This Huckleberry Cheesecake recipe is ridiculously good! The cheesecake is rich, dense, and incredible on its own, and made even better with the tart and sweet huckleberry topping! If you don't have access to fresh huckleberries, we also include a recipe where you can make this with huckleberry preserves.
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If you are lucky enough to have picked fresh huckleberries then you already know how delicious they are! But for those of you new to the huckleberry world, you are in for a delightful treat! Huckleberries are similar to blueberries, but a little bit smaller, and they are a delightful combination of tart and sweet. The flavor of huckleberry balances a rich cheesecake perfectly, giving it just the right level of tanginess.
In my humble opinion, this recipe is the best cheesecake recipe you will find! When you serve it, people will be asking you what bakery you purchased it from. Yep, it's that good! But don't be intimidated! Just because it tastes like it is from a bakery doesn't mean you need to be a master baker. Even a beginner baker can make this luscious cheesecake!
Ingredients You Need
- Cream Cheese: The filling for this cheesecake is similar to a classic New York cheesecake. That means it has a lot of cream cheese! Two pounds of cream cheese, to be exact! This makes it creamy, dense, and delicious!
- Eggs: Eggs add more creaminess to the cheesecake, and contributes to the rich texture. But too many eggs can cause your cheesecake to crack. We achieve the best of both worlds by using 4 large eggs and 2 egg yolks.
- Flour: Another way we fight against cracks is by adding flour to the cheesecake. This provides structure to the cheesecake and helps it to stand firm.
- Sour Cream: Adds moisture to the cheesecake, without making it too liquidy.
- Lemon Juice, Vanilla, and Sugar: For mouthwatering flavor.
- A Graham Cracker Crust: Not pictured is the graham cracker crust. But don't be fooled! It is still an important part of this cheesecake. We use graham crackers, butter, sugar, and just a pinch of salt.
- Huckleberry Topping: For fresh huckleberry topping you need fresh huckleberries, of course, along with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, and a little bit of water. But if you are making this with huckleberry preserves it is even easier - just preserves, lemon juice, and water!
Making a Buttery Graham Cracker Crust
A great crust is the foundation for a wonderful cheesecake, and this crust does not disappoint! There is not a hint of sogginess. It is crisp and buttery, with a hint of salted caramel flavor.
- Wrap your springform pan with aluminum foil before filling with the crust, so that the water bath does not leak into your cheesecake.
- It can be tricky to get a crust distributed evenly. To make this easy, use a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to press in the crust to the bottom and sides of your springform pan.
- When the crust bakes, the sides may slip down. But don't fret! Just use that same measuring cup while the crust is still warm, and you can press the sides back up nice and high.
How to Keep Your Cheesecake from Cracking
1) Don't Overmix Your Cheesecake Filling
- Begin with all of your ingredients at room temperature. All of them! That means, the cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs all need to be sitting on your counter for at least an hour. This helps your ingredients incorporate together without having to overmix.
- Don't overmix. Mixing your cheesecake batter heavily will add too much air into your cheesecake. Then when it bakes the cheesecake will fall, causing cracks in the surface.
- It is okay to beat your cream cheese and sugar together well, but for the rest of the ingredients, mix them in on low speed until they are just incorporated.
2) Use a Water Bath
Before we get into how to make a water bath, let's take a look at why you want to make a water bath for your cheesecake. To put it simply, the water bath releases steam that allows your cheesecake to cook slowly. This helps it cook evenly and also keeps it from cracking.
- The most important part of preparing for a water bath is wrapping your springform pan with heavy-duty foil. Use foil that is 18" wide so that you can use an 18x18-inch square. Place the pan in the middle of the foil and bring the foil up around the pan. The pan should be wrapped where there are no creases or holes on the bottom half of the pan, where water can get in.
- Place the springform pan, filled with the cheesecake, in a large roasting pan. If you do not have a large enough pan, you can place the springform pan directly on an oven rack and put the water in a pan on the rack below. This does not work quite as well but is better than not using a water bath at all.
