Even though there are many kinds of cheesecake in the world – ricotta cheesecake, vegan cheesecake, marbled cheesecake – the one that springs to mind at the first mention of the word is not the light, airy version that is a delight on a hot summer day, but the velvety, ultra-indulgent, creamy cheesecake. This would be that kind of cheesecake.
The recipe comes from one of the cookbooks of a favorite food blogger of mine, David Lebovitz‘s Ripe for Dessert. The book is all about fruit and fruit desserts, with recipes from the fairly basic, like Apple and Quince Tarte Tatin, to the more unusual, such as Mango Napoleons with Lime Custard and Coconut Flatties. Of course, the cheesecake itself has no fruit in it. David meant for it to be served with mixed berrries, which I omitted out of sheer laziness. By all means, feel free to slice up some berries of your choice for serving.
The cheesecake has a secret ingredient that contributes to its texture: mascarpone. The use of mascarpone makes the cheecake a little lighter and a little silkier than one you would get if you used all cream cheese. The technique used to bake the cake is a little unusual, as well. It is cooked in a water bath and then, after the appropriate amount of time, the oven is turned off and the cheesecake continues to “cook” for another 30 minutes. This slow cooking means that the cheesecake stays smoother than most and seems just barely done when it comes out of the oven. It sets up more as it cools.
I decided that a thicker crust than originall called for would complement the creamy cake best, so I doubled the small amount David called for. You can halve the crust recipe below, but since I love crust, I can’t really imagine that you would want any less. Use the best graham crackers or cookies you can find. Gingersnaps would work well here, but cookies with too much cinnamon might be overpowering.
This is really a fantastic cheesecake, especially if you like your cheesecakes to be rich. It has a fairly mild flavor and a slightly yellow color due to the number of eggs used. This cheesecake must be served cold or it might just melt itself right off your fork. It does seem a bit lighter once it has warmed up, however, so the very best option might be to slice the cake cold and let the individual slices warm up for a few minutes before serving.
Creamy Mascarpone Cheesecake
(from Ripe for Dessert)
16-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 large eggs, room temperature
16-oz mascarpone, room temperature
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp sugar (optional, if your cookies need it)
Make the crust:
Preheat oven to 375F. Combine crumbs, butter and sugar and stir together. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan and bake for about 10 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
Make the cheesecake:
Heat oven to 325 F and get out a large roasting pan that will fit the springform pan. Cover the sides and bottom of the springform pan very, very well with aluminum foil.
In a food processor, blend sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add in vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, until blended and smooth. Add in mascarpone and process again. Pour into the crust and place in roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and fill halfway up the sides of the springform with warm water.
Bake for 55 minutes at 325. Turn off the oven and leave the cake inside for 20-30 minutes, until the center just seems set but will still ripple when the pan is jiggled (I left mine in for a bit longer, about 35 minutes, since it seemed a bit loose).
Remove from water bath and cool compeletely on a wire rack. When it has cooled, refrigerate overnight or until cold, before serving.
Serves 12, but it could be more or less depending on how much you like cheesecake.
BrilynnSeptember 8, 2006
I loooove cheesecake, and if I had all the ingredients I would make that right now.
Yesterday I made a sour cherry pie using your whole wheat pie crust recipe and it turned out great, thanks for the recipe!
JenniferSeptember 8, 2006
Oh, how I love cheesecake! And this one looks divine!
BronSeptember 8, 2006
RianaSeptember 8, 2006
This looks sooo soft.. Ow, how I love cheesecake..
bint majnoonaSeptember 8, 2006
i have the same recipe book by lebovitz and i must say, it’s the eden of fruit desserts. there’re some very original ones with innovative techniques/combinations. i love your blog – i check in at least every 2 or 3 days. good job, nic!
My SpaceSeptember 10, 2006
Your cheesecake look yummy ..yummy! hope I can learn to bake it one day.
JaneSeptember 15, 2007
I sell cheesecakes and this recipe sound delicious. I will have to give it a try to see how it compares to mine. Thanks
SusanMarch 9, 2008
I made a recipe for Mascarpone Cheesecake by Giada DeLaurentis. The ingredient quantites are similar as is the baking technique. The crust had ground almonds in it as well. It was wonderfully silky smooth and the flavor was so creamy compared to all cream cheese cheesecakes. I added a hint of almond extract to the vanilla to give a hint of almond flavor into the filling as well. I like the idea of allowing the cake to stew in the water bath with the oven off. I will try this next time I bake a Mascarpone cheese cake. Giada’s recipe wasn’t nearly done in the time given and I felt I had to bake it up to half an hour longer. The top really browned deeply all over..but it was smooth and not at all tought like you would think a skin on top would be. Thanks for posting the recipe.
Aliena VargheseJanuary 21, 2010
Was wondering if the cream cheese can be substituted with cottage cheese in the same measurement. Because to procure cream cheese/ ricotta/ mascarpone is all so difficult here in Bangalore. Was wanting your help a bit here
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made a recipe for Mascarpone Cheesecake by Giada DeLaurentis. The ingredient quantites are similar as is the baking technique. The crust had ground almonds in it as well.
p90xApril 25, 2010
have the same recipe book by lebovitz and i must say, itâ€™s the eden of fruit desserts. thereâ€™re some very original ones with innovative techniques
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Jodie CoherOctober 25, 2010
Tried this recipe for my first EVER cheesecake, and it turned out beautifully! Thank you for sharing.
IRENEApril 15, 2012
I have this cheese cake in the oven right now. I used shortbread cookies cause I’m in Ireland and can’t find any graham crackers here yet. I like the idea of ground almonds in the crust as well. I’ll try that next time. Love the recipe. Thanx!
IRENEApril 15, 2012
Oh ya, any ideas for toppings out there?
ElizabethSeptember 30, 2012
This cheesecake was one of the best we’ve had! Very light and wonderful flavor. We did alter it slightly and added a tablespoon of melted chocolate to the top, and swirled it for taste and decoration.
GabriellaJanuary 22, 2013
Just made this cheesecake recipe paired with Giada’s recipe for a toasted almond crust.
Either my oven recently morphed or the baking time is way off…. — in fear of losing moisture, I stuck to the baking time in hopes of the cake solidifying more during overnight cooling. It did firm up a bit, but upon cutting into the cake, it’s obvious it wasn’t cooked enough to fully set.
That being said, this is the tastiest cheesecake I’ve ever made…or tried. Creamy and delicious, and I mean creamy. I covered the top with a Nutella ganache and decorated it with a ring of Ferrero Rochers. To die for … if only it was set. Beware, and cook until YOU think is right!
MicheleFebruary 11, 2013
I don’t have a food processor, I’m wondering if i could make this and have it come out ok without using it
Donna GiambalvoMay 10, 2013
I’m baking as I write, I had to turn oven back on seems it needed more time, next one will be 1 1/2 hour cooking time.
Looks wonderful, I’m saving recipe, and passing it on looks like a winner except for extra cooking time.