My Mother’s Classic New York Cheesecake

Sunday May 31, 2015

This was our family cheesecake growing up. My mother clipped the recipe out of the New York Times Sunday edition in the 1960s. It contains cottage cheese, which makes for a dense cake, New York Jewish deli style. She served it with a package of defrosted sweetened strawberries spooned over.

Up until the early 1900s, cheesecakes were made with cottage cheese, which made a cakey cheesecake with its own unique texture. To get the height of a traditional New York-style cheesecake, bake this in a springform pan with high (3-inch) sides. If you’re not sure about the dimensions of your pan, use a ruler to measure the inside of the pan. To prevent cracks and ensure a creamy texture, the cheesecake needs to cool gradually in the closed oven with the heat turned off for two hours. There is no crust on this cake.

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake


  • 1 tablespoon soft butter, for greasing pan
  • 1 pound small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (1 pint) sour cream


1. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 3-inch deep 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, cover the bottom and extending up the sides to prevent leaks or place on a foil lined baking sheet. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 325º with the oven rack set to the middle level.

3. Place the cottage cheese and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time; beat until combined. Sprinkle in the cornstarch and flour; beat until smooth. Add the melted butter, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla to cream cheese mixture; beat well. Add sour cream, stirring until well blended. Pour mixture into prepared pan. I place the pan on a baking sheet.

4. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set and the sides are light golden brown. Turn the oven heat off. Cool cheesecake in the closed, turned off oven 2 hours. If you have an electric oven, crack the oven door. Remove cheesecake from oven; run a knife around outside edge. Cool to room temperature on a rack, another 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until cold and set, at least 4 hours. Best left to chill overnight.

Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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