Cheesecake is my favorite dessert. We make it almost every holiday and for birthdays too!
My husband Steve, celebrated his birthday this week and he requested cheesecake. Oh darn. Make a cheesecake. Twist my arm. Ok! Ok! I’ll do it. To celebrate, the kids (you remember those cute little things that are now all adults? *sigh*) went with us to dinner, but we didn’t have the usual blow-out-the-candles party at home. Since we are trying to eat healthier and watch our portions, making a big cheesecake for the two of us, didn’t make sense.
Thankfully, I found these little 4 1/2″springform pans at Sur La Table that make a perfect mini cheesecake. Just one of these little cakes, was perfect for us to have dessert twice during the week and not feel guilty! The other cheesecake went straight into the freezer for us to enjoy later.
Most of the time, we make our cheesecake with a sour cream topping. This time however, we went with the sour cream topping AND some of my Triple Berry Sauce! It’s a birthday celebration, why not go all out, right?
This cheesecake starts with a simple graham cracker crust. When the kids were little, we put the grahams in a plastic bag and let them crush the crackers into bits with a rolling-pin. Then they would add sugar and melted butter to the bag and massage the ingredients together to form the mixture for the crust. I have to be honest, there are times I still do this, just because it’s fun! If you insist on being a grown-up, you can do it in your food processor.
When the crust mixture is ready, split it in half and press each half gently into the bottom of each springform pan. Then, using your stand mixer, combine the ingredients for the cheesecake. Split the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and let them cool. If you’re going to freeze one of the cheesecakes, unmold it from the springform pan and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. It will stay good in your freezer for up to six months.
Prepare the sour cream topping and spread it carefully over cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. When I make cheesecake, I bake and top it the night before so it will be ready to serve the next day. Once everything is chilled and you’re ready to serve, spoon the berry sauce over the top!
Doesn’t this look like a perfect birthday treat? I think so! Plus, we have another cheesecake for later this Fall and we reduced our portions by making a smaller version of the original. If you ask me, that’s a birthday win-win!
Cheesecake for Two
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups (about 20 squares) graham cracker crumbs
3 TBLS sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
For the Cheesecake:
2 pkgs (8 oz each) Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or one whole vanilla bean, split and scraped)
For the Sour Cream Topping
1 cup sour cream
2 TBLS sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using the bottom of your springform pan as a guide, cut out two circles of parchment paper that are the same size as your pan.
Lightly grease the bottoms and sides of your springform pans, then lay the parchment circle in the bottom of the pan and grease the top of the parchment. Set aside until ready to use.
For the Graham Cracker Crust
Crush graham crackers into crumbs by placing them in a gallon size plastic storage bag and using your rolling pin, roll back and forth over the crackers to crush them into crumbs.
Alternatively, you can pulse them a few times in the bowl of your food processor.
Add sugar and melted butter and mush around in the bag until all the crumbs are coated with butter and the mixture is very wet.
Alternatively, add butter and sugar to your food processor and pulse a few more times until mixture is well blended and looks like wet sand.
Press graham crackers into the bottom of your prepared 4 1/2 inch nonstick springform pans.
For the Cheesecake
Slightly beat softened cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer.
Add sugar and continue to beat another minute or two or until the mixture is smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute between each egg.
Add the vanilla extract (or scraped vanilla, if using the whole bean) and continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy and velvety smooth.
Pour over crusts in prepared pans, splitting the batter evenly between the two.
Bake until firm, about 20 minutes.
Cool cheesecake on a rack for at least 30 minutes.
While cheesecake is cooling, make your topping.
Sour Cream Topping
Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until thoroughly combined.
Pour over cooled cheesecakes and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Cut cold cheesecake into pieces and serve!
To use frozen cheesecake, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then top with half the sour cream mix or your own favorite toppings.