Gary Spina’s Famous Cheesecake



Even these fellows up in Alaska have heard about Gary’s Alaska bush cheesecake

Gary Spina’s Famous Cheesecake

(Just in time for the holidays – sure to endear you to your family and friends.)


by Gary Spina

(copyright 2013, by Gary Spina)

This recipe is brought to you because so many of my friends – all two of them – have been driving me nuts begging me for my famous cheesecake recipe – which I have perfected painstakingly over the last forty or so of my golden years.  The other thirty years were just sort of a dry run for the Grand Finale, so please keep this recipe dear.

This is a holiday thing, with Thanksgiving and Christmas and the New Year all looming precariously before us.  People have said that this cheesecake is a rich New York Style Cheesecake, and maybe so, but it has its roots in the Alaska bush and the North Woods of Maine.

Just a word of caution.  It is dangerous and unlucky to change anything about this recipe – even the minutest spoonful of any ingredient.  I’m trusting you will be circumspect – a very study in caution itself.  Please.  And please do not take it personally if, as I write this recipe, I talk to you as though you are a complete idiot.  Two of my best friends are idiots, and I have a special place in my heart for them.


The pan:

10 X 3 spring pan is a must.  (Please don’t attempt any other size.)


***  4 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese

(Please use a decent brand like Philadelphia.  And no “lite,” “light,” or “low fat” stuff.  Use the original authentic stuff – you will be happy you did and totally disappointed if you don’t.)

***  1½ pints of sour cream

(Again, use the good stuff.)

***  8 – eggs

(All right – here I cannot remember, but I’m sure I use extra large eggs.  That’s because I only buy extra large or jumbo eggs.  Medium and small eggs have never darkened my kitchen.)

***  1½ — cups of sugar

***  2 – tablespoons of flour

***  6 – tablespoons of heavy cream

(I have found that 6 tablespoons of heavy cream are the maximum.  You will be dangerously close to disaster if you use any more.  Less is perfectly all right, but never use any more.)

***  6 – teaspoons of vanilla

(Please do not mistake your teaspoons and tablespoons – especially if you are sipping hot-buttered rum or eggnog as you work.)

***  dash of cinnamon

(Add the cinnamon as you are mixing the other ingredients.  May I repeat: Add the cinnamon while you are mixing.)

***  Crush up a bunch of graham crackers

(You will know how much you’ll need.)


Now pay attention.  This is crucial.  All the ingredients must be at room temperature – the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, heavy cream – especially the cream cheese because you are going to have to mix it and it will be almost impossible to mix if it’s cold.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and use the lowest oven rack.  Okay, let me write that as a separate step so there is no mistake.

Use the lowest oven rack.

Mix all the ingredients for 8 minutes.  Again, I will repeat myself: Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix for 8 minutes with an electric mixer

Spray the spring pan.  Spray the bottom and sides of the spring pan with a good, name brand spray.

Sprinkle the crushed graham crackers on the bottom of the pan.  It is important to use enough so that you have a generous covering.  You will be sorry if you don’t.

Pour in the batter lovingly, but with scarcely restrained anticipation.  Smiling during this step is common – although assuredly, the cheese cake is not at all common.

Place the pan in the center of the lowest oven rack.

Bake for 55 minutes – or until the top is brown.  If you need more time to brown the top, return the pan to the oven for 5 minutes.  If still necessary, return it for an additional 5 minutes.  In other words, after the initial 55 minutes of baking — if necessary — use 5 minute intervals to get the top brown.

When the cake is done it is not done.  (At this point, you can call it a cake, but you are not done.)  Turn off the oven and leave the cake in the oven with the door ajar for 2 hours.  Don’t forget to turn off the oven.

The cake will rise above the sides of the spring pan while it’s baking.  That is normal.  Don’t worry — it will settle and fall as it cools.  Cracks on the top of the cake are normal.  If you do not have cracks on top you have accomplished something I’ve never accomplished.


Voila!  You have now completed the Gary Spina Famous (dare I say “World Famous”?) Cheesecake.  Cool the cake in the fridge and later you may top the cake with blueberry or cherry topping to cover the cracks.  Mention my name a dozen or more times, saying all nice things about me as you serve and eat the cake.

May you have a Happy Thanksgiving, a blessed and loving Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year filled with love, joy, warmth, good health, and prosperity.


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