Eat the Cheesecake the Obamas Eat

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There’s a cool article in the NYTimes today about the pastry chef in the White House. He sounds like an incredibly fun guy and he includes a recipe for cheesecake, which is apparently revamped from Mamie Eisenhower’s recipe. I’m not sure what prompted him to give the recipe for cheesecake, but it’s just in time for Shavuot, so maybe I’ll give it a go in the ol’ MJL test kitchen this weekend. In the meantime, here’s the recipe for those other adventurous cooks out there.


4 ounces butter (1 stick), melted, plus extra for greasing the pan

6 ounces chocolate wafer cookies

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons flour


12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Sour cream or crème fraîche for topping (optional).

1. To make crust: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Butter an 8-inch springform or plain cake pan, and line bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

2. Spread cookies on a baking pan and toast until very dry, about 10 minutes. Remove, and leave oven on. Pulse in food processor to make medium-fine crumbs. Mix one cup tightly packed crumbs in a bowl with sugar and flour, then mix in melted butter. Pour into prepared pan and press in evenly.

3. To make the filling: In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until smooth and fluffy, scraping down sides to eliminate lumps. Add sugar and honey, and mix until smooth. Scrape down sides and add sour cream and heavy cream, then mix for 2 minutes, scraping down sides a few times.

4. With mixer running, add vanilla and then eggs one at a time and mix until completely smooth. Pour over cookie base in prepared pan.

5. Place pan in a larger baking pan. Fill that with hot water halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake 80 to 90 minutes, just until set. To test for doneness, shake cake pan gently. There should be no liquidity, but it should undulate in a mass, like Jell-O. Remove to a rack and let cool, then refrigerate in the pan at least 3 hours or overnight.

6. If using springform pan, remove the ring. If using a plain cake pan, warm bottom of pan over a very low flame one minute, moving it constantly to distribute heat. Invert cake onto a plate, then quickly re-invert onto a serving plate.

7. Frost top of cake with a thin layer of sour cream, if using. Use a thin-bladed knife to cut into pieces, wiping blade in between cuts.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

Posted on May 12, 2010

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11 thoughts on “Eat the Cheesecake the Obamas Eat

  1. harrymerliss

    The best cheese cake is made with cottage cheese instead of cream cheese. It unfortunately requires more eggs, and is made without crust in a spring-form baking pan.

  2. Harold

    All the chefs that appear on TV or on the computer
    are not chefs but show biz.They all have agents, put on makeup
    and push the same old recipes with extra unneeded ingredients
    or flavors.They must also have a foreign accent and know how to act.Keep It Simple Stupid….K.I.S.S.

  3. Richard ben Serai

    Hey you parochial lot, what this archaic measurements of ounces, spoons etc. You Americans forget that the rest of us (including us, your friends from Oz) use the easier metric system of mls, grams, etc (as do your scientists, doctors and so forth). Wake up US before you get left behind – by the way vanilla pods and unsalted butter make for a better taste on this recipe. Good eating!

  4. Ree*

    Sorry Harold, you are dead wrong. Not all TV chefs are fake, some say they are “cooks” & not chefs, but the majority ARE really trained chefs. Pay attention. And if you ck out the websites, the recipes are NOT all repeats, they have many good ones. And a foreign accent?? Very few, most are plain American accents, maybe from the south, etc, but not all. Stop profiling just because they can cook!

  5. sandy r

    the best cheesecake i have ever eaten and still eat is from
    S & S Cheesecake Factory in the Bronx. All the stores on the block sell it. its great

  6. Carol Tedder

    I would enjoy to have the recipe for the cottage-cheese version. I have been substituting cottage cheese for many of the dairy products called for in various recipes for quite some time now, and am definitely impressed with the results.
    Also, for the gent who thinks “most” don’t care re the Obama’s, I think you are wrong. It is sort of kicky to have Mamie Eisenhowers/the Obama’s recipe. No false status involved, just fun. We can eat like the General and his lady did.

  7. Carol Tedder

    I forgot to ask … can something be substituted for the gluten containing ingredients? While most folk are unaware of the fact, recent research shows that upwards of 1/3 of the population suffers unknowlingly from gluten intolerance, while the vast majority of labs test only for full blown Celiac disease. Gluten intolerance is far more prevalent than CD. Europe is way ahead of the US in diagnosing this common problem.

  8. Jay

    Cheesecake the Obamas eat? You’ve got to be kidding! This is a Jewish website, right? Are you even remotely aware of how anti-Israel Obama is? Sad. Very sad. Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai. Shalom.

  9. Anne Ellmers

    Yes Carol, you can substitute crushed Mi-Del brand gluten-free, kosher, ginger snap cookies for the crust but reduce the butter to just a single tablespoon. I substitute corn starch for the flour within the batter as I’m a Celiac…but you can leave it out if you keep kosher. Shalom and happy baking.

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