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Cheesecake is a sweet dessert made with a soft fresh cheese (typically cottage cheese, cream cheese, quark or ricotta), eggs, and sugar. It may have a crust or base made from crushed cookies (or digestive biscuits), graham crackers, pastry, or sometimes sponge cake. Cheesecake may be baked or unbaked, and is usually refrigerated.

Vanilla, spices, lemon, chocolate, pumpkin, or other flavors may be added to the main cheese layer. Additional flavors and visual appeal may be added by topping the finished dessert with fruit, whipped cream, nuts, cookies, fruit sauce, chocolate syrup, or other ingredients.

Culinary classification

Modern cheesecake is not usually classified as an actual "cake", despite the name (compare with Boston cream "pie"). Some people classify it as a torte due to the usage of many eggs, which are the sole source of leavening, as a key factor. Others find compelling evidence that it is a custard pie, based on the overall structure, with the separate crust, the soft filling, and the absence of flour. Other sources identify it as a flan, or tart. There are also variations that can be savoury, such as smoked salmon cheesecake.


An ancient form of cheesecake may have been a popular dish in ancient Greece even prior to Romans' adoption of it with the conquest of Greece. The earliest attested mention of a cheesecake is by the Greek physician Aegimus (5th century BCE), who wrote a book on the art of making cheesecakes (πλακουντοποιικόν σύγγραμμα—plakountopoiikon sungramma). The earliest extant cheesecake recipes are found in Cato the Elder's De Agri Cultura, which includes recipes for three cakes for religious uses: libum, savillum and placenta. Of the three, placenta cake is the most like modern cheesecakes: having a crust that is separately prepared and baked.

A more modern version called a sambocade, made with elderflower and rose water, is found in Forme of Cury, an English cookbook from 1390. On this basis, the English chef Heston Blumenthal argues that cheesecake is an English invention.

Before sharing this recipe file of advanced cheesecake recipes, I felt I should share a basic cheesecake recipe and procedure.

PHILADELPHIA 3-Step Cheesecake

By far this is the easiest and most consistent recipe to use for a quick result. I of course make modifications to it, to produce a better result...but it works. Many of the adjustments I make will be found in the second series of recipes. A basic cheesecake is like a pallette for my own ideas. Just about anything can be done with a cheesecake to reflect interesting ideas. Some ideas I have explored in the past are maple mousse, lemon meringue, triple chocolate ganache and more.

PHILADELPHIA 3-Step Cheesecake -
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Cheers, and Have a great weekend!

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