Introduction: How to Construct the Perfect Cheese Cake Souffle

Picture of How to Construct the Perfect Cheese Cake Souffle

Everyone loves cheese cake, right? Well everyone I know loves cheese cake, so I have found a nice cheese cake makes a perfect gift for any occasion. I've tried several recipes over the years, trying to recreate the incredible cake they made at a restaurant called La Petite Le Bon, near my high school. I still haven't found a recipe quite like theirs, but through trial and error I have created my own recipe that I think is just about perfect. Let me know what you think.

The most difficult thing about making a GOOD cheesecake is the waiting.

1. Start with room temperature eggs and cream cheese (at least two hours of waiting)
2. Let the cake cool on a rack for at least two hours before going in the fridge.
3. Let the cake CHILL in the fridge for at LEAST four hours.

However, if you can manage all that waiting, your cheese cake will be truly divine.

Let's get started, shall we?

Step 1: Ingredients.

Picture of Ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:


FILLING:
3 8oz packages of (full fat) cream cheese room temperature
8 oz (full fat) sour cream
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs

CRUST:
About 30 graham cracker squares (15 full-sized rectangles)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar

Optional:
~zest of one lemon for filling accent
~and/or zest and juice from one lemon for topping
~additional 8 ounces sour cream (You will probably buy a pint so this is not an extra purchase)
~fresh or frozen berries for alternate topping
~2 tablespoons sugar for either topping option

Step 2: Preheat Oven With Water Bath in Place.

Picture of Preheat Oven With Water Bath in Place.

Put a large baking dish with an inch or so water on the lowest shelf position or directly on the bed of the oven. Preheat Oven to 350*

Step 3: Grease Your Pan.

Picture of Grease Your Pan.

Liberally coat your pan with butter, bottom and sides.

Step 4: Make the Crust Mixture.

Picture of Make the Crust Mixture.

Crush about 30 squares of graham cracker in a bowl with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup (half an American stick) melted butter. Squish it all together until it is mostly crumbs with few chunks of cracker. You should be able to press it together to form clumps. You can add a tiny bit more butter if it won't clump, but only a teaspoon or so at a time.

Pour the crumbs into the greased pan and tamp it down with a flat-bottomed jar or glass, slowly moving it out from the center and pressing it up against the sides. It doesn't have to be perfect and you will get the hang of this after doing it once or twice.

*Sorry I couldn't take a photo here, my hands were too crumb and butter coated to pick up my camera, and then I forgot to take the photo of the crust before I started filling it. Maybe next time I make it I'll have someone shoot the crust process and I'll add it.

Step 5: Making the Filling, Initial Ingredients.

Picture of Making the Filling, Initial Ingredients.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine one package of cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup corn starch. Beat on low until creamed all together, be patient, it will take about three minutes.

Step 6: More Filling Ingredients Go In.

Picture of More Filling Ingredients Go In.

Add 8 ounces (one cup) of sour cream, and the remaining two packages of cream cheese one at a time, blending the first completely before adding the next. Scrape the bowl between additions if needed.

Step 7: And More...

Picture of And More...

Move your mixer speed up to medium (I choose 5 or 6 on my Kitchenaid stand mixer) and blend in the rest of the sugar (1 cup) and one tablespoon vanilla. Add lemon zest here if you like it. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, allowing each one to become incorporated before adding the next.

Beat in 3/4 cups of heavy whipping cream, but just blend it in and do not overmix this last step. It should only take about 15-30 seconds on medium speed.

Step 8: Fill the Pan(s).

Picture of Fill the Pan(s).

Pour the mix into the pan!

Step 9: Bake It!

Picture of Bake It!

Check the water level in the baking dish in the oven, and top off if needed.

Place the pan on the lower/middle shelf just above the water pan. Bake at 350* for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the edges of the souffle are caramel brown and the center is just shy of honey blonde. The center will still jiggle when you move it, this is fine.

I was so wrapped up in creating my instructable I forgot to set my timer and almost burned my cakes!
I managed to catch them in the nick of time, so they are brown all over the top rather than only around the edges. No big deal, but they are also cracked a bit more than I like. It just makes it difficult to do an all-over topping, but it's perfect for a drizzle so I did the berries.

