I first made Fluffy Cheesecake as an excuse to use up some cream cheese I’d bought on sale. I was also curious to see what would happen when folding whipped egg whites into a cheesecake. Little did I know this would become one of our favorite cheesecake recipes. It’s only a fluffy cheesecake in comparison to dense, thick, New York style, but fluffy is the word people sometimes use to describe this texture so I’m sticking with it for now.
Along with the light yet rich texture, what I love about this recipe is it only calls for 2 packs of cream cheese. Classic New York Style Cheesecake usually has 5 packs of cream cheese, but in Fluffy Cheesecake a good amount of sour cream along with the beaten egg whites makes up for the missing cream cheese. This makes the cheesecake slightly less expensive — or at least when cream cheese is not on sale!
The first time I made this cheesecake, I baked it at 300 for an hour then let it sit in the “off” oven for an hour. It did have a big crack which I had to cover with fruit topping. Even though it was delicious, I started experimenting with different bake times and came up with one that was practically crack-free. The new cheesecake bake time is 300 for 30 minutes, 250 for 30 minutes, 1 hour in the “off” oven with the door closed and 30 minutes in the oven with the door ajar.
Here’s what the cheesecake should look like with the new bake times.
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 packages 8 oz each of cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 cups 16 oz sour cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 5 large egg whites
- Topping is optional -- We like canned cherry pie filling so I usually just throw that on. Plain sweetened whipped cream would be good too.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub a 9 inch springform pan all over with butter.
- Mix together crust ingredients and press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Set it on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Let cool.
- Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F.
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
- Add yolks, sour cream, vanilla, and lemon juice; mix until smooth.
- Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold into mixture. Pour over crust and smooth the top.
- Set on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees F.
- Reduce heat to 250 degrees F. and continue baking for another 30 minutes.
- Turn off heat, and let cake remain 1 hr longer with door closed. Open door and let cake remain at least 1/2 hour longer.
- Let cool at room temperature, then chill overnight or for at least 8 hours. Top with pie filling if desired.