Cheesecake is one of those desserts that most of us don’t make on a regular basis. While they are often reserved for special gatherings and occasions, when the time comes for you to whip up a show-stopping desser, you are reminded how truly amazing the humble cheeseacke really is. Creamy, velvety, and just downright melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Who’s eyes don’t light up when they are presented with a slice of cheesecake?
For this reason, Cheesecake is my go-to dessert when I want to serve up a guaranteed crowd pleaser at a dinner party. If I’m feeling lazy, I might just go for a no-bake cheesecake although, as any cheesecake connoisseur will tell you, it’s the baked version that really ‘takes the cake’.
Many of us bakers stick to a traditional vanilla version, but did you know there are so many more types of cheesecake out there?
If you thought that your choice of cheesecake was simply restricted to a New York cheesecake or no-bake one, prepare to have your mind blown! There are so many different types of cheesecakes out there that it will make your head spin.
Here’s a few different kinds of cheesecake you need to know about!
11 Different Types of Cheesecake
New York Cheesecake
Ingredients: cream cheese, whole eggs, egg yolks, sugar, double cream or sour cream.
Let’s start this list off with the most popular type of cheesecake. The New York is arguably the most famous cheesecake ever created. What makes a New York cheesecake different from the rest is it’s texture. It is a very dense, heavy cheesecake that maintains a very smooth and rich texture.
Because of this texture, it is quite a stodgy dessert, so a small slice will be enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. By all means though, dive into the whole cake but you might be regretting it a little later on!
A New York cheesecake is typically made using a lot of cream cheese, a combination of both whole eggs and egg yolks, double cream and/or sour cream and sugar. The rather large amount of cream cheese accounts for the distinctive tanginess and the eggs bind everything together in the oven.
This type of cheesecake is very minimalistic. The flavors are simple but the finish is mesmerising. Lightly golden on top, silky smooth interior, optionally topped with a strawberry compote; yum. You can’t beat that really.
Recommended recipe: If you want a good New York cheesecake recipe, take a look at Joshua Weissman.
Traditional Baked Cheesecake
Ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, eggs
The traditional baked cheesecake and the New York cheesecake are close relatives. Some people also call this kind of cheesecake the Chicago cheesecake.
Both cheesecakes are baked and use similar ingredients. Though, a traditional baked cheesecake uses three ingredients; cream cheese, sugar and eggs. But, you can add sour cream too if you want.
The slight difference between the two is the ratio of ingredients. A traditional baked cheesecake will typically use less cream cheese, making it less dense than a New York cheesecake.
Recommended recipe: Check out this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction if you are looking to make a scrummy traditional cheesecake.
No Bake Cheesecake
Ingredients: cream cheese, icing sugar, double cream
A no-bake cheesecake is undoubtedly one of the easiest kinds of cheesecake to make. It literally takes ten minutes to prepare and 4 hours of chilling in the fridge.
This type of cheesecake uses 3 ingredients; cream cheese, double cream and icing sugar. You can also add vanilla extract and make it any flavor you want. My go to is an oreo no bake cheesecake. You can’t go wrong with anything oreo flavored, right?
Since a no-bake cheese doesn’t have eggs to bind it all together, like a baked cheesecake has, there are a few things you should look out for to make sure that your cheesecake will hold its shape.
Always go for good quality, full fat cream cheese. Not only does this make for a creamier and silker cheesecake, full fat cream cheese is stiffer and will hold its shape better.
I have used reduced fat cream cheese before and let’s just say the only thing missing from the dinner table was straws to drink it all up! It was an absolute disaster. It made for a lovely cheesecake milkshake though!
I have also made cheesecake with cheaper, store brand cream cheese and it doesn’t work as well as using philadelphia. Philadelphia is more experience but it is so worth it for the quality.
If you do want to use reduced fat cream cheese or are worried about your cheesecake not being stable enough, you can add gelatin. Be careful not to add too much as this could make your cheesecake very rubbery.
Recommended recipe: If you want to try making a no-bake cheesecake yourself, take a look at Jane’s Patisserie. She has a recipe for every flavor you can possibly imagine! Oreo, Kinder Bueno, KitKat, you name it, she has it!
Ingredients: cream cheese, eggs, sugar
There are three things you don’t want your cheesecake to do; burn, crack and sink. I was terrified of making a baked cheesecake for those exact reasons.