Step 10: GENTLY Move to Cooling Rack.

Picture of GENTLY Move to Cooling Rack.

CAREFULLY move it from the oven to a cooling rack, do NOT place it on a cold surface such as a marble counter, or it will fall, creating a (still delicious but not beautiful) crater cake.

Do not touch it or even look at it for at least two hours. I know, right? Impossible! But seriously, don't touch it! After two hours, cover it with plastic or put it in a cake safe if you happen to have one and have enough room for it in your fridge (yeah, right) and refrigerate for at least four hours (or overnight). This is so difficult, but it will be well worth your wait.

Step 11: Toppings.

Picture of Toppings.

For toppings you can mix the remaining 8 ounces of sour cream with a couple tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, the zest of a lemon and about a tablespoon of the juice from that same lemon, whip it together and glaze the top of the whole cake with it. Sometimes I do that about ten minutes before the cake is done cooking, and I pour that over it and cook it for about ten more minutes. It works either way.

OR

You can take a package of frozen berries (raspberries are my favorite, I love tart) and put them in a sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of sugar and a couple tablespoons of water. Mash it all together on medium heat for about ten minutes and Bob's your uncle! Fresh berry topping! Drizzle it on each piece, not over the whole cake.

Step 12: Release the Cake From the Pan and Slice.

Picture of Release the Cake From the Pan and Slice.

Thanks to Julie for taking the photos for this step.

SPRING-FORM PAN:
After ithe souffle has sufficiently cooled (two hours on a rack, at least four hours in the fridge) you can release it from the pan. If you use a springform you will slide a thin blade around the sides to release the crust, then carefully release the spring latch and twist the round form from the base leaving the cake in place. You can use hot wet towels to melt the butter, making the release even smoother and simpler.
*See my photos for visual explanation.


STANDARD CAKE PAN:
If you use a standard cake pan you will need some parchment paper and two pieces of cardboard cut in advance to fit the size and shape of the bottom of the pan you use.
After cake has cooled completely and chilled as directed place the parchment it over the top of the cake (yes, it may lift up spots of the surface but you can cover it with topping where it looks bad) and then place one of the cardboard discs over that.

Place the pan in a larger vessel and fill with enough hot water to come almost up to the top of the cake pan, but leaving a safe margin so no water will splash over the lip when you are moving it. Soak it in this VERY hot water for about 30 seconds to melt the butter in the crust on the bottom as well as the sides.

Now very carefully remove the pan from the hot bath and with one hand holding the cardboard in place, flip the pan over and set on counter. Tap it lightly all around and you will hear and feel it drop out. Gently remove the pan, twisting slightly to help it slide off smoothly.

Place the other cardboard disk on the cake and ever so carefully slide it off the counter and onto your hand again, now flip it back to right side up and remove cardboard disk from top. Very slowly peel back the parchment circle and remove from top of cake.
*Sorry I don't have photos for the standard cake pan method, I hope my instructions are clear enough.

Now you can cut and serve, using drizzle topping to cover any unsightly spots. Make sure to use a clean HOT knife if possible. Just run it under hot water and dry on a clean towel between cuts to avoid clumpy sloppy slicing. Tah-dah!

Step 13: FULL RECIPE & INSTRUCTIONS (for Easier Printing)

The most difficult thing about making a GOOD cheesecake is the waiting.

1. Start with room temperature eggs and cream cheese (at least two hours of waiting)
2. Let the cake cool on a rack for at least two hours before going in the fridge.
3. Let the cake CHILL in the fridge for at LEAST four hours.

However, if you can manage all that waiting, your cheese cake will be truly divine.

Let's get started, shall we?

INGREDIENTS:
If possible, try to leave the eggs and cream cheese out for a couple hours before you begin so they are not chilled.

FILLING:
3 8oz packages of (full fat) cream cheese - room temperature
8 oz (full fat) sour cream
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs - room temperature

CRUST:
About 30 graham cracker squares (15 full-sized rectangles)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup sugar

Optional:
~zest of one lemon for filling accent
~and/or zest and juice from one lemon for topping
~additional 8 ounces sour cream (You will probably buy a pint so this is not an extra purchase)
~fresh or frozen berries for alternate topping
~2 tablespoons sugar for either topping option

Put a large baking dish with an inch or so water on the lowest shelf position or directly on the bed of the oven. Preheat Oven to 350*

Liberally coat your pan with butter, bottom and sides.

