Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Cheesecake With Sour Cream Topping


Covered with a sour cream topping, this creamy cheesecake is finished with a fresh strawberry compote. It's a big hit with kids - they have even requested it for their birthdays!
  • Serves: 10 to 12
  • Active Time: 1 hr
  • Total Time: 12 hrs
  • Views: 87,764
  • Success Rating: 78% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Crushing the Graham Wafers

• 1 1/4 cups graham wafers


First preheat your oven to 375° F (190° C).

To crush the wafers, place 1/2 box (about 200 grams) into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Measure out 1 1/4 cups and set aside.

Step 2: Making the Crust

• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup melted butter


In a medium-sized bowl, mix the graham wafers and sugar until evenly combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir until everything is evenly moistened.

Step 3: Shaping the Crust

• 9" -inch springform pan


Pour the graham mixture into a 9" -inch springform pan. Press the mixture down firmly to form an even layer. Set aside.

Step 4: Preparing the Cream Cheese Mise

• 1 lb cream cheese (or 2 - 225 g packages), room temperature
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


Before you start, make sure the cream cheese and eggs are at room temperature.

Measure the sugar and vanilla.

Step 5: Making the Cream Cheese Layer


In a large bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and sugar together on medium to medium-high speed. Once fully combined, add the vanilla and one egg. Blend until smooth and fully incorporated. Scrape the bowl down from time to time to ensure everything is being mixed together evenly. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly each time.

Don’t mix on high speed – this will incorporate too much air into the batter and the cheesecake won’t be as dense once it bakes.

Step 6: Filling the Cheesecake Pan


Pour the mixture over the crust. Gently tap the pan to encourage any air bubbles to rise to the surface.

Step 7: Baking the First Layer of the Cheesecake


Place the cheesecake into a preheated oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the center no longer jiggles when gently shaken.

Step 8: Cooling the First Layer


Once the first layer has baked, let it cool for at approximately 15 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 450° F (235° C).

Step 9: Preparing the Sour Cream Topping

• 1 pt sour cream
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract


While the cheesecake is cooling, whisk the sour cream, sugar and vanilla together until smooth.

Step 10: Adding the Sour Cream Topping


Once the cheesecake has cooled for approximately 15 minutes, pour the sour cream topping over top. Using a rubber spatula or offset spatula, smooth out the surface.

Place back into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature.

Step 11: Cooling and Storing the Cheesecake


Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight to fully set.

Step 12: Preparing the Topping

• 4 cups fresh strawberries
• 3 to 5 tbsp sugar
• 1 to 3 tsp cornstarch


Wash and pat the strawberries dry. Core and quarter them. Set half aside.

In a medium pot, add half of the strawberries. Add the sugar until the strawberries are sweet enough to your liking. Heat over medium heat and cook until the strawberries begin to break down. Roughly mash using a fork or potato masher.

Mix the cornstarch with equal parts water and add a bit at a time to the simmering strawberries. Let cook for a minute or so before adding more (if needed). Once you reach a sauce-like consistency, turn off the heat and let cool completely.

Step 13: Serving the Cheesecake


To serve the cheesecake, gently mix the remaining strawberries into the fruit topping.

Slice a piece of cheesecake and pour a few tablespoons of the strawberry compote over top. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

This cheesecake can be served with other types of compote such as blackberry, cherry or blueberry.


