Sunday Servings: No Bother Cheesecake

Baking is an act of generosity. It is love and kindness and sorrow and hope baked into a loaf of generosity. Sunday Servings is an attempt to spread the generosity a little further by sharing stories and recipes. If you would like to share your own story or recipe, please do so in the comments section or you can tweet ideas to @MamaMcAfee or share on my Facebook page.


No bother cheesecake. Yeah right you say. Cheesecake is always a bother.

That's why there's Jello-no-bake and frozen versions and store-bought--because we're all afraid of being able to make an easy, no fuss cheesecake in our own home.

But really there's no need to be scared of cheesecake from scratch, it's all how you approach the subject.


My father told me the other night, as we celebrated his birthday (well, actually my mom told me he had said to her and he nodded in agreement), that he didn't know what to do with this new relationship of ours.

I agreed.

It's all strange and new and been growing strange and new for over a year now--ever since my first Christmas home from South Africa when something that hadn't been there before was suddenly there.

I'm not sure if it is new found common interest or just an easing of our dueling left-leaning and right-leaning biases or maybe just a daughter growing into an adult and mellowing a bit.

But whatever it is, there's something new there, and I think we're both enjoying it.

Our history of not being able to get along seems to have gone through that wonderful, rejuvenating, life-bringing, composting process and something lovely is growing from it.


Is it trite to compare cheesecake to relationships?


But today I find myself comparing my relationship with my father to cheesecake, and you're just going to have to bear it. (Or just scroll through, get the recipe and move along your way. Your choice.)


Cheesecake is wonderfully difficult, and the fact that I've named this recipe No Bother Cheesecake is a bit of a misnomer, but again, it's all about how you approach the subject.

I know a home baked cheesecake is far more delectable than any store-bought cheesecake. I know the patience and the care it takes to produce a stick-to-the-roof-your-mouth-and-melt-over-your-palate perfection in every bite. I know the wonderful goodness of the fresh-from-the-ice-box chill. And so I approach baking a cheesecake with the patience and care it takes to make a good cheesecake.

I also know what happens when you allow yourself to get a bit rushed, or when you get distracted by the phone and forget to set the timer, or when you're so busy multi-tasking you cannot give your cheesecake the consideration it requires.

And yes, I think my relationship with my dad (and probably most relationships) are a bit like baking cheesecake. They require patience and care and attention. And they require the fore-knowledge of the goodness of the finished product.

No doubt, sometimes we do get antsy, and take our cheesecake out of the oven before it's quite done--still a bit wobbly in the middle. Or sometimes get distracted and take it out to late, with a browing top and blackening sides and crust. Sometimes we misread a direction and add too much this or not enough that.

But I think cheesecakes and relationships can be no bother. You just have to keep in mind, no bother requires love and care and a whole lot of patience and attention. You cannot multi-task your cheesecake or your relationship--not if you want that delectable wonder in every bite perfection.


Good cheesecake and good relationships. Yes. They go together and absolutely should be enjoyed together.

Happy birthday, Daddy. Glad you enjoyed your cheesecake.


No Bother Cheesecake

Adapted from M.J. Novak's recipe in the 1972 Lubbock Christian College Associates cookbook.



  • 12-14 large graham crackers finely crushed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted better
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 pound cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 pint berries (I used raspberries, but feel free to use your favorite berry)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about one small lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons crushed tapioca or favorite thickener
  • 1 cup cold water



  1. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter. Press crust into 9" pie pan or 9" springform pan.*
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl cream eggs, teaspoon vanilla, cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Pour over crumb crust and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Mix sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar and teaspoon vanilla. Poor over baked mixture and return to oven for an additional five minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving.


  1. Combine raspberries, sugar, lemon juice, tapioca and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for about five minutes, stirring constantly until desired consistency is reached. (Sauce will thicken further as it cools.) If desired, puree sauce and strain through a fine sieve.**
  3. Allow to cool and refrigerate for several hours.


*This recipe is originally designed for a regular 9" pie pan. If you're using a 9" springform pan, like mine (see picture), your cheesecake will not be as tall. You can double the cream cheese portion of the cake to make a taller cake, but you'll need to bake for an extra five minutes or so. Watch it carefully. Remove from the oven to add the sour cream topping when you notice the sides browning and the cake wobbles like very solid Jello.

** For cheesecake topping, I prefer not to puree and to leave berries as they are.