Crush about 30 squares of graham cracker in a bowl with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup (half an American stick) melted butter. Squish it all together until it is mostly crumbs with few chunks of cracker. You should be able to press it together to form clumps. You can add a tiny bit more butter if it won't clump, but only a teaspoon or so at a time.

Pour the crumbs into the greased pan and tamp it down with a flat-bottomed jar or glass, slowly moving it out from the center and pressing it up against the sides. It doesn't have to be perfect and you will get the hang of this after doing it once or twice.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine one package of cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup corn starch. Beat on low until creamed all together, be patient, it will take about three minutes. Add zest of one lemon if desired.

Add 8 ounces (one cup) of sour cream, and the remaining two packages of cream cheese one at a time, blending the first completely before adding the next. Scrape the bowl between additions if needed.

Move your mixer speed up to medium (I choose 5 or 6 on my Kitchenaid stand mixer) and blend in the rest of the sugar (1 1/3 cups) and one tablespoon vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, allowing each one to become incorporated before adding the next.

Beat in 3/4 cups of heavy whipping cream, but just blend it in and do not overmix this last step. It should only take about 15-30 seconds on medium speed.

Pour the mix into the pan!

Check the water level in the baking dish in the oven, and top off if needed.

Place the pan on the lower/middle shelf just above the water pan. Bake at 350* for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the edges of the souffle are caramel brown and the center is just shy of honey blonde. The center will still jiggle when you move it, this is fine.

CAREFULLY move it from the oven to a cooling rack, do NOT place it on a cold surface such as a marble counter, or it will fall, creating a still delicious but not beautiful cake.

Do not touch it or even look at it for at least two hours. I know, right? Impossible! But seriously, don't touch it! After two hours, cover it and put it in the fridge for at least four hours (or overnight).

TOPPINGS:
For toppings you can mix the remaining 8 ounces of sour cream with a couple tablespoons of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla, the zest of a lemon and about a tablespoon of the juice from that same lemon, whip it together and glaze the top of the whole cake with it. Sometimes I do that about ten minutes before the cake is done cooking, and I pour that over it and cook it for about ten more minutes. It works either way.

OR

You can take a package of frozen berries (raspberries are my favorite, I love tart) and put them in a sauce pan with a couple tablespoons of sugar and a couple tablespoons of water. Mash it all together on medium heat for about ten minutes and Bob's your uncle! Fresh berry topping! Drizzle it on each piece, not over the whole cake.

RELEASING THE CAKE FROM A SPRING-FORM OR STANDARD CAKE PAN:

SPRING-FORM PAN:
After ithe souffle has sufficiently cooled (two hours on a rack, at least four hours in the fridge) you can release it from the pan. If you use a springform you will slide a thin blade around the sides to release the crust, then carefully release the spring latch and twist the round form from the base leaving the cake in place. You can use hot wet towels to melt the butter, making the release even smoother and simpler.
*See my photos for visual explanation.

STANDARD CAKE PAN:
If you use a standard cake pan you will need some parchment paper and two pieces of cardboard cut in advance to fit the size and shape of the bottom of the pan you use.
After cake has cooled completely and chilled as directed place the parchment it over the top of the cake (yes, it may lift up spots of the surface but you can cover it with topping where it looks bad) and then place one of the cardboard discs over that.

Place the pan in a larger vessel and fill with enough hot water to come almost up to the top of the cake pan, but leaving a safe margin so no water will splash over the lip when you are moving it. Soak it in this VERY hot water for about 30 seconds to melt the butter in the crust on the bottom as well as the sides.

Now very carefully remove the pan from the hot bath and with one hand holding the cardboard in place, flip the pan over and set on counter. Tap it lightly all around and you will hear and feel it drop out. Gently remove the pan, twisting slightly to help it slide off smoothly.

Place the other cardboard disk on the cake and ever so carefully slide it off the counter and onto your hand again, now flip it back to right side up and remove cardboard disk from top. Very slowly peel back the parchment circle and remove from top of cake.
*Sorry I don't have photos for the standard cake pan method, I hope my instructions are clear enough.