  • Simona H
    Simona H
  • Dara M
    Dara M
    This is yet another fabulous tutorial from Rouxbe. I learn something every time I visit your site.
  • Joann B
    Joann B
    Hwello everyone, can you eliminate the sour cream topping and just do the strawberries? If you can, do you just let the cheeesecake cook an extra 10 minutes before being to cool it? Thank you JoAnn
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Yes you can eliminate the topping, just cook the rest of the cheesecake until it is set. Just keep in mind that it will be a bit thinner due to the fact that there is no second layer. If you like, you could always use an 8" inch springform instead. Cheers!
  • Charles S
    Charles S
    This recipe calls for less than half the cream cheese than others I've seen. And indeed when I made this cheesecake per the recipe I ended up with a strangely thin cake to my eye - even with the topping (I used creme fraiche). By volume, it was also too sweet. You could easily reduce the sugar by a third or maybe even half if sticking with only one pound of cream cheese. It absolutely needs an 8" springform (I used a 9" model), even with the topping. The last ten minutes at 450 is also going to make the vast majority of run-of-the-mill sour creams start to separate - they have carrageenan and guar gum thickeners that will run when subjected to the heat called for in the last cooking step of this recipe. The methodology also calls for extreme care when mixing the ingredients. The combination of relatively high heat, no bain Marie, and short cooking time will almost surely result in a cracked cake if too much air is whipped into the ingredients. DO NOT use a hand mixer for this cake - use your stand mixer WITH THE PADDLE NOT THE WHISK and mix on setting 1 or 2 and just barely until the ingredients are mixed. Hand mixers even on a low speed will beat too much air into the ingredients, especially if you are mixing in a bowl that's too large and whose sides are not as upright as the mixing bowl of a typical stand mixer. Do not use a whisk, even if hand powered. Whisks are designed to move air into a mixture which is an absolute no-no with cheesecake. I strongly recommend a lower heat, longer cooking time in a bain Marie. The cooking strategy in this recipe may very well be a professional one - it calls for less than half the cooking time of most recipes I've seen, but boy a whole lot can go wrong. 'Nother thing - don't use a dark springform pan with the temps involved in this recipe and especially since no bain Marie is called for. Just use a plain bright aluminum pan. I'd also recommend buttering the pan, which this recipe did not mention.
  • Kariman H
    Kariman H
    Is there a substitute to the cornstarch?
  • Kariman H
    Kariman H
    Thanks Kimberley :)
  • John C
    John C
    If I double the recipe for a thicker cheesecake, how much more cooking time would I need if I cook at 350 degrees instead of 450? I will be using a dark 9" springform. Also, is there a formula for these types of conversions? Thanks much!
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    We used a 9" springform pan for this recipe, so make sure the sides of your pan are very tall or else a double recipe will run over the sides during baking. The first part of the cheesecake is cooked at 375 - you can lower the heat slightly (350ish) and bake the same way: until the center no longer jiggles when gently shaken. The second topping is baked at 450 - this you won't have to change. Good luck!
  • John C
    John C
    Kimberly, thanks for getting back. Do you have any idea how Charles (above) would have ended up with such a thin cheesecake? It was because of his comments that I thought about doubling the recipe.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Hi John, This is simply a different-style cheesecake - not super dense or high. It's just a different recipe. I suggest you try the recipe as is and then make tweaks to it based on what you like or dislike. Let us know how it goes! Happy baking! :)
  • Rebecca B
    Rebecca B
    I wish that I had taken the time to read the comments -- especially those by Charles S. I did not mind that the cheesecake was thin. However, the recipe was too dry. I usually make smaller cheesecakes in my pressure cooker, which turn out tall and velvety smooth. This cheesecake was dry and crumbly. Each layer cracked in several places while still in the oven -- even though I confirmed my oven temperature with a thermometer. Once completely cool, I was able to smooth out the cracks in the top layer with a butter knife dipped in boiling hot water. The cheesecake was not very pretty, and so I decided to cover the entire top with a marion berry compote (the fruit currently in season in my region) and served it to my guests. With the touchup, this cake was passable. I would probably not choose to make this recipe again.
  • Barb H
    Barb H
    This recipe was so simple and turned out beautiful! I'm curious what causes the sour cream layer to set? The sugar and high heat?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You are correct, it's the sugar and the heat. Nice work! :-)
  • Nancy K
    Nancy K
    Hi, My cheesecakes are a family favorite but there always seems to be 'wet' spots in the crust. If there are any leftovers the crust is all wet by the third day. I've tries clarifying the butter, using less and using a bit more crumbs but still moisture is leaking through somehow. Any help please. Nancy