But, with a Basque cheesecake, we want it to burn, crack and sink! If you are scared of making cheesecake then this is the recipe for you! Even if it burns, it doesn’t matter because this cheesecake needs to be burnt!
Originating from San Sebastian in the Basque Country region of Spain, the Basque cheesecake is quite similar to the New York cheesecake in that it uses similar ingredients and is quite dense in texture.
A Basque cheesecake is baked at a really high temperature of 200C/392F for 1 hour and let to cool completely for a few hours or overnight. Like we said, it will sink, it will burn and it will crack but that is what makes it so unique.
Recommended recipe: This is an imperfect perfect cheesecake recipe and will become one of your favorites! Check out this awesome recipe for a Basque cheesecake from Cupcake Jemma.
Japanese Cotton Cheesecake
Ingredients: cream cheese, egg whites, egg yolks, sugar
The Japanese cotton cheesecake became incredibly popular due to its fun, jiggly, pillow like appearance. Going through the efforts of making it just for the jiggle is totally worth it!
A cotton cheesecake is made with the typical baked cheesecake ingredients like cream cheese, eggs and sugar. This cheesecake does also use milk and flour, while some recipes also use cornstarch (corn flour).
What gives this Japanese cheesecake it’s distinctive jiggly and soft appearance is the eggs. The eggs are separated into egg whites and egg yolks and the egg whites are whipped into a meringue. The meringue is then folded into the yolky, floury, cheesy mixture and baked at a low temperature for about an hour and a half.
Because there is a bit of technique in making a Japanese cotton cheesecake, you might want to try a few different recipes and see which one works the best for you.
Recommended recipe: I have tried both this Tasty recipe and this recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work the first time as a lot of things can affect the way this cheesecake comes out of the oven.
A few things to keep in mind:
- Always use room temperature eggs so they mix in better.
- Invest in an oven thermometer so your oven doesn’t play tricks on you.
- If you live in high altitudes, you might need to adjust some ingredients slightly. Take a look at this high altitude baking guide and adjust accordingly.
Italian Ricotta Cheesecake
Ingredients: ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, flour
What makes this cheesecake Italian is the use of ricotta cheese rather than cream cheese. An Italian cheesecake is much lighter than a New York cheesecake and has an almost cake like texture.
It is usually made with a pastry crust rather than a biscuit base, but you can also make a biscuit base if you really want to.
Recommended recipe: Like the New York cheesecake, this is a very simple recipe made with simple and pure ingredients. No fancy flavors or fillings here. Check out this recipe here!
Who would have thought that there are so many different cheesecakes out there? This list isn’t even all of them.
Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, if not my MOST favorite and it should be yours too.
Nothing beats a creamy, silky, decadent cheesecake and now you don’t have to limit yourself to just one type. There are so many cheesecakes to try.
Ingredients: Tofu, cashews or vegan cream cheese, coconut oil, plant based milk/yoghurt
Who said that vegans can’t enjoy cheesecake? Even though nothing can beat the deliciousness of cheesecake made with real cream cheese, there are a lot of vegan alternatives that can make it taste just as good.
For all our vegan friends out there, there are a few ingredients that can replicate a similar texture to cream cheese. Silken tofu might not be the first thing to pop in your mind when making cheesecake but it’s actually become a very popular dairy alternative in many vegan desserts.
When blended, silken tofu mimics the consistency and texture of cream cheese and is incredibly creamy and velvety. This recipe adds a bit of lemon juice for added tanginess to make it taste even more like cream cheese.
Another great ingredient for making vegan cheesecake are cashew nuts. The delicious cashew filling consists of blending softened cashews with coconut milk. These two ingredients combined create a really rich and creamy batter.
If you are not wanting to go through the efforts of blending cashew nuts or tofu, you can easily find vegan cream cheese in the grocery store or on Amazon.
Ingredients: Quark, sugar, butter, eggs, flour, vanilla, lemon juice
Known as Kasekuchen, this German-style cheesecake is a traditional dessert that is enjoyed by many Germans daily. It consists of a layer of shortcrust pastry as the base which is different to the graham cracker base we are used to.
Instead of cream cheese, this German cheesecake uses quark. Quark is a soft cheese that has the consistency of cottage cheese. It is mild in flavor and has a light acidity to it. It is lighter and has less fat content compared to cream cheese.
