Spago Cheesecake


Wolfgang Puck’s recipe makes a rich, creamy cheesecake with a nice nutty crust.

Baking notes:

  • With a hot water bath during baking, it’s a little scary to remove the pans from the oven, but I found that placing the pans on a baking sheet decreases the risk of burning yourself.
  • If you’re impatient and don’t mind a slightly warm cheesecake, you can eat it the same day you bake it.

Original recipe


Spago Cheesecake
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

Yield: One 9-inch cheesecake

For the butter crunch crust:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  •  1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  •  2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (yogurt also works)
  •  1 tablespoon dark rum (brandy also works)
  •  1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  3 eggs


  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the butter crunch with your hands, until the mixture resembles very small pebbles.
  3. Press the Butter Crunch Crust into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and cover base completely.
  4. Wrap heavy-duty foil (or 2 layers of regular foil) around the bottom and up the sides of the pan, pleating to tighten.
  5. Bake crust for about 8 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Place the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle or beaters, on medium speed, beat until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and under the beaters with a rubber spatula.
  7. Turn the speed to high and continue to beat until nice and creamy.
  8. Stop the machine and add the sour cream, rum, lemon juice, and vanilla.  On medium speed, continue beating until well blended.
  9. Add eggs and beat just until combined.
  10. Scrape into the prepared springform pan and set the pan in the center of a larger baking pan.  If you’re nervous about the hot water, set the pans on a rimmed baking sheet.
  11. Pour enough hot water into the larger pan to reach about halfway up the sides of the springform pan, but not above the foil.
  12. Carefully place pans and sheet in the oven and bake until the top is lightly golden and slightly firm in the center, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cake will become firmer as it cools
  13. Remove pans and sheet from the oven.  Carefully lift out the springform pan and place on a rack. Remove foil from pan to help cool the cake.
  14. When completely cool, refrigerate, covered, overnight. The cake should not be served until it is very firm.

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