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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!

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

Whole New York Baked Cheesecake on a cake stand
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It has a unique airy sponge cake crust and a buttery smooth filling. It’s a work of art. 

Impress your friends with your mad baking skills with a fantastic Junior’s cheesecake recipe! 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 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.

But don’t worry, because as long as you follow the instructions to a tee, you’ll be fine!

All that hard work is worth the effort. Trust me.


There are two steps to this cheesecake: a sponge cake, and a cream cheese filling. Here’s everything you need for this showstopper of a cheesecake. 

  • 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! But more on that a little later. 
  • 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. Nothing fancy here, just plain granulated sugar will do. 
  • Vanilla and lemon extracts. To flavor the cake.
  • Melted butter. For richness.
  • Cream of tartar. To help stabilize the egg whites. It’s a must for the perfect cheesecake. 
  • Cream cheese. Use brick cheese for a firmer consistency. Use full-fat for full flavor – now is not the time to worry about calories. 
  • Cornstarch. To help the cheesecake set.
  • Heavy whipping cream. The key to a ridiculously smooth and creamy New York cheesecake.
Slice of Junior's Cheesecake on a plate with whipped cream and fresh fruit

Tips for the Best Cheesecake

The perfect cheesecake is a delicate science. But if you follow these quick and easy tips, you’ll be a cheesecake pro!

  • No cake flour? No problem! 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.
  • Make it ahead. 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 ingredients. Allowing eggs and cream cheese to come to room temperature ensures better mixing. 
  • Water baths are important. 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.
  • Allow it to cool. Be sure the sponge cake is completely cooled before adding the cream cheese filling. Otherwise, you might tear the cake apart!
  • Use a hot knife. 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.
  • Easy pan removal. 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.
  • Go crazy with toppings. While it tastes great on its own, it’s even better with toppings. Some amazing toppings include shaved chocolate, fresh fruit, chocolate or caramel sauce, lemon curd, or crushed candy.
Slice of Junior's Cheesecake on a plate with whipped cream and fresh fruit

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. 

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

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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:

  • Mix low and slow. Over-beating the ingredients will incorporate air into the batter, which may cause cracks.
  • Do not overbake. 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.
  • Do not open the oven. Cheesecake hates changes in temperature. Keep that oven door closed while it’s baking!
  • Let it cool at room temperature. 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



Prep time


Cooking time







Junior’s cheesecake is a New York City staple. It’s ultra-rich and creamy, and a lot easier to make than you might think!


  • Sponge Layer Cake
  • 1/3 cup cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 2 large eggs, separated

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  • Cream Cheese Filling
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages softened cream cheese, divided

  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract

  • 2 large eggs

  • 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray or butter. Add a layer of parchment to the bottom and two layers of foil to the outside to seal the base. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Make the sponge: In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks with an electric mixer on low until it starts to thicken. Slowly add 2 tablespoons sugar, increase the speed to medium-high, and whip until thick, pale, and doubled in size. Add the extracts and stir to combine.
  • Gently stir the flour into the egg mixture, followed by the melted butter. Set aside.
  • In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg white with the cream of tartar on low speed until foamy. Turn the speed to medium and slowly add the remaining sugar, whisking constantly until stiff peaks form.
  • Add a spoonful of egg whites to the sponge batter and whisk until fully combined. Then, add the remaining egg whites and very gently stir until blended.
  • Pour the batter into the springform pan and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Reduce the oven to 300°F.
  • Make the cheesecake filling: In a clean mixing bowl, beat 1 package (8 ounces) of cream cheese with the cornstarch and 1/3 cup of sugar until smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, then beat in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, until blended.
  • Add the rest of the sugar and the vanilla and mix well. Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Finally, mix the heavy cream into the batter on low speed until well combined. Pour the filling over the sponge base.
  • Place the cake pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Fill the large pan with hot water until it reaches about halfway up the side of the springform 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.
  • Serve with whipped cream, and enjoy!


  • Don’t skip the foil – since this bakes in a water bath, you need to add 2 layers of foil to the outside base of the pan so the water doesn’t leak

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Kim - 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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