Amazing Basic Gluten-Free Cheesecake
Itttttttt’s cheesecake season. In the Jewish calendar, that is. Because Shavuot, the holiday where cheesecake and all dairy foodstuffs abound, begins this Saturday night.
And boy do I got a cheesecake recipe for you. This cheesecake is, quite simply, the best plain cheesecake I’ve ever made. And not just that. It’s also gluten-free, thanks to a crust made with almond flour instead of graham crackers or cookies.
And, for real yo, I like this gluten-free crust more than a regular ground cookie crust. It’s so much tastier and richer and more addictive.
This amazing basic cheesecake is amazing because:
it’s so creamy and velvety
it’s rich but also light and fluffy
it’s vanilla with hints of lemon flavor
it’s got a perfect sweetness to tartness balance
it’s got the bestest crust
it’s customizable and can be topped with any toppings and garnishes your heart desires
That lemon undertone in this amazing cheesecake is kindly provided by freshly zested lemon rind included in the almond flour crust. As well as by freshly squeezed lemon juice included in the topping.
That tartness is generously enabled by the sour cream topping that’s layered over the cheesecake filling mid-baking.
And that creaminess and fluffiness is the result of the perfect ratio of cream cheese to sugar to eggs. For real, those three ingredients are all that go into the filling (aside from vanilla extract). But then there’s the sour cream topping, of course, to amp up the flavor.
About the gluten-free crust.
It’s almond flour. And sugar. And lemon zest and salt. And butter, obvs, to moisten and add buttery flavor and richness.
The nuttiness of the almond flour, the richness of the butter, the lightness of the lemon zest - all these things make for one epic, addictive, tender, fatty, and flavorful crust. The best type of cheesecake crust one could ask for, imho.
For me, the most annoying part about making a cheesecake is the waiting time, the time it takes for the cheesecake to set and cool once it’s baked. It takes like 6 hours!!!!!
It’s irksome, okay? I want my cheesecake ASAP. But alas, cheesecake is one of those desserts that simply cannot be eaten straight from the oven.
I also find the whole water bath situation kinda irritating. Like, I know it’s a shame having my cheesecake split and crack on top, but that water bath, man - isss aggravating.
The good thing about this gluten-free cheesecake (amongst all its other merits) is that the topping can cover up those potential cracks.
And the good thing about cheesecake in general (amongst all its other merits) is that you can always spread or pipe or garnish or decorate the top with whatever you’d like, to beautify it and conceal imperfections. Caramel, chocolate drizzles or shavings, fruit preserves, fresh fruits, cookies, whipped cream, candies, meringue, frosting - all are acceptable and welcome.
Velvety and creamy. Rich and flavorful. Fluffy and light. Sweet and tart. Tender and dense.
Amazing basic gluten-free cheesecake - I want you + coffee forever and ever.
Amazing Basic Gluten-Free Cheesecake
Yield: 9” cheesecake/8-10 servings
2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Pinch of salt
3 oz. (3/4 stick) butter, melted
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 small eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 large lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” springform pan. Double wrap foil tightly around the outside of the pan (to prevent leaking from water bath).
2. Crust: In a medium bowl, stir together the crust ingredients. Press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool.
3. Filling: Prepare a water bath by placing a large tray into oven and then filling tray with 3/4-inch of boiling water (to prevent cheesecake from cracking).
4. In an electric stand mixer or food processor, blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract and blend until just smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust. Bang against countertop a few times to remove air bubbles.
5. Gently place cheesecake into water bath and bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges are mostly set but center is still somewhat jiggly. Let cheesecake cool 10 minutes before topping.
6. Topping: In a medium bowl, stir together the topping ingredients. Gently spread onto cheesecake. Return cheesecake to oven for 20-30 minutes, until the topping is just starting to get darker but cheesecake is still mostly pale and slightly jiggly in center.
7. Let cheesecake cool at room temperature for an hour before transferring to fridge to set and cool, preferably overnight. Run a knife along edges of cake to release it from the pan. Open the springform and remove the ring. Garnish cheesecake as desired or leave plain.