Bea's Cheesecake

“I’ve spent years trying and testing this recipe to ensure it produces a perfectly smooth and decadent cheesecake every time. It is a fusion of different recipes, tweaked and added to over time to get just the right, rich consistency. It has been a labor of love getting this right—I do love a good cheesecake!”

–Bea Tollman
Celebrity Chef & Founder of Red Carnation Hotels


  • 3 lbs (1.35 kg) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated (room temperature)
  • 1 bourbon vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 cups (450 ml) sour cream


  • 2 cups (450 ml) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar


  • 1 1/4 cup (250 g) finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 2/3 cup (130 g) white sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 g) butter, melted
  • 3/4 tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. To make the crust, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter and cinnamon until well blended. Press the mixture into an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan, ensuring a thin, consistent layer, and bake at 375°F (190°c) for 7 minutes. Leave to cool, and then chill for an hour.
  2. Whip the cream cheese and half the sugar together. Add the egg yolks, bourbon vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, salt and sour cream, and whip thoroughly, scraping the bowl. Whip the egg whites with the rest of the sugar. Fold the whites into the cheese mixture and very gently pour into the prepared springform pan. Wrap the bottom of the pan and place in a water bath. Bake in the oven for an hour at 350°F (180°C), then turn off the heat and allow to remain in the oven for another hour. Remove, cool on a rack and then refrigerate for 12 hours.
  3. Topping is a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh mint leaf.

    Serves 12

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