If you’ve been wondering about the difference between cheesecake and New York cheesecake, you’ve come to the right place.
Broadly speaking, both types of cake are similar; however, there are slight differences in texture, richness, density, and in the method of preparation.
New York cheesecakes and regular cheesecakes also taste slightly different and are decorated in unique ways.
In this article, I’ll dive into the origins of both types of cheesecake, what the similarities and differences are, and which one tastes better.
I will also take a close look at the ingredients of the New York cheesecake vs regular uses, the texture, size, and flavors to help you decide which cheesecake to choose!
New York Cheesecake vs Regular Cheesecake
Before getting into the nitty-gritty details of an actual comparison, let’s discuss what a cheesecake actually is (apart from being an extremely tasty dessert).
Essentially, a cheesecake is a custard of soft cheese, most popularly made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, as well as various flavorings or toppings. It has been around for thousands of years and has most recently evolved into the creamy, silky, smooth cheesecake we know and love today.
The cheesecake also usually has a crushed cookie base, and the filling is often baked in the oven. You can also make a no-bake cheesecake, which uses pretty much the same ingredients apart from the eggs. Do not confuse a cheesecake with an actual cake. It is not a cake and resembles more of a tart than a cake. More on that in the article linked!
The main point to note is that soft, fresh, white cheese is always used as opposed to hard, yellow cheese. I mean, who wants to bite into a dessert with cheddar?
The soft cheese is blended with eggs and sugar and is then typically baked (unless you are making a no bake cheesecake). It tends to have a sweet crushed biscuit base to hold the filling.
Common flavorings include lemon, fruit sauces, sweet spices, vanilla, and chocolate.
What is a New York Cheesecake
New York cheesecake is also made from cream cheese; it can include combinations of cream or sour cream as well. Like regular cheesecake, these ingredients are blended with eggs and sugar and then baked.
The New York cheesecake has a thicker crust that is made from crushed graham crackers and melted butter rather than cookies, biscuits, or sponge.
Difference Between Cheesecake and New York Cheesecake
New York cheesecake is thicker and sweeter than regular cheesecake, and has a much more substantial crust as well.
As New York cheesecake is a heavier dessert, it has a longer cooking time and a slightly different method of preparation than regular cheesecake. This also accounts for some of the differences in taste.
Cheesecakes go back at least 2500-2800 years to ancient Greece. Back then, cheesecake consisted of soft cheese, mixed with flour and honey and cooked on an earthenware skillet. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the base was added to the recipe.
The idea of cheesecake may have been brought from the Middle East to Europe during the crusades. At any rate, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages in Europe, that the base was added to the recipe. Known as cheese tarts, the cheesecake consisted of soft curd cheese, eggs, and flavorings.
By the sixteenth century, it was a common dessert and widely featured in recipe collections (which is how we know the dates for it!).
In contrast, the New York cheesecake is a much newer addition. It was claimed to have been invented by Arnold Reuben by altering a cheese pie a hostess at a dinner party gave him in 1929. He is also responsible for the Reuben sandwich. Busy man!
Due to the proportions of the ingredients and the richer dairy products used in New York cheesecakes, these have a denser texture than regular cheesecakes.
The New York cheesecake has a higher fat content because it uses more cream cheese than regular cheesecake. Cream cheese is not the same everywhere, and so even on a New York cheesecake, there can be regional variations.
New York cheesecakes are dense, rich, and creamy in comparison with regular cheesecakes. The crust is also thicker. The richness means that less sugar is used, which significantly changes the taste.
A regular cheesecake is softer, lighter, and more moist in texture than a New York cheesecake. It relies on flavorings and/or decoration for its appeal, which makes it a popular choice for celebrations.
Their Taste Profile
The New York cheesecake is especially popular with people who enjoy a denser cheesecake that is creamy and rich rather than sweet. The thicker crust of the New York cheesecake adds interest and visual appeal as well.
Since the attention is on the consistency of the cheesecake itself, the New York cheesecake is usually much less decorated with nuts, chocolate, and toppings than the regular cheesecake. However, in more recent times, there has been a trend of introducing simple fruit toppings to the New York cheesecake.
Of course, if you are after a lower-fat but sweeter dessert go for the regular cheesecake! The traditional cheesecake comes in a wider variety of flavors and types of cheeses too; for example, the Italian cheesecake will use ricotta cheese.
The other difference between a New York cheesecake and a regular cheesecake is the size. New York cheesecakes are mostly larger in size in America. Whether this enlargement is a trade-off for the plainer visual appearance (or not) remains unknown.
The New York cheesecake really does not need any additional flavorings, but sometimes it is topped with fresh fruit or pureed berries. Cherries, strawberries, and blueberries are popular toppings.
The regular cheesecake is lighter, and the cheesecake itself is flavored with anything from chocolate to boysenberries. It often has a topping of sauce such as caramel or chocolate. Sometimes people even decorate regular cheesecakes with candy!
New York Cheesecake vs Regular Cheesecake: What’s Better?
This depends entirely on your taste!
If you prefer something thicker and richer, go for a New York cheesecake. If you like something lighter and sweeter, then try the regular cheesecake.
But one thing they definitely have in common is that they will both add to your waistline. Bummer. The New York cheesecake has more fat, while the regular cheesecake has more sugar. The flavorings and toppings used add to the immense calorie content too.
Both types of cheesecake use a lot of high-fat dairy products, although there is a growing market for dairy-free cheesecakes using ingredients such as coconut instead.
Having said that, you do not need to eat much of any kind of cheesecake to feel full and happy inside!
The Bottom Line…
These two cheesecakes are similar in that once you take a mouthful, you instantly recognize that you’re eating cheesecake! Which one tastes better will depend on your preferences for sweetness, richness and cream. But as I said before, the difference between cheesecake and New York cheesecake is a really subtle one, and unless you are the one making it, you probably won’t recognize the differences just by tasting it.
The New York cheesecake is more substantial and will fill you up. It is rich and creamy, and (in my view) ultimately more satisfying.
The traditional cheesecake is ideal if you are after something a little lighter; as ‘light’ as cheesecake can be I guess.
It makes a lovely dessert after a large meal, when you might not have space for anything too heavy. If you have a sweet tooth, this is the dessert for you. But who says that you have to choose between them? It doesn’t have to be New York cheesecake vs regular – why not have both?