Cheesecake – the Real Deal

Cheesecake with Berries

Cheesecake with Berries

By Cat, Jun 2014 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Includes: 1. Substitute for discontinued Zwieback or Holland Rusk; 2. Cheesecake recipe – The Real Deal; 3. Vanilla Sugar

See also: 1. Berry Topping; 2. Blueberry Sauce; 3.Lemon Curd; 4. Caramel Sauce; 5. Using a Springform Pan, and an Alternative; 6. Cakes & Tortes MenuOther sites: 1. Fine Cooking: Lemon Bar Cheesecake (4)

I’m very particular about cheesecake.  I don’t like the creamy, pudding-like kind at all, and will turn it down when offered.  However, I do rather like the cakey kind, but can eat only a small serving, preferably with fresh berries or a berry sauce, or lemon curd.

I’ve never actually made a cheesecake, mainly because it would go bad before I could finish it, but also because it has always intimidated me.

Substitute for discontinued Zwieback or Holland Rusk

The crumb crust uses a type of dried bread called zwieback or rusk. I make my own rusk and would use that. But how much to use? What is the cups/ounces for ‘1 packet of Zwieback’ as specified in the recipe?

  • I have an old box of Nabisco Zweiback containing two 3-oz fresh packs (total weight 6-oz (170 grams)); is a ‘packet’ then a 3 oz size? or the 6 oz box?
  • A German brand – Brandt – comes in two 4-oz packets (total weight 8 oz (227 grams));
  • A Zweiback Cheesecake recipe on (2) refers to a 4 oz package of zweiback.
  • A comment to a Zwieback recipe on King Arthur Flour (3) uses 4 oz zwieback crumbs and ½ cup ground walnuts for the crust of a 9″ cheesecake.

I’m inclined to use 4 oz of rusk crumbs (using my Basic Rusk recipe). I do not add cinnamon to the slices before drying them in my oven; instead, I add cinnamon to the crust mix when using rusk crumbs.

Cheesecake – The Real Deal

When I was in my French period, a friend gave me a copy of The Art of Fine Baking, by Paula Peck (2), which I have always regarded as the bible of fine, European recipes. It includes a recipe for cheesecake that I believe to be a ‘true’ cheesecake, the kind that has a  cake-like texture that I prefer. After baking, you leave it in the off-oven to stand for several hours, which I believe is what creates that texture. I have not yet tested this recipe.

The crumb crust uses ‘1 packet Zwieback’ and 1 cup ‘grated’ walnuts or pecans. See discussion, above, regarding the Zwieback. Regarding the nuts, I’m not sure how one would ‘grate’ walnuts or pecans, other than with a food processor. Using a blender would tend to turn them into nut butter, and running the small things over a hand grater would grate my fingers. So instead, I would use almond meal (ground almonds), at least for the first testing.

It also uses heavy cream, which I would use raw as a first choice. And I would use full-fat cream cheese (the recipe doesn’t specify) and real butter.

I’ve retained the use of real sugar (tho I indicated a preference for Rapadura or other dehydrated sugar cane juice), but I would like to try this using part stevia; I just don’t know what that would do to the texture. Perhaps use 1/16 tsp stevia extract powder in the crumb crust (and no sugar), and ⅛ tsp stevia extract powder plus ½ cup sugar in the filling.


(photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Base and Wall of Soring-form Pan

Spring-form Pan

  • 9″ spring-form pan
  • food processor (for grating nuts)
  • small and medium mixing bowls
  • 2 large mixing bowls (if using stand mixer, its bowl counts for one of the bowls.
  • electric mixer (hand or stand mixer)
  • rubber spatula



  • 4-oz Basic Rusk, ground to crumbs
  • ½ – 1 cup almond meal or grated walnuts/pecans
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp Rapadura sugar
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Lightly grease bottom and sides of spring-form pan.
  2. Grate crumbs and place in medium bowl. Grate nuts (or measure almond meal) and add to bowl. pour melted butter and sugar over and mix together with fingertips until well-blended.
  3. Spread crumb mixture on bottom of spring-form pan; press down firmly.


  • 14 Tbsp (¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp) Rapadura sugar or white sugar
  • 1 ¼ lb (20 oz) soft full-fat cream cheese
  • ¼ tsp Unrefined sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon (for 1 tsp grated zest)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup heavy raw cream, whipped (see Whipped Cream)
  • ½ cup sifted unbleached white flour
  • vanilla sugar (optional, for dusting top of cake)
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add 7 Tbsp sugar, one Tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat until very firm. If using a stand mixer, fit with whisk attachment; after beating, transfer eggs to large bowl using rubber spatula.
  3. In separate bowl (or emptied bowl of stand mixer), mix together cream cheese, 7 Tbsp sugar, salt, vanilla extract and lemon zest. If using stand mixer, you do not need to clean out the bowl or the whisk before mixing in this step.
  4. Add egg yolks and beat until smooth.
  5. Whip cream in small mixing bowl, then pour on top of stiffly beaten whites. Add cream cheese mixture and sprinkle flour on top. Fold all together using rubber spatula or your clean hand.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. do not open oven door until a full hour of baking time has elapsed.
  7. When cake is a light golden brown, turn off oven heat. Let cake stand in oven 3 – 4 hours. Note that it may crack slightly, but this is not cause for worry.
  8. Chill cake before serving.

Serving suggestions

  • Dust with vanilla sugar (optional, below) and cut into wedges.
  • Spread a berry sauce over top (Berry Topping or Blueberry Sauce) and decorate with fresh berries, then cut into wedges.
  • Spread Lemon Curd over top, then cut into wedges.
  • Spread Caramel Sauce over top, then cut into wedges.

Vanilla Sugar

This recipe, from The Fine Art of Baking (1), is something you make a lot of, and then use a little bit at a time.

Place sugar in a canister (with tight lid). Bury the vanilla beans in the sugar, then put the lid on the canister and let it rest for a few days before using. It can be kept a long, long time.


  1. The Art of Fine Baking, by Paula Peck
  2. All Recipes, Zweiback Cheesecake recipe (
  3. King Arthur Flour recipe comment by ‘Kevin’ on 12/2/2009 (
  4. Fine Cooking, Lemon Bar Cheesecake recipe (

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