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What Is Sour Cream Cheesecake?

Amy Rodriguez
Amy Rodriguez

Sour cream cheesecake is a slight variation on the traditional cream cheese cheesecake most often seen at bakeries or restaurants. Every chef has a different perspective on the perfect cheesecake filling mixture. Many cooks may mix cream cheese with other dairy products — including sour cream, ricotta, and cottage cheese — for a unique and decadent dessert.

Numerous recipes reflect different quantities of sour cream versus cream cheese. The majority of sour cream cheesecake recipes use a 1 to 2 ratio of sour cream to cream cheese for the filling. The sour cream adds flavor, as well as texture, to complement the rich cream cheese taste.

Cream cheese is a relatively mild cheese choice. The addition of sour cream to the cream cheese provides a sharper overall flavor. Sugar also complements the cream cheese and sour cream combination by calming the sharp taste with a sweet undertone.

A bowl of sour cream.
A bowl of sour cream.

Cooks who use a higher ratio of sour cream to cream cheese will have a cheesecake that does not harden properly during baking. The cheesecake will not be able to cook within the necessary time and temperature, resulting in an overcooked or burnt dessert. Any overcooking will produce unsightly cracks along the cheesecake's exterior surface. Sour cream cheesecakes must be cooked at lower temperatures, such as 300 to 325 ° Fahrenheit (149 to 164 ° Celsius), for a long period of time for the best results.

Pie crust is optional with this cheesecake type. The typically chosen graham cracker crust provides a flavor cushion against the richness of the filling. Many cooks sprinkle some crumbs on the top of the cheesecake for aesthetics and to impart another flavor layer during consumption.

Sour cream cheesecake can also have a final decorative topping in the form of a sour cream dollop. This sour cream topping can also be smoothed and layered against the top and sides of the dessert. The final result is a smooth outer texture combined with a creamy, rich interior filling.

Typical cheesecakes have a small, quivering middle spot immediately after baking. This middle spot is normal for the sour cream cheesecake as well, since it will harden during the cooling period. Cooks should realize the middle spot in a sour cream cheesecake will appear larger, as well as tremble more, than a common cheesecake. The fluidity of the sour cream makes the cheesecake more unstable initially after baking, but as it cools it will slowly match the consistency of the surrounding cheesecake filling.

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    • A bowl of sour cream.
      A bowl of sour cream.