Now you can cut and serve, using drizzle topping to cover any unsightly spots. Tah-dah!

Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Comments

TheGeek1984 (author)2012-01-15

Not to nit pick or anything, but this looks more like a cheesecake than a souffle... I mean just from what I'm seeing here.

bclinton (author)2011-02-05

Very good, I've made it once and my second is in the oven right now.

Just one thing: My taste is a bit strange, and honestly, this and the other cheesecake recipe (the one simply labeled "cheesecake") taste like glue to me. I've found out that this is the sour cream, as most of the earlier recipes that I've eaten don't have sour cream in them. I found a substitute, you use 1 tbsp. of butter and ~7/8 cup of buttermilk. This seems to be a good fix (at least in the mix).

PS: A good buttermilk substitute is 1 cup of milk and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, put them in a cup and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

kriemer (author)2010-12-22

Wonderful recipe and the instructions are idiot resistant (I'm proof of that).

I have my own little cooking variation to your instuctable. Nothing in the following improves the taste of your recipe it is FANTASTIC, only the presentation.

After a number of tries I find your cooking temperature and time results in the "cake" falling and cracking. There is no doubt a sweet spot to pulling the cake from the oven but the temp is pretty high and the spot has been to narrow for me to capture. I believe a slower cook at 300F for 1 hour (the telltale is when the surface starts to look dry), then turning off the oven and letting the cake and oven cool together works very well. This results in a flat, crack-free cake. Unfortunately without the honey color of your version, but as they say there is no free lunch.

It also adds to the visual of the finished product if you add a little melted dark chocolate to a couple of ounces of batter and drizzle the mix onto the cake surface (I put it in a squeeze bottle). Run a knife or chopstick through the dark batter to get a pattern.

A pic of yesterdays cake is shown. My wife came home from work and was super impressed!

k

jrc0610 (author)2008-02-27

I see that you also used a miniature spring-form pan. I have four of these, but don't have a recipe that works for just the four. Do you have a recipe that is small enough for using 4 small springform pans?

kriemer (author)jrc06102010-10-21

While I haven't baked smaller souffles my thoughts are as follows:

The recipe makes slightly more batter than will fill (leaving 1" freeboard) a 10" diameter x 2 3/4" springform pan. This is about 13 cups of batter. My suggestion is to do the math associated with the volume of the pans that you own.

Alternatly finding a pan that holds about 4.5 cups of batter would allow the recipe to be convienently divided by 3. While I am by no means an expert baker I think that time would be the variable to really be concerned with, but the tell-tale honey colour would make me comfortable with the experiment. I am not sure that reducing the baking temp, someones suggestion, is the right way to go, or just to check for doneness frequently.

My sense is that smaller pans = less surface cracking; a good thing for we obsesive people.

I would be interested in other peoples experience and opinions.

k

rupamagic (author)jrc06102008-04-04

I just wanted to let you know I am working on that mini spring form recipe. I have messed around with my recipe a bit but it's still not perfect in the smaller quantity so once I get it where I am satisfied I'll post it for you here. Maybe I'll have time to work on it again next week. I just can't make cheese cakes too often or people will begin to take it for granted, or worse, get sick of it!

jrc0610 (author)rupamagic2008-04-04

Thanks for working on the recipe! I understand about the whole not making things to often so people don't take your baking for granted! We want our work to be appreciated :)

rupamagic (author)jrc06102008-02-27

I don't, I usually just use them to use up the extra (and so I can have some even if I am making the main cake as a gift). or I make a full batch and do one 7" regular form and four or five minis, whatever I have enough filling for.

I will work on modifying my recipe more specifically and will be sure to let you know what I come up with.

I have 6 of these mini forms myself and used them at Christmas to give away many small cheese cakes. They are the perfect size for two people to share and still have a little left for a midnight snack!

