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How to Make Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake
I first tried Three Cities of Spain cheesecake a few years ago when a colleague brought some to work. I fell in love with the cheesecake, which is quite a compliment, because even though I love to bake (cheesecakes included), I normally didn't like to eat cheesecake at all! It seemed that I could no longer call myself a non-cheesecake lover; the right one just hadn't come along until then.
Three Cities of Spain cheesecake is easy to make, and requires common household ingredients. Its creamy texture is complimented by a subtle sour cream topping.
You can find recipes for Three Cities of Spain cheesecake at different places on the internet, but this article contains my modified version of the recipe. I've made this cheesecake several times now, and it's always been very well-received.
This recipe makes a cheesecake for 8 (rather large servings) to 10 servings.
- 10-15 graham crackers
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, brought to room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup white sugar*
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 16-ounce container of light sour cream
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
*I have substituted sugar with Splenda to make this cheesecake. Even though Splenda measures 'cup for cup' like sugar, I find that 3/4 cup of Splenda works well in this recipe. It's still sweet, but without the aspartame aftertaste.
Making the cheesecake base
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare a 9-inch springform pan; see the Cheesecake Tips section at the end of this article.
- Crush or grind 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I use a food processor). The number of crackers you'll need depends on the brand.
- Place the crumbs in a bowl.
- Add the softened butter to the crumbs, and then mix thoroughly.
- Pour the crumb mixture into the springform pan.
- Use a spoon to press the crumbs evenly on the bottom of the pan; use your fingers if necessary.
- Bake the base for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Keep the oven on.
Making the cheesecake filling
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until few or no lumps remain.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat briefly after each addition.
- Add the sugar and the vanilla, and then beat the mixture just until it is smooth and no lumps remain.
- Pour the filling into the pan and smooth the top with a spoon.
- Bake until the cheesecake looks set on the outer three inches and the centre is still wobbly; check the cheesecake at around 35 minutes. (The cake should not bake for more than 40-45 minutes.)
- Cool cheesecake on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Keep the oven on.
Making the cheesecake topping
- Add the sugar and vanilla to the container of sour cream, and stir until combined.
- Pour the sour cream mixture on top of the cheesecake, and then smooth the surface with a spoon, spreading it to cover the cake evenly.
- Bake the cheesecake for 10 minutes.
- Cool the cake on a wire rack for one hour.
- Cover and chill the cheesecake for at least six hours.
To make the perfect cheesecake, keep the following in mind:
- Use a springform pan and wrap the bottom with foil to catch any leaks. I always wrap the base of the pan before inserting it into the springform pan side. After I lock the springform pan, I take the foil that is sticking out and pull it up the outside of the pan.
- To remove the springform pan side, carefully run a knife all around the edge, and then unlock and remove the side.
- Bring all ingredients to room temperature before making the cheesecake. Refrigerated cream cheese takes at least four hours to get to room temperature.
- Do not overbeat the cheesecake filling; beat until ingredients are just combined or until the filling is at the consistency specified in the recipe.
- Use a water bath while the cheesecake bakes, or place a baking pan or other shallow pan, with about a half-inch of water in it, on the lower oven rack.
- To chill the cheesecake, cover it loosely with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for six hours or overnight.
- Be vigilant if you are baking the cake in an older oven or an oven with which you are unfamiliar. Ovens that are hotter will require baking times and/or temperatures adjusted. (I speak from experience--there's nothing as sad as a cracked cheesecake!)