along with sugar and melted butter.  Stir together and then firmly press into bottom of 9” spring form pan.  Place onto baking sheet.

For filling, in the bowl of standard electric mixer, combine room temperature cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add in room temperature yogurt and vanilla; and mix.  Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, mixing just a couple of times after each addition.  It is important not to overmix.  Mix just until blended.  Pour filling onto crust.

Place into oven on rack above 9 x 13” pan and bake for approximately 70 minutes or until center is slightly jiggly.  Start watching it around the 55 minute mark just to make sure it is not browning too much.

Remove from oven and run knife around outer rim of pan.  Let cool on baking rack, away from any drafts, for about 2 hours.  The center will finish cooking as it cools.  Remove outer rim of pan and carefully lift cake onto serving plate (remembering that there is a bottom piece of glass on the bottom of the cake from the spring form pan).  Place cake in refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.

Just before serving, prep topping:  Slice strawberries and sprinkle with sugar.  Stir and then let sit for approximately 10-15 minutes to get the juices of the strawberries flowing.  Remove cake from refrigerator (In our case, add candles and sing Happy Birthday) and then slice into wedges.  Spoon strawberries over the top of each slice and serve.  If you want to add even more richness (or treat the birthday boy), serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Hope you enjoy this cheesecake as much as my middle guy!

Much Love,

Elayne

http://www.sharingourlifeloveandfood.com

P.S.  I have a couple fun announcements coming soon so stay tuned!

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