Jess Reiche

I’m a pretty confident gluten-free baker but when my dad suggested I make a cherry cheesecake for my mom’s birthday, a bit of me panicked. Luckily, the other part of me gladly accepted the challenge. You see, I bake a mean tray of brownies and an amazing chocolate chip cookie cake but a cheesecake has only come out of my oven once and it was…”okay.” I don’t know about you, but okay desserts just aren’t acceptable in my world. If I’m going to put sugar and “I would never use that in a healthy meal” ingredients into my body, it better be worth it! So the hunt for a better cheesecake recipe went underway and the results were….too unhealthy for me. 4 eight oz. packages of cream cheese just made me gag – I just can’t do that to anyone’s body. After getting frustrated and overwhelmed I decided to just search through the food blogs I follow to see if anyone has successfully done a cheesecake and aaaaaahh, of course Mel’s Kitchen Cafe did!

So I bought the ingredients, a can of cherry pie filling (ugh, don’t even bother looking at the ingredient list if you want to enjoy it) and 2 boxes of those crazy expensive gluten-free graham crackers and went to work.

The results? A-MAZING! I’m a New Yorker and New Yorkers know good cheesecake. AND THIS WAS A GOOD CHEESECAKE (and I’m not even a cheesecake lover!)

So next time you need to make a cheesecake, look no further. Mel’s got ya covered!

(above picture is my actual bake, below is from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)


Classic Cheesecake from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe


  • 2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon, zest finely grated
  • 1 pint sour cream


  1. To prepare crumb crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan (I use a 10-inch springform pan b/c it is all I have and it works great) with non-stick cooking spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and 1-inch up the sides on the pan, use your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.
  2. To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to slowly beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Blend in the sour cream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  3. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overcook! Do not do a toothpick test in the cake’s center, this will make a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours to set up. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, nonserrated knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each cut.

Recipe Source: adapted from Tyler Florence

Leave a Reply