I’m so excited about spring! I love the spring air, the pops of green that start showing in the landscape and garden and the promise of all the “fresh starts” that spring brings. It’s funny that even our cooking changes when spring arrives. We move from the heavier, heartier, super-filling comfort-food-style of cooking, to dishes that fit our “springy” mood. Lighter, fresher, and brilliantly colorful all come to mind when I think of food for spring.
One of my favorite springtime desserts is cheesecake and it’s a beautiful finish to Easter dinner. Your collection of Easter desserts won’t be complete without this recipe. It’s THAT good! Did you know that April 23rd is National Cherry Cheesecake Day? I’m not sure, who in their wisdom, designates a day to be all about a particular food, but the cherry cheesecake guy…I’m guessing we would get along. 🙂
Cheesecake is one of those things that people are very particular about. There are the purists for whom only a traditional New York cheesecake will do. And then there are those who don’t want to be tied to the oven and opt for completely no-bake cheesecake options. I, and therefore my family, fall somewhere in the middle. My recipe is a baked cheesecake, but nothing about it is traditional. A couple of my kids won’t eat any other cheesecake – only this one. I’ve never had a guest that didn’t feel this beautiful dessert is absolutely scrumptious; and I’m guessing you’re not only going to love how simple it is, but will enjoy the rich, creamy flavor as much as we do!
My cheesecake recipe is made in three simple stages – crust, filling and topping. The crust really sets this cheesecake apart from the crowd. It bakes up to be something like a soft, chewy sugar cookie and it’s so easy to make. A yellow cake mix, a little butter and an egg are all you’ll need to whip up this sweet, tender crust. Press it into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan and move on to your filling.
Mixing the filling is more what you would expect, if you make a lot of cheesecake. Beat together PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese with eggs, sugar and vanilla. Pour the filling over the crust in your baking pan and pop it all in the oven to bake until the filling is set.
The topping for our cheesecake is another unique feature of this recipe. Sour cream, sugar and vanilla are whipped together and spread over the cheesecake, shortly after it is removed from the oven. Cool the cheesecake on a cooling rack and then place it in the refrigerator to chill, for several hours. You can spread the berry topping over the cheesecake before chilling it or if you are like us and have family members who have different preferences for the fruit topping, just before serving, remove the cheesecake from the fridge, cut it into individual servings and add the fruity pie filling of each person’s choice to finish off this beautiful and delicious dessert. Yum!
- 1 yellow cake mix
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 1 large egg
- 2 (8 oz) pkgs PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 2 cups sour cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 (21 oz) can fruit pie filling (your choice of flavors)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix cake mix, egg and butter for crust, with an electric mixer, until they are incorporated and crumbly. Press into an ungreased 9x13 pan. Set aside.
- Beat cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla for filling on medium/high speed with an electric mixer. Continue beating until filling is smooth and creamy. Pour filling over the crust in your 9x13 pan.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the cheesecake is set in the center.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack to cool.
- Mix up the sour cream topping by stirring together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla. When fully mixed, spread the topping over the warm cheesecake and allow the cheesecake to finish cooling.
- Once cool, spread the pie filling over the top of the cheesecake, cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the cheesecake without the fruit topping. When ready to serve, cut the cheesecake into squares and top with each individual’s favorite fruit pie filling. I try to have two or three options available.