Ok, I may be a professional food blogger. But lest I forget, this does not mean that I am a professional chef.
I was reminded of the fact this week on my first attempt at this blueberry cheesecake recipe. I had been planning for weeks to try this fancy tall graham cracker crust, topped with a thick layer of blueberry filling. It seemed like a spectacular plan in my mind. So I gathered the ingredients, made a super tall crust, par-baked it, and then poured some glorious cream cheesy filling into the center. Let me tell you — it looked great!
So I left it alone as it baked, and returned an hour later to behold my masterpiece. But when I glanced in the oven, all I could see were graham cracker crumbs. Lots, and lots, and lots of graham cracker crumbs — in all the wrong places.
Not quite the look I was going for.
It turns out that apparently graham cracker crusts and warm baked cheesecakes don’t mix well. Or maybe the problem is that they mix too well. When the cheesecake poofed up during baking, it basically took the crust back with it on its way down. I also decided to pass on actually immersing the pan in a water bath, and had opted to just set the pan of water below, which also led to some extra poofing.
This once again proves my theory that you learn an important lesson each time you bake a cheesecake. I at least do!
So for blueberry cheesecake recipe #2 of the day (yes, this little fighter was determined to conquer the recipe within 24 hours), I made a few changes. This time I:
chickened out and went with a flat graham cracker crust, and par-baked it for a solid 10 minutes (although I’m sure a normal crust would have worked too)
immersed the crust in a water bath, wrapped in heavy-duty aluminum foil
baked it on a shelf on the bottom 1/3 of my oven (forgot how much this helps)
went with fresh instead of frozen blueberries
And for an extra experiment, I decided to go with some low-fat (Neufchatel) PHILADELPHIA cream cheese and Greek yogurt to make this a lighter cheesecake recipe.
It turned out that the second time was a charm!!!
What can I say?
The cake was beautiful. The crust was neatly on the bottom of the cheesecake, instead of crumbled on top. And it tasted unbelievable!!!
Basically, I learned my lesson that cheesecakes and shortcuts don’t mix. And I also learned that the lighter ingredient combination was a total winner! I loved the combination of the Greek yogurt and cream cheese. And while the fresh blueberries probably tasted the same as the frozen, they stayed much plumper and made for a prettier presentation on top.
I also have to give some big props to the one and only cream cheese I use with cheesecakes — PHILADELPHIA! I always appreciate knowing that PHILADELPHIA cream cheese is made with real and fresh ingredients. Their milk and cream come from local farms near their creameries, and they are committed to using real ingredients like fresh pecans and jalapenos in their new Honey Nut and Spicy Jalapeno (my fav!) varieties. There’s a reason why they’ve been named America’s favorite cream cheese since 1872!
Cooking techniques aside, I think the real question of the day was probably what on earth to do with two blueberry cheesecakes???
I posed the question to my friends, and they seemed more than happy to help.
The first cheesecake, although not the prettiest, turned out to be 100% edible. So I took it over to my friend Sarah’s house for our traveling Thursday happy hour. We were celebrating the installation of her sweet new projector and screen, hereby deeming her house our crowd’s new favorite movie theater. A summer thunderstorm happened to roll in after we all arrived, automatically “lowering the lights” and providing some nice background rumbling for the inaugural showing of Bringing Up Baby. So we all ate blueberry cheesecake and nooch popcorn and drank summer beers, and called it a good Thursday night.
(Clockwise from top left:) 1. Movie night at Sarah’s 2. Cheesecake attempt #1 (covered up the graham cracker craziness with blueberries 3. Grill night with my neighbors 4. Cheesecake attempt #2, before it all disappeared!
The second cheesecake was saved for the next day, another “neighbor night” gathered around our loft’s grill. Apparently our #neighbornights are becoming the talk of the neighborhood, because we had a huge crowd!!! We grilled galore, basked in the setting sun, let the dogs run free, and ate every last bite of the “pretty” blueberry cheesecake.
This delicious blueberry cheesecake is made lighter with Neufchatel cream cheese and Greek yogurt, and topped with fresh blueberry topping.
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 (8-ounce) bricks PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel (Low-Fat) cream cheese, softened
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Blueberry Topping Ingredients:
3 cups fresh (or frozen) blueberries
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-inch springform pan. Whisk graham cracker crumbs, butter, salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Press firmly onto bottom of the pan (or up the sides, if desired). Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and let cool. Reduce oven heat to 325 degrees F.