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    To ensure a very crisp crumb crust, you can prebake crumb crusts prior to filling them. Also make sure to pack the crumbs tightly. Due to the nature of cheesecake and its moisture content, it's normal for the crust to start to become soft by day 3. You can try brushing the crust with beaten egg white during the last few minutes of baking to seal the crust from the moisture but, again, it will only last so long. Best to eat the cheesecake sooner rather than later :-) Cheers!
  • Nancy K
    Nancy K
    Thanks Kimberley, I'll try the egg white. Nancy
  • Jim M
    Jim M
    I made this as a desert for a holiday party. Usually not a good idea to try something completely different for public consumption without practicing first. But the recipe is a good one and the advice was valuable. I got rave reviews. I'd like to thank Charles S for his advice on mixing. I used my stand mixer on 1 or 2. I had no problems with cracking of either layer, despite using a 10" pan. With the 10" pan the bottom layer was done in just under 20 minutes. I also used less sugar, per his advice, only 3/8 cup for the cream cheese layer and the called for amounts in the other layers. I think I'll go with only 1/4 cup next time. I think Americans like things too sweet. With the 10" pan it was more like a tort, thickness wise, than a cake. So I called it my dieters cheesecake, each slice has less calories that a usual cheesecake. Being thinner, for a given size of slice, it is a true statement. I had a happy accident. I was wondering why I had two bottles of vanilla extract, until I tasted the result. I had used almond extract instead and the result was wonderful. Since berries are out of season, unless you want to spend $8/lb I used a bag of frozen strawberries and a bag of frozen mixed berries. I used the strawberries to make the sauce and strained it after cooking. This preserved most of the flavor and yielded a nice clear sauce, almost like a glaze. Once the thawed and drained mixed berries were folded in it made a very colorful addition. One interesting note, I used local free range chicken eggs. The yolks were a very deep yellow which resulted in the cake taking on a much richer yellow color than the photos in the recipe. It made a nice contrast to the brown of the crust and the white of the sour cream layer. All in all it was a great success, although I may look around for 8" or 9" pan for next time. Thanks Rouxbe for making me look great!
  • Coco H
    Coco H
    Hi, in my area it is hard to find a ready made sour cream would it be possible to give me a recipe how to make a sour cream?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Coco- There are lots of different ways to create sour cream (just google search it and you'll see many results) but we have a really excellent "Crème Fraîche" video. It is a french style cultured cream that is thick and tangy... I think you will enjoy it. Cheers.
  • Lili I
    Lili I
    I made this cheesecake this weekend. I added some peacans in the crust and did not add any sugar to it. I removed a bit of the sugar from the cream cheese layer. All in all, the cheesecake came out good. But I think it's too sweet, even after I removed the sugar from crust. I will probably try it again with even less sugar and see how it turns out. I think it's important to get a good sour cream without any additives or thickeners in it. I love all Rouxbe recipes, some are harder than others but always fun to try!
  • Angela M
    Angela M
    I live in Australia and in our part of the country they do not sell graham wafers. Any other biscuits I could use. Thanks so much!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Angela - I wasn't sure either so I did a search... it seems like people have used Digestives or Marie biscuits. Give it a try and let us know how it turns out? ~Ken
  • Michelle R
    Michelle R
    Hello, this recipe is fantastic! The strawberry topping and the sour cream are delicious, but my crust was too crunchy. Is there a way to make sure my crust is firm but soft (not runny or wet) rather than extremely crunchy? Everything else turned out great, it's just that I prefer a softer crust than others.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Try a couple of things, Michelle... First, grind the graham crackers/wafers very fine before introducing the butter. This method creates a tender crust. If this is not quite what you want, you can introduce a little bit of moisture (water) to the ground graham crackers. Toss the cracker crumbs to evenly distribute the moisture before adding the butter. Lastly, when forming the crust, press firmly, but not too firmly, as over-packing the crust will make it dense and hard.
  • Wendy L
    Wendy L
    hi guys, thanks for this recipe. I had baked a cheesecake that had big cracks in it and was looking for a topping to fix. After smoothing the cracks with a little water I added the sour cream topping as per above but substituted about 200ml of sour cream with double cream. Wasnt sure the topping would set, but it did. Will let you know how it goes down at tonight’s party.

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