It is a very simple dessert to make and only requires a handful of ingredients. If you can’t find quark, you can replace it with ricotta cheese. It will give you a similar taste and consistency.
Ingredients: Twarog, butter, sugar, eggs, cream, flour
Sernik is a Polish cheesecake that is also made with a different type of cheese. It’s made with twarog, also known as Polish farmer’s cheese. Twarog is similar to quark but it is former and drier.
Unlike cream cheese, twarog has less fat content and has no added salt. Instead of a biscuit base, Sernik is made with a sponge cake base and the batter is made with egg, sugar and twarog.
Recommended Recipe: What better way to make traditional Polish cheesecake than following a traditional polish recipe!
Ingredients: Quark, sugar, eggs, flour, lemon, double cream, gelatin
This Austrian cheesecake, known as Topfentorte, is not like any regular cheesecake. The filling is made with topfen or quark cheese. To that sugar, eggs, flour, lemon juice and zest, double cream are added, as well as some gelatin to bind everything together.
What makes this cheesecake unique to all the rest is that it is sandwiched between two cake sponges. Definitely worth a try if you want a different spin to your cheesecake!
Ingredients: Milk, rennet, flour, butter, eggs, sugar
This Swedish cheesecake, also known as Ostkaka, is not like the others. It doesn’t use the typical ingredients we know. Swedish cheesecake is traditionally made by adding rennet to milk, although this can also be substituted with cottage cheese for a quick ‘cheat’ version.
The cheese is then combined with flour, eggs, double cream, sugar and almonds and baked until golden brown.
In case you are wondering, rennet is what makes the milk coagulate and turn into cottage like cheese. There is a huge science behind how cheese is made so if you want to find out more, check out this great video from Tasty.
Swedish cheesecake isn’t as sweet as a typical cheesecake but is ‘healthier’, lighter and has more of a custard-y texture to it. It is best served warm and traditionally topped with cream and strawberries.
Origins of Cheesecake
Now we know very different types of cheesecake under the sun, I think it’s only right that we quickly touch on the origins of the delectable dessert.
Believe it or not, the origins of cheesecake did not start in New York. To learn the true history, we need to go back a few years, 4000 to be exact.
Archaeologists discovered cheese moulds on the beautiful Greek island of Samos, dating back to around 2000 BC, which is some of the earliest evidence of cheesecakes being made.
In Greece, cheesecake was seen as a good source of energy, and there is evidence to suggest that it was given to Olympic athletes during the first Olympic games in 776 BC. Cheesecake was also used as a dessert in Greek weddings at the time.
The original Greek cheesecake was made with very simple, raw ingredients; cheese, flour, wheat and honey. Far from the oreo flavored, kinder bueno flavored or New York style cheesecakes we are used to nowadays!
The Main ingredients of cheesecake
In case you hadn’t noticed already, the main ingredient in cheesecake is cheese. Shocker. But, not any type of cheese. Afterall, the thought of a gouda cake does not sound very tasty…right?
The cheesecake we know and love tends to be made out of cream cheese. Cream cheese is a type of cheese with low fat content, around 33%. It is smooth, spreadable and has quite a mild taste that is a little bit salty and a little bit sweet. It goes perfect in bagels, pairs well with smoked salmon and acts as a delicious dip for crackers.
Despite popular belief, cream cheese was actually first made in France, dating back to 1035, and it was known as French Neufchatel cheese. Fast forward a few centuries to New York where a dairyman named William Lawrence had the bright idea to add cream to cheese. This gave birth to the most well known brand of cream cheese; Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is the brand I always reach for in the grocery store. I have tried making cheesecake with cheaper brands but nothing compares to Philadelphia. The creaminess, quality and taste surpasses any other brand out there.
Cream cheese is the main ingredient in cheesecake and the rest depend on the type of cheesecake you are making. Take a look at all the different types of cheesecakes below and all the different ingredients each type uses.
What’s your favorite type of cheesecake?
Who would have thought that there are so many types of cheesecake out there! In honesty, this list is just a drop in the ocean when it comes all the different kinds of cheesecake you can create. Regardless which type you opt for, one thing is for sure, nothing beats a creamy, silky, decadent cheesecake.
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