Classic Cherry Cheesecake Recipe

It's pretty hard not to love cheesecake — the creamy, tangy flavor tastes oh-so good. You can't go wrong with serving up a classic, plain cheesecake, but if you want to add a pop of color and sweetness, a fruit topping is the way to go. Recipe developer Jessica Morone has crafted this classic cherry cheesecake, and it really is the perfect dessert for a casual dinner or get-together. "My favorite thing about this cheesecake is that it is actually rather simple to make," Morone says. "There aren't a ton of ingredients, and it's very easy to put together."

Sure, you may feel daunted by an initial glance at the bake time for this recipe — a whopping 80 minutes, plus several hours for cooling — but Morone assures us that the oven will be doing all of the work. "It's also fairly foolproof, so even if you do something wrong and end up with cracks in the top of your cheesecake, you are putting the cherry topping on top and that will cover up any imperfections so it will still look beautiful," she adds. So don't sweat the small missteps — and certainly don't stress over making a perfectly smooth cheesecake — it's going to taste delicious no matter what, and thanks to the cherries, it'll look pretty darn good as well.

Gather the ingredients for this cherry cheesecake

To make this classic cheesecake, you'll need a few classic baking ingredients, including granulated sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. "The special ingredient in this cheesecake is almond extract," Morone explains. "It adds a great flavor to the cheesecake that goes very well with the cherries." In fact, almonds are technically stone fruit, just like cherries. Finally, you'll also need some graham cracker crumbs, softened cream cheese, sour cream, and a can of cherry pie filling.

Prep and bake the graham cracker crust

Get your oven preheating to 350 F, then grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Now, grab a medium-sized bowl and add in the graham cracker crumbs, ⅓ cup of sugar, and the melted butter. Mix these ingredients together, then turn the mixture out onto the prepared pan. Press the crumbs in tightly, so they form a crust at the bottom of the pan. Once the oven is preheated, pop the crust in, allowing it to bake for 10 minutes before removing and allowing it to cool completely. 

Now, reduce the oven's heat to 300 F. Fill a large baking dish with hot water, then place it on the bottom rack of the oven, leaving it there while you make the cheesecake itself. So, why are we giving our cheesecake a steam bath? This "makes the environment in the oven humid, similar to if you use a water bath," explains Morone. "This prevents the top of the cheesecake from setting too quickly and cracking."

Mix up the cheesecake batter

Add the softened cream cheese and remaining sugar to a large bowl, then use an electric hand mixer to beat them until smooth and creamy. Add in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat once again to incorporate the ingredients. Finally, add in the eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated. 

Bake and cool the cheesecake

Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan with the cooled crust, then pop it into the oven and bake for 70 minutes. Then, turn the oven off, but keep the cheesecake in the oven. Use a wooden spoon to prop the oven's door open, allowing the cheesecake to cool down in the oven for an hour. This step, like that steam bath we implemented, helps prevent unwanted cracking by ensuring the cooling process is gradual.

Once the hour is up, take the cheesecake out of the oven and place it on a wire rack, allowing it to cool completely. Then, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge, letting the cheesecake chill for at least 4 hours. 

Top the cheesecake off with cherry pie filling

Once the cheesecake is done cooling, run a knife along the rim of the pan to loosen it up a bit. Then, pop the ring off of the pan, leaving the cheesecake to rest on the bottom of the pan. Top the cheesecake off with the cherry pie filling, then slice it up and enjoy. "This cheesecake is great for any occasion, like any dinner or a party," Morone suggests. 

"While you want to refrigerate your cheesecake after making it, it actually tastes better at room temperature, so about 20 minutes before serving it, you might want to take it out of the fridge," she adds. And, if you happen to have leftovers, simply store them in the fridge for up to 4 days, and enjoy cherry cheesecake for dessert every night. 

Classic Cherry Cheesecake Recipe
5 from 17 ratings
You can't go wrong with serving up a classic, plain cheesecake, but if you want to add a pop of color and sweetness, a fruit topping is the way to go.
Prep Time
5.25
hours
Cook Time
1.33
hours
Servings
12
Servings
cherry cheesecake with slice cut
Total time: 6.58 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 7 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, ⅓ cup sugar, and melted butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan to form a crust.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 F. Fill a large baking dish with hot water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven.
  5. Use an electric or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar together until light and creamy. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix until well incorporated. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until just incorporated.
  6. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the baked crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 70 minutes, then turn the oven off. Use a wooden spoon to prop open the oven door and leave the cheesecake in the oven to cool for 1 hour.
  7. After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to fully cool on a wire rack. Once it reaches room temperature, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.
  8. Once chilled, run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the pan. Remove the ring of the springform pan and leave the cheesecake on the bottom of the pan. Spoon the cherry filling onto the top of the cheesecake and serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 374
Total Fat 24.0 g
Saturated Fat 13.2 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 91.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 36.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 18.8 g
Sodium 209.9 mg
Protein 4.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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