Once the pan reaches room temperature, carefully wrap the outside of the pan in 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil, being sure that there are NO gaps where water could seep through. Place the pan in a large roasting dish (or any pan larger than the springform), and bring a tea kettle or pot of water to boil in preparation for the water bath. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed for 3 minutes until smooth. Add the remaining 1 cup sugar and beat for an additional minute until well blended. Add Greek yogurt and vanilla, and beat for an additional minute, stopping partway to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Do not overbeat! Pour into crust.
Place the double pans in the oven on a shelf on the bottom third of the oven. Very carefully use a tea kettle (or large measuring cup) to pour the boiling water in the larger pan to form a water bath around the springform, so that it comes up about 1-inch around the springform.
Close the oven door, and bake about 1 hour 30 min, or until center is almost set. (The cake should still jiggle ever so slightly.) Turn oven off, and open oven door slightly. Let cheesecake set in oven 1 hour. Then remove cheesecake from oven, carefully run a knife around the edges of the cake, and then let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove springform rim, and top cheesecake with blueberry filling just before serving. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator in a covered container.
To Make The Blueberry Topping:
Bring blueberries and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp. water and cornstarch until combined. Stir mixture into the blueberries, and boil for an additional minute until thickened.
Remove from heat and spoon over cheesecake just before serving.
Disclaimer: This is a compensated post from Philadelphia. All opinions are 100% my own, as always. Thanks for supporting the brands that help me bring this blog to you week after week. I appreciate it!
Woah! That is one breathtaking cheese cake. The white cheesecake with those pretty blueberries, what a sight! I bet it tasted wonderful!
Wow, does this look great! Cheesecakes can be so heavy, so I appreciate lighter versions. Those blueberries just look bursting with flavor. I’d so love a slice!
This sounds and looks SO good! I love that it is a lighter version of the more traditional cheesecake. Seriously, how awesome is Greek yogurt??
Oh man, do I know the trials and tribulations of cheesecake all too well. :) This one looks fabulous, dear! And hey, if there’s any recipe to fail on it’s a cheesecake, because two cheesecakes are better than one! ;)
That is one beautiful cheesecake!
Holy heaven, I just want to face-plant in the middle of this! Cheesecake perfection, even if it did take a few tries ;)
I looks gorgeous! And I am so exited you put Greek Yogurt in this!
Sorry about the first round of the cheesecake, although I would’ve gladly helped you out with it! This second one really is perfection though – almost too pretty to eat! I’m glad you were able to master it – I’ve made at least 4 cheesecakes in one sitting and each one was an epic fail!
This is seriously calling my name. And these pictures are really selling it. Those blueberries look so fantastic!
This is gorgeous! I’m glad you did a second attempt, because I love this recipe!
Oh, wow! That is one gorgeous cheesecake! Saw this on pinterest & had to click right over! Love it! Pinning!
This is seriously gorgeous, so glad you persevered and came up with this beauty! The blueberry topping looks incredible!
Ali, could this be any more gorgeous! Your second attempt looks perfect!
You rocked this cheesecake like you make them for a living, all day, every day. It’s stunning! I would love a slice! And those berries…mmmm, so good! Pinned!
GORGEOUS! Ali this looks amazing! You did a beautiful job!
This has happened to me…but my cheesecake has dripped out the sides and everywhere. I fixed the problem by wrapping in foil and starting the cheesecake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes and then turning it down to 350. This seems to “set” all the drippy wonderfulness. Love this lightened version!
Ali, be still my heart! I grew up eating a blueberry cheesecake similiar to this, this brought back fond memories!
So gorgeous, Ali! Lovely photos!!
you guys have SUCH fun traditions!! :) and this looks like the perfect (gorgeous!) accompaniment!
So making this for July 4th!
This crust looks amazing, even short and I love the Greek yogurt/light cream cheese here. So gorgeous!
Ok that cheesecake is totally beautiful!! Great job on correcting whatever went wrong the first time. Baking is my nemesis and I usually give up :)
Cheesecake is my favorite, wish I had a piece right now :)
Your pictures are making me hungry! This looks delicious! :)
The photos of your cheesecake are so yummy looking and pretty and then I love the photos of it all demolished :)
YUM YUM YUM.
This is perfection :) thank you for sharing your mistakes!
Can’t wait to try this
Firstly, love the blog!! Second, I have now made both this Blueberry Cheesecake and the Samoa Cheesecake and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong. I wrap the springform pan well with foil (4 layers), do the whole water bath thing, but somehow, the crust ends up a little moist. I followed the recipe to a T.