- Pour boiling water into the pan, being careful to not splash into the cheesecake. Fill the roasting pan with 1-inch of water.
- About halfway through baking, check the pan and add more water, if needed.
3) Bake it Slow, Cool it Slow
- The hardest part of making cheesecake is that it is an exercise in patience! It cooks at a low temperature of 325 degrees so that the outside of the cheesecake is not overcooked by the time that the middle is ready.
- Look for your cheesecake to be just developing some light brown spots, with the middle still being a little bit jiggly.
- Turn your oven off and crack the door open. Let the cheesecake cool slowly for an hour.
- Remove from the oven and refrigerate for 8 hours.
How to Make Huckleberry Topping
Fresh or frozen huckleberries can be used to make the huckleberry topping. And if you don't have access to whole huckleberries, check out the recipe notes for directions on how to make a topping using huckleberry preserves!
To make the topping, place the berries, water, and sugar into a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes. This softens the huckleberries and draws out the juices.
Adding the cornstarch directly to the sauce would make it lumpy. Instead, we mix it with the lemon juice. This makes a slurry, which is a starch and liquid mixed together to thicken a sauce. Add the slurry into the huckleberry mixture and cook it for a couple of minutes until the sauce has thickened, then cool.
If you want your topping thinner, then add more water, a half tablespoon at a time. If you want it thicker, make another slurry and add a half teaspoon at a time to the mixture.
Other Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy
Frequently Asked Questions
Blueberries are a delicious substitution if you do not have access to huckleberries, but you can also make this recipe using strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries!
This recipe can be made in a 9x13 pan or two cake pans. Check your cheesecake after it has been cooking for an hour, as the baking time will vary based on the pan that you are using.
Neufchatel cheese can be used, which will reduce the fat content a little bit. I do not recommend using a low fat cream cheese as it will affect the texture and overall results of the cheesecake.
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (13 full graham cracker sheets)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 32 ounces cream cheese (4 eight-ounce blocks)
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cup huckleberries
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
Graham Cracker Crust
- Pulse graham crackers in a food processor to create fine crumbs. Alternatively, you can crush the crackers in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin.
- Transfer the graham cracker crumbs to a medium bowl and add the sugar and melted butter. Mix well until fully combined.
- Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup or glass, press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a springform pan.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and open the oven door until it has cooled to 325.
- If the crust has fallen or crumbled then while it is still warm use the measuring cup to press back against the sides.
- Wrap the outside of a springform pan with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Pour water into a large stock pan or tea kettle and bring to a boil.
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for 1 minute. Add sugar and continue beating for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add flour and mix until incorporated. Add vanilla and lemon juice and beat on low speed until combined.
- Add the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed in between each addition. Scrape the bowl before adding the next egg.
- Mix sour cream into the mixture, using low speed. It should be fully mixed into the batter but you do not want to beat it at this point, or overmix.
- Pour the cheesecake batter over the graham cracker crust and use a spoon or spatula to smooth the batter.
- Place the cheesecake into a roasting pan. Pour the boiling water into the pan until it reaches 1-inch up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for 90-100 minutes, or until the cheesecake has set. The edges should be slightly puffed and the middle of the cheesecake will still be jiggly.
- Turn the oven off and crack open the oven door, allowing the cheesecake to cool for 1 hour without moving it from the oven.
- Remove from the oven and discard the foil. Run a knife around the edge of the pan so that the cheesecake does not stick. Place plastic wrap over the top of the cheesecake and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
- Place huckleberries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, make a slurry of cornstarch and lemon juice, mixing together until smooth.
- Stir the cornstarch slurry into the huckleberries and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until thickened, then remove from the stove and cool to room temperature.
- When ready to serve, remove the outer ring from the springform pan and pour the huckleberry topping over the top of the cheesecake.
- Fill a tall glass with hot water. Dip a sharp knife into the water, then slice the cheesecake. After each cut, dip back into the water and wipe it with a towel so that each cut into the cheesecake begins with a clean knife.