Bake for your Valentine

Cheesecake Factory copycat cheesecake 

My family, especially my dad, loves cheesecake. As a young gal who very much enjoys baking and subsequently feeding people with the things that I make, you can imagine my great joy when I discovered I could recreate the American royalty of cheesecakes: the Cheesecake Factory cheesecake!

This recipe is not for the faint of heart, though. It amounts to large quantities of cheesecake and is a little bit of an undertaking as it needs to chill overnight. However, it is well worth it, and is sure to blow your Valentine’s date away. 

And if you’re single, never fear! The cheesecake is even more delicious when you get to eat the whole thing.

Before I pass you off, dear reader, to the wilderness of baking, I’d like to shed some light on some of the more peculiar instructions. 

All of the ingredients for the filling are going to be at room temperature. Why, you might ask? It’s not a huge deal if your eggs are cold, but it could cause your cheesecake to crack. This is also why you might not want to open the door while it’s baking.

Don’t worry if it does crack, though! One, you’re going to cover it with the topping. Two, it still tastes like heaven, and will be more effective at enchanting your partner than the cheesecake from Walmart!


A 10 ½ inch springform pan (any smaller may require a cut recipe or multiple cakes)

An electric mixer



1 c. graham cracker crumbs

¼ c. finely chopped almonds

¼ c. finely chopped walnuts

2 tbsp. white granulated sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 stick melted unsalted butter

Note: The Cheesecake Factory uses nuts in their crust. However, if you have a nut allergy, please replace the nuts with additional graham cracker crumbs (2 cups instead of 1 cup). You can also use any one of the endless flavors of Oreos, Nilla Wafers or a purely nut-based crust if you want to personalize it! 

Filling (all ingredients should be at room temperature)

*Proceed here with caution. This produces a metric ton of Cheesecake. If you are unable to handle such quantities of Cheesecake, please consider half-ing it. It is intended to replicate the height and thickness of the Cheesecake Factory cakes.

6 packages of 8 oz. full-fat cream cheese

2 c. white granulated sugar

5 large eggs

16 oz full-fat sour cream

¼ c. all purpose flour

2 tbsp. corn starch

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Note: Have fun with your cheesecake. Feel free to add different extracts or mix-ins, such as some crushed Oreo cookies.

Additional note: When I first made this recipe myself, I accidentally put the cinnamon from the crust into the filling. It wasn’t a terribly strong flavor and actually complimented the vanilla very well. Give it a try!


2 c. full fat sour cream

¼ c. white granulated sugar

Note: You can mix in chocolate or berry sauces when topping your cheesecake to add more flavor and decoration, too.


  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and ensure your top oven rack is situated in the middle of the oven.
  2. TO PREPARE THE CRUST finely chop or process the nuts. Add all crust ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
    Grease a 10 ½ in. springform pan and press crust mixture into it, trying to line the sides with about an inch of crust.
    Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. TO PREPARE THE FILLING make sure that all of your ingredients are room temperature before you touch anything else, okay?
    Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is light, fluffy, and afraid of you. Slowly add in the sugar as you continue to abuse the cream cheese. Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
    Add in your vanilla extract, and/or any other extracts or mix-ins you are using. Pour the filling into the pan with the prepared crust. 
  4. BAKE in the preheated oven for one hour and fifteen minutes. Try to resist the powerful urge to open the oven until the sixty-minute mark. It should be puffy and golden brown around the edges, and the center should give a slight wobble.

When it’s finished, turn off the oven and open the door, leaving the cake to cool for one hour inside.

  1. COOL the cheesecake for another about two additional hours until it is cool enough to be put in the refrigerator.
  2. While the cheesecake is chilling out, prepare the TOPPING. Whisk together the sour cream and the sugar (and any other topping inclusions you’d like) until combined and creamy. Taste and add more sugar if needed/desired.
  3. SPREAD the topping on the cooled cheesecake and return it to the refrigerator. Cool overnight.

“Everyone says you have to be super-precise to bake — like your extra-credit thing, the time-travel project. One calculation out of place and the whole thing would go wrong, right? It’s hogwash! 

Look at this – bit of eggshell in there, scoop it out with a finger, what the hell. Too much flour, forget the butter, drop the pan — it doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make, it mostly turns out OK. And when it doesn’t, you cover it with icing.”

Harriet Reuter Hapgood, The Square Root of Summer

Happy Valentine’s Day and happy baking!

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