The Junior's Cheesecake Recipe That Chuck Schumer Spent $8,600 On

If you have a sweet tooth like the Senate minority leader's, you're going to want to bookmark this recipe.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has a pretty innocuous guilty pleasure, as far as politicians’ guilty pleasures go: cheesecake. But not just any cheesecake ― world-famous cheesecake from Junior’s in Brooklyn.

The New York Post reported over the weekend that the Senate minority leader has spent $8,600 gifting the sweet treat over the past decade. In a press conference Sunday, he confirmed that number to be true.

“I give them as gifts,” he said. “I use them for bets, you know when someone wants to bet something, you know for a Brooklyn thing versus a Wisconsin thing. So I say to the New York Post and others, guilty as charged. I love Junior’s cheesecake. It’s the best cheesecake in the world.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer poses with basketball player Bernard King and a Junior's cheesecake during a press conference focused on moving the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn in 2004.
Sen. Chuck Schumer poses with basketball player Bernard King and a Junior's cheesecake during a press conference focused on moving the New Jersey Nets to Brooklyn in 2004.

Junior’s has three locations in New York City ― its original location in Brooklyn as well as two in midtown Manhattan ― and a location at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. It also ships across the country. Part of what makes it so special is its sponge cake crust. An entire plain cheesecake will set you back $43.95, while a slice goes for $7.95.

If that sounds a little out of your baked goods budget, we have good news for you. Junior’s shared the recipe with us. As a warning, it’s quite an arduous process, so you’d be justified in taking Schumer’s route and just ordering one.

In response to Schumer’s affection for its confections, Junior’s owner Alan Rosen, whose family opened the restaurant in the 1950s, told the Post it was “totally news” to him, but he is “appreciative.”

Check out how to make the iconic cheesecake for yourself below.

Junior’s Cheesecake

Behold: a slice of Junior's cheesecake.
Behold: a slice of Junior's cheesecake.

Recipe courtesy of the “Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook” by Alan Rosen

Original New York Cheesecake

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake, about 2 1⁄2 inches high

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-inch) Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust (see below)

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese (use only full fat) at room temperature

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 extra-large eggs

  • 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Make and bake the cake crust and leave it in the pan. Keep the oven on.

2. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.

3. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix! Gently spoon the batter over the crust.

4. Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away — don’t move it). Then, leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or for at least 4 hours.

5. To serve, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Slice the cold cake with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover any leftover cake and refrigerate or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

To make an 8-inch cake:

Make an 8-inch sponge cake crust and use the cheesecake filling ingredient amounts as follows: 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, 11/3 cups sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, 2 extra-large eggs, and 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream. The cooking time will be about the same.

The Junior’s Way

Master Baker Michael Goodman says: “Always bake the cheesecake in a water bath, as we do here at Junior’s. It keeps the heat in the oven moist and helps the cake bake slowly, gently, and evenly. This helps ensure that your cheesecake comes out of the oven with a smooth top — and no large cracks.”

Junior’s Sponge Cake Crust

For one 9-inch cake crust:

  • 1/3 cup sifted cake flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 extra-large eggs, separated

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 drops pure lemon extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

For one 8-inch cake crust:

  • 1/4 cup sifted cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 extra-large eggs, separated

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 drops pure lemon extract

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan (preferably a nonstick one). Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.

2. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

3. Beat the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and beat until thick light-yellow ribbons form, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the extracts.

4. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand, just until no more white flecks appear. Now, blend in the melted butter.

5. Now, wash the mixing bowl and beaters really well (if even a little fat is left, this can cause the egg whites not to whip). Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl and beat with the mixer on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites will stand up and look glossy, not dry). Fold about one-third of the whites into the batter, then the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few white specks, as they’ll disappear during baking.

6. Gently spread out the batter over the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden (not wet or sticky), about 10 minutes. Touch the cake gently in the center. If it springs back, it’s done. Watch carefully and don’t let the top brown. Leave the crust in the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Leave the oven on while you prepare the batter.

The Junior’s Way

Bake the cheesecake crust in the same springform pan you’re using for the cheesecake. Watch the crust closely; since it’s so thin, it needs only 10 to 12 minutes to bake.

Dark Chocolate Sponge Cake Crust

Slice into some of Junior’s cakes, especially the chocolaty ones, and you’ll find a chocolate sponge cake on the bottom, instead of a golden sponge. The recipe and mixing techniques are the same, except you stir in 2 ounces of melted and slightly cooled bittersweet chocolate when you add the extracts.