I do know you need to reduce the heat to 325* and make sure to take them out of the oven a lot sooner, like 45 minutes is usually right, and make sure they are low in the oven.

smokehill (author)2009-08-20

This is VERY close to a great cheesecake recipe I used back in the 70s, but lost it. As you mention, the room temperature of the ingredients is important if the batter is going to "peak" properly when it's blended. I was always told to use confectioner's sugar instead of the regular granulated kind, to keep the cheesecake light. It worked well for me, and I think it's always a good choice for any baked goods, especially sweet ones like cheesecake. The spring-form pan is an ESSENTIAL tool that pays for itself the first time you use it. It saves a lot of aggravation & the end product looks much nicer. I added either lemon zest or orange zest to the mixture ... just whatever struck my fancy at the time. And I don't think you can really overdo the zest, either. Part of the fun of cheesecake is experimenting with little things like that. I also liked adding slivered almonds to the top, after baking -- it also helps camouflage those inevitable little cracks that appear on the top. Being a purist, though, I don't add topping of any kind. If a cheesecake is truly good, we shouldn't have to hide it under cherry or chocolate drippings. Excellent instructable, and I can't wait to try it.

Mandela (author)2009-07-06

UWOOOOOOOHH very nice pictureeeees !!!!! That the Sunburst "finish" cheese cake

ChickMistress (author)2008-04-10

This looks absolutely amazing and I can't wait to make one. Thanks for the recipe and all the steps.

davidw (author)2008-02-28

If you want to avoid any cracks or spits on the surface of the cheesecake for appearance reasons, take some parchment paper ( available at good grocery stores next to the foil and wax paper ) and cut strips that are 1/2 inch higher than the height of the pan you are using. Just before you are ready to pour the batter in the pan, wet the parchment paper with water and stick them to the inside of the pan covering the metal completely. Pour in your batter and bake. As it cools when done cooking, the sides of the cheesecake will pull away and no "stress" cracks will develop. Just peel off the parchment paper and the cheesecake will be flawless. A big plus - no butter needed for the sides of the pan ( no extra calories), no need to run a knife several times around the pan to ensure that the cheesecake doesn't stick to the pan ( for cheesecakes without graham cracker on the sides).

rupamagic (author)davidw2008-02-28

That's great advice! True it won't work if you like crust up the walls of the cake like my family does, but I do make crustless sometimes and I will try your technique when I do! My crack problem (hah, never thought I would hear myself admitting I have a crack problem!) comes from overcooking, as you see on the top of the cake. Oh well, it was perfectly delicious so no harm, no foul I suppose. Thanks for the tip!

Baron A (author)2008-02-27

Could you please answer my question! How do I take The cake out of the baking pan/case? Or do I leave it in there? BTW awsome Instructable!

rupamagic (author)Baron A2008-02-27

There you go, see the second to the last step for instructions on releasing from a standard cake pan, as well as photos of releasing this one from the spring-form.

rupamagic (author)Baron A2008-02-27

Yes, canida answered your question, but since I am serving the cake for dessert today (I made it last night) I will shoot a few photos of the release and removal and post them later tonight.

canida (author)Baron A2008-02-27

Those are spring-form pans. They have a clip/buckle you undo to expand the upper ring. Scoot a knife around the inside of the ring, gently undo the buckle, and you can easily remove the (much enlarged) ring from the cheesecake. The flat lower piece of the pan stays in place.

Baron A (author)canida2008-02-27

Ohhh...Right. Must Get One!

pyelitegamerro76 (author)2008-02-27

I love you now in a totally not gay way, You are my hero!!!! i love chesecake and the the instructable was amazing +10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111!!!!shift plus one11!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chaffner (author)2008-02-27

Can't wait to try it! I'd like to print the recipe without all the great photos. Can you tell me how?

rupamagic (author)chaffner2008-02-27

Sure, I'll post the full recipe and steps all on one page for you at the end as a post step.

chaffner (author)rupamagic2008-02-27

Thanks for posting the full recipe. I saved a tree by not printing all the photos!

inquisitive (author)chaffner2008-02-27

I am sure there is a "proper" way to do so, but I usually just select and copy what I want to a word document. Looks delicious doesn't it? I think I gained 7 pounds reading it!

GorillazMiko (author)2008-02-27

I don't like cheesecake, but wow, this looks delicious, and I think I will start eating cheesecake now.

Maybe I will try this out, it looks DELICIOUSLY delicious, great job.
+1 rating.

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