Thanksgiving Part 3: “Rustic” Cheesecake

Cheesecake 6 © The Baking Tour Guide

I usually make pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving. It’s a classic holiday treat that most of my family enjoys.

Main PictureIf you want some boozy pie this holiday, take a look at my Bailey’s Irish Cream Pumpkin Pie Recipe.

Here’s a delicious picture of it on the left!

If you do not enjoy pumpkin, like my fiancé, then how about you try making a cheesecake this year?

Cheesecake is my fiancé‘s favorite dessert. I’ve made cheesecake before, but I’ve never made a crustless version. This cheesecake is rich, moist, and full of Thanksgiving flavors. It’s just missing that pumpkin ingredient.

Cheesecake is, in my opinion, incredibly hard to make. The top of the cake tends to form cracks if you don’t make it correctly. It will taste exactly the same, but it might not look as pretty.

To avoid the cracking blunder, you can follow these tips:

  1. Allow all the dairy and egg ingredients to come to room temperature before baking. Your batter will be smoother this way, since the dairy ingredients are somewhat softened.
  2. Bake your cake in a water bath. Place a roasting pan or large baking pan with 1 inch sides in the oven. Immediately add water to the pan so it is filled about 1/2 an inch. You will then place the cake on the pan or cookie sheet. This will allow the cake to cook more evenly, because the water will create steam in the oven. (I don’t have a picture of the water bath. If you search the internet for, “water bath with cookie sheet,” you should find what I am discussing.)
  3. Do not open the oven! Trust me, the cake will be done during the time allotted.
  4. I suggest using a springform pan to bake the cake. This may cause some issues when using a water bath, because the water might seep into the pan. To avoid this problem you can do one of three things:
    1. Wrap the pan in heavy duty foil
    2. Put the springform pan in another baking dish before submerging it into the water bath
    3. Place a water bath on the bottom rack and the cake on the top rack. This will give you the steam you need.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have any pans left to make a water bath! What do you think happened to my cheesecake?

It cracked.

Oh well. Next time I make the cheesecake, I will definitely remember to set aside a pan to make a water bath.

The cake still tastes delicious, and if you add a topping, none of your guests will ever know the difference.

Rustic Cheesecake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: hard
  • Print


  • 2 x 8 oz packets of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs (room temperature)
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp ground vanilla beans
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 cups sour cream (room temperature)


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and granulated sugar until they look soft and fluffy. You might have some lumps in your batter, and that’s okay. Try to smooth out the mixture as much as possible.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are fully incorporated into the batter.
  4. Try not to over-mix the batter as you add the eggs. You want the air bubbles in the batter to stay intact as you mix. Do your best, though, to make the batter as smooth as you can.
  5. Add the flour, cornstarch, vanilla beans, cinnamon clove, allspice, and ginger to the batter.
  6. Stir the batter until you can see that the vanilla beans are evenly interspersed throughout the cake. Add the sour cream, and mix until it is just combined.
  7. I recommend using a 10″ springform pan for this recipe. I own a 9″ springform pan, and I had to put the remaining batter in a separate pie tin. Place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. Grease the sides, very lightly, with butter. Pour enough batter into the pan so that 3/4 of it is filled.
  8. I encourage you to set up a water bath using the tips I provided above. That was the one element I was missing to achieve a perfect looking cheesecake.
  9. Place the cheesecake in the oven for one hour. Do not open the door to check on it! Trust me, it will be fine.
  10. Leave the cheesecake in the oven after the hour has passed. Turn off the heat, and set your timer for 2 extra hours. Remove the cheesecake from the oven after the total 3 hours.
  11. Use a knife or spatula to gently release the cake from the edges of the springform pan. Once the cake has cooled, cover it and place it in the refrigerator for a minimum of four hours. Then you can cut the cake, and serve it!

Cheesecake 5 © The Baking Tour Guide

This picture is a big, fat, “Oops!”

If you’re lucky, like me, your cheesecake will crack into 4 even slices. I will barely have to cut the cake when I serve it. So… ummm… readers, I cracked the cake on purpose… it’s so… rustic, don’t you think? 😉

Cheesecake 6 © The Baking Tour Guide

All kidding aside, the flavors of the cake are exquisite. Chill, cut, and serve it!

Onto part 4

Cheesecake Nutrition Facts © The Baking Tour Guide

Nutrition facts for one slice of Rustic Cheesecake based on the USDA Nutrient Database. It’s Thanksgiving, indulge a little!

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