The only other thought I had was to put it on a rack in the water bath but not as submerged.
Any hints would be great.
I made this crust free and didn’t do the double broiler (I’m pregnant and was craving the filling mostly – I was too impatient for the water bath method that I usually use) and topped with sour cream at the last 10 mins of baking time, then added the blueberries on top. SO good with a natural blueberry topping – I can’t stand the jarred processed stuff. Love the slight tartness that the blueberries added
That’s wonderful Katie, so glad you enjoyed it!
Instead of a 9-inch springform pan since i dont have the best luck with them, can i use a regular 9-inch pan and do i still do a water bath? Thank you
Sure, you can use a regular 9-inch pan, but it will just be a bit harder to slice and lift the cake out of the pan. (I’d recommend serving it as bars, then!) And yep, I still recommend a water bath for all cheesecakes.
Every recipe on your blog looks SO amazing, especially this one! I have been looking for a low-fat cheesecake recipe and I’m definitely going to try this.
Can I ask if you used full fat greek yogurt or non-fat/low-fat?
Thanks so much, Carrie!! And I used Fage non-fat Greek yogurt for this one. It’s my fav — still light, but very thick and creamy! :)
Hey! Can I use strawberries instead of blueberries with this recipe?
Hey, you sure can! : )
This looks amazing! Did you use full fat Greek yogurt or lowfat/nonfat? Thank you!
I used nonfat Fage yogurt — my favorite! Still lighter, but nice and thick and creamy. :)
My son and I made a sugar-free version of this today. Modifications we made: 1/4 cup of Splenda in the crust, 2 cups of Splenda in the cheesecake mixture, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and the cooking time reduced to 1 hour and 15 minutes. It is scrumptious! My son does like fruit, so we used store-bought caramel and hot fudge. We served this to guests who couldn’t believe it was sugar free and reduced fat. Thanks for posting the recipe. We will definitely make this again.
Thank you for sharing Lisa, we’re so glad to hear it worked out so well without sugar! :D
Glad to know I’m not the only one who sometimes has to bake a recipe more than once! They both look great though.
Thanks Lacey, we hope you love this!
The photos of the cheese cake are not reflective of 3 packages of creamcheese. Is this correct? With the amounts of ingredients it does seem that it would be monumentally bigger. I wanted to make sure because I do not have a spring form pan, and I made a cheese cake last Thanksgiving & i ended up with way more batter.
Hi Poe! Yep, the recipe is correct! The ingredients sound like a lot, but with a 9-inch pan, it wasn’t super big. We hope you enjoy!
This was so perfect! I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing. This was our Mother’s Day dessert and everyone loved it. I picked your recipe from all the blueberry cheesecake recipes online because all your recipes always work out well for me and I’m happy to say this was yet another success. Thank you!
Thanks Jen — we’re so glad you enjoyed this! :D
Oh my God i LOVE cheesecake !!!!! I’m so making this! Could you guy tell me the ingrediants in gram? Or at least the sugar? It would help me alot thank you so much!
Awesome, we hope you love it, Jewel! It’s about 238 grams of sugar. There are several conversion websites out there that are very helpful. Here’s one we like: Enjoy the cheesecake! :)
Hi there! Ayubowan from Sri Lanka!
I noticed that you managed to slide the cheesecake off the springform pan onto a cake stand. May I ask how you achieved it?
I generally end up serving the cheesecake on the baking pan itself, but it looks so lovely on the stand as in your pictures! The cheesecake looks absolutely delectable!
Hi Naadia! We slid a knife underneath, to help release it from the bottom of the springform, then we carefully transferred it to the stand with a big spatula. We hope this helps! :)
What if you don’t have a spring form pan?
Hi Lisa! Spring form pans are ideal, but not essential. You could use a deep dish pie pan and grease it really well with a nonstick spray, or you could use a round cake pan lined with greased parchment. After the cheesecake has cooled entirely, invert it onto a flat surface that has been covered with plastic wrap, and invert again so that it is right size up. We hope this helps!
I followed the recipe exactly – only using 1/2 cup of vanilla and 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt. My guest loved it. I served the blueberries on the side warm. It was creamy and delicious, no one could believe it was light! Thanks kid for the awesome recipe!!
Hi? Can i replace the blueberry with pomegranate? Do you think that it will taste good?
Hi, what can I use instead of eggs?