To many, Alton Brown is a modern day Julia Child - not in his nerdy, scientific approach to cooking, but as someone home cooks are very familiar with and trust wholeheartedly. Khloé Kardashian is a very different cultural figure. She's famous for just about everything – her hair, style, body, family, boyfriend, sass, and, yes, even her cooking. And although her kitchen skills are significantly less established than the Food Network star's, she has a healthy library of subscription-only recipes on her website. (Luckily, her very popular cheesecake tutorial is free on YouTube.)
Could Khloe's cheesecake take down Alton's 5-star recipe? Considering Alton's extreme attention detail, we went into this snackdown very skeptical. But hey, crazier things have happened. (Remember when Kris Jenner's mac and cheese beat Martha Stewart's?)
Khloé refers to this as her "Bomb Ass Cheesecake," and we can see why. It's a beauty. At first we though 5 blocks of cream cheese was insane (our recipes usually use between 3 and 4). But once we baked it, we totally understood: This is the tallest cheesecake we've ever made. And in the world of cheesecake, height is a very good thing.
Our biggest problem with Khloé's recipe was her crust. Ours came out totally fine, but no thanks to her! She calls for "1-2 cups graham cracker crumbs," which is a huge range. We went with 1 1/2 cups (for the 5 tablespoons melted butter) and feel comfortable recommending the same amount to you.
Luckily, everything else in the recipe went off without a hitch. Besides the copious amount of cream cheese, the filling is pretty classic. There's some sour cream, a little bit of flour, a generous amount of vanilla, and 4 eggs. And in a water bath, the mixture baked wonderfully at 350°. To avoid cracking, Khloé recommends letting the cheesecake cool for an hour in the cracked open, turned off oven. This, friends, is the best piece of cheesecake advice anyone can give you. Bravo, Khloé.
This recipe surprised us and not in a good way. First, instead of a springform pan, you're supposed to use a cake pan lined with parchment paper. If you've ever made cheesecake, you know how shocking this is. Without a springform, you're basically forced to invert the baked cheesecake upside down before plating ... which is TERRIFYING.
Then, there's the baking temperature. Alton, 250°?! Really? We tested his recipe twice. The first time, the cheesecake baked for more than 2 hours and was still super jiggly. Since we suspected the oven wasn't working properly, we decided to make it again (in a different oven). The second time, the cheesecake was still insanely loose after his recommended 1 hour of baking. After 1 1/2 hours, it was still far less set in the center then we would ever feel comfortable with for our cheesecake, but we turned off the oven, propped the door open, and let it cool anyways.
After sitting in the fridge overnight, everything worked out okay in the end. But we're still ultra wary of baking time and temp. (And upon further investigation into online reviews, others are too.)
Both cheesecakes were met with raving reviews. Our deputy editor Lindsay (also our queen of cheesecakes) said they were "the most melt in your mouth cheesecakes [she's] ever tasted." And other taste testers agreed.
But when forced to choose a slice, most people pointed to Alton's. They loved the soft custardy texture (maybe due to the low baking temperature) and ever-so-slightly preferred the flavor of his. It tastes less cream cheesy (he uses half the amount that Khloe does), and the extra 3 egg yolks make a big difference.
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