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Junior’s Cheesecake Recipe

This Junior’s cheesecake recipe is the best way to get that signature NYC taste at home!

Junior’s Cheesecake has been making its signature New York cheesecake since the 1950s.

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There are several kinds of cheesecake in the world, but if you ask me, New York cheesecake is the one to beat. It’s sinfully rich, dense, and oh-so-decadent!

Homemade Junior's Cheesecake with Berries

And if you’re from New York, you know that Junior’s is the go-to place for cheesecake.

With its unique combination of light and airy sponge cake “crust” and an ultra-smooth and silky cheesecake filling, Junior’s cheesecake is truly a work of art.

What better way to impress your friends with your baking skills than by making them the “World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake?” Let’s get the show started!

Junior’s Cheesecake Recipe

Every New Yorker will argue that Junior’s cheesecake is the best cheesecake in the world. The cheesecake is smooth, velvety, and insanely rich and creamy. 

What sets it apart from other cheesecakes, in my opinion, is the layer of sponge cake underneath.

The light and airy consistency is a wonderful contrast to the dense cheesecake. Together, they create the perfect balance.

I won’t lie to you: this cake requires a lot of work. Because you’ll essentially make two cakes – a sponge and a cheesecake – there are a handful of steps to go through. 

You’ll also need to be very patient, as it needs a few hours to cool and set before you get to eat it. 

But don’t worry, because as long as you follow the instructions to a tee, you’ll be fine! Also, believe me, all that hard work is worth the effort.

Ingredients 

Sponge Cake 

  • Cake Flour. The base of the cake. Cake flour ensures the cake is super light and airy. If you don’t have it on hand, make it yourself! Place a cup of all-purpose flour in a bowl. Take out 4 teaspoons and replace them with cornstarch. Sift the mixture twice, and voila.
  • Baking Powder. The leavening agent that will make the sponge cake rise.
  • Salt. For flavor enhancement.
  • Eggs. Separate the yolks from the whites. Beat the egg whites to get that light and airy cake consistency.
  • Granulated Sugar. For sweetness.
  • Vanilla and Lemon Extracts. To flavor the cake.
  • Butter, Melted. For richness.
  • Cream Of Tartar. To help stabilize the egg whites.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • Cream Cheese. Use brick cheese for a firmer consistency. Use full-fat for full flavor – now is not the time to worry about calories. Last, use softened, room-temperature cream cheese for a smooth and silky filling.
  • Sugar. To sweeten and balance out the tangy cream cheese.
  • Cornstarch. To help the cheesecake set.
  • Vanilla Extract. Just a bit to enhance flavor.
  • Eggs. For binding the ingredients together, giving the batter structure.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream. The key to a ridiculously smooth and creamy New York cheesecake.

Tips for the Best Cheesecake

  • Cheesecakes in general taste better the next day. They need a few hours for the flavors to marry. If you don’t give them time to set, they’ll taste a little eggy.
  • Use room-temperature eggs so that the ingredients incorporate easily with one another.
  • Do not underestimate the importance of a water batch. Cheesecake is like a delicate custard. It has to cook slowly, otherwise, it will crack, curdle, or darken. The water bath technique regulates the temperature of the oven, ensuring that the cake doesn’t cook too fast.
  • Be sure the sponge cake is completely cooled before adding the cream cheese filling. Otherwise, you might tear the cake apart!
  • You can make the sponge cake up to a day in advance. Cover it with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature.
  • To ensure clean slices, run the knife under hot water and dry with a paper towel. Wipe the knife with a paper towel in between slicing.
  • Topping suggestions:
    • Shaved chocolate
    • Fresh fruit
    • Fruit compote
    • Chocolate or caramel sauce
    • Lemon curd
    • Crushed candy
  • To remove the cake from the bottom of the spring-form pan easily, freeze it for 30 minutes. Gently slide it onto the serving cake with a 12-inch metal cake spatula. If you don’t have one, it’s fine, you can just transfer the cake onto the serving dish with the pan.
  • Cover leftover cheesecake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days. 
  • You can also freeze the cheesecake for up to 6 months. Wrap each slice with plastic wrap and foil and place them in freezer-safe bags. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Homemade Cheesecake with Berries

How Is This New York Style Cheesecake Different? 

New York cheesecakes are much firmer, denser, and richer than other cheesecakes. This one is so thick that it almost sticks to the roof of your mouth. 

The secret? A lot of cream cheese, heavy cream, and eggs. 

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Junior’s cheesecake is also quite unique in that it doesn’t come with the usual graham cracker crumb crust.

At the bottom of the cheesecake is a thin layer of fluffy sponge cake that offers a nice texture contrast to the silky cream cheese filling.

Why Did My Cheesecake Crack? 

First of all, if this does happen, don’t panic. A cracked cheesecake tastes just as good as a perfectly smooth one.

Plus, if you’re really bothered by it, you can always cover it up with toppings.

There are several factors that could lead to a cracked cheesecake. If you want to avoid it next time, here are a few tips:

  • Beat the ingredients at low speed. Over-beating the ingredients will incorporate air into the batter, which may cause cracks.
  • Do not overcook the cheesecake. This is the most common culprit for cracked cheesecakes. The best way to check for doneness is by using an instant-read thermometer, which should read 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, give the pan a little shake. The cake should still be jiggly in the center. Don’t worry, it will continue to bake as it cools.

  • Do not open the oven door during baking. Cheesecake hates changes in temperature.
  • Do not refrigerate the cake right away in an attempt to cool it faster. Let it cool on the wire rack for an hour before you pop it in the fridge.

More Amazing Cheesecake Recipes

Cheesecake Brownies
Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
Philadelphia No-Bake Cheesecake

Junior’s Cheesecake Recipe

Servings

12

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

5

hours 

10

minutes
Calories

538

kcal

Ingredients

  • Sponge Layer Cake
  • Sponge Cake Layer

  • 1/2 cup cake flour, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 pinch of salt

  • 3 large eggs, separated

  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 drops lemon extract

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • Cream Cheese Filling
  • Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages of softened cream cheese, divided

  • 1 2/3 granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

  • For the sponge cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease a 9-inch spring-form pan with oil or butter.
  • Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer at high speed for 3 minutes. Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar and beat for 5 more minutes, or until mixture forms into thick, pale yellow ribbons. Beat in vanilla and lemon extracts.
  • Pour the dry ingredients over the egg mixture and whisk manually until smooth. Stir in the melted butter until well-combined.
  • In a clean, dry medium bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar on high speed until frothy. While beating, gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Continue until stiff peaks form. The egg whites should be glossy and should form a stiff tip when you lift the beaters. The tip should be able to hold its shape.
  • Add about 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter and mix with a spatula. Gently mix in the rest of the egg whites until combined. It’s okay if a few specks of egg whites remain.
  • Spoon the cake batter into the greased pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until the center springs back when pressed lightly. Let cake cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese filling. Reduce the oven heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl, add 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and cornstarch. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy. Beat in the rest of the cream cheese.
  • Beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after every addition. Gently mix in the heavy cream just until well-blended, careful not to overmix the batter.
  • Spoon the cream cheese filling over the cooled sponge cake.
  • Place the cake pan in a large shallow pan. Fill the large pan with hot water to a depth of an inch up the sides of the cake pan.
  • Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour. The center should barely wobble when you shake the pan.
  • Let the cake cool on a wire rack for an hour. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Detach the outer ring of the spring-form pan. Transfer the cake onto a serving plate, either with or without the bottom of the cake pan.
Junior's Cheesecake Recipe

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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