Israeli Cheesecake (Dairy)

Vlad Fishman/Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
419 Calories
16g Fat
55g Carbs
15g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 419
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 151mg 50%
Sodium 139mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 212mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This cheesecake is referred to as an Israeli cheesecake because its main ingredient is gevina levana, a soft Israeli white cheese. This fresh, creamy cheese is made from cow's milk, is similar in taste and texture to quark, and makes this cheesecake quite different from a typical American cheesecake.

An Israeli cheesecake is much lighter and airier, with the cake filling and topping more like whipped cream than a dense and thick American-style cake. The layers of the Israeli dessert will be a bit distinct and should have noticeably different tastes and textures. The filling is thicker and sweeter and the topping is a light, sweet and sour flavor combination.

If you decide to add fruit on top, only do so after the cake is thoroughly chilled as it will harden and be more stable and supportive.


For the Crust:

  • 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces/100 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1 tablespoon dry instant decaffeinated coffee

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour

For the Filling:

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3 1/3 cups (750 grams) Israeli white cheese, or quark

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the Topping:

  • 8 ounces sour cream

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla sugar

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  3. In a bowl, combine butter, egg yolks, coffee, sugar, and flour with your hands until the mixture is crumbly.

  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of the cake pan. This forms the base for the cake.

  5. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, white cheese, sugar, vanilla sugar, and flour.

  6. Pour this mixture on top of the cake base.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese does not wiggle. Remove cake and cool for 30 minutes.

  8. Turn oven temperature down to 200 F.

  9. In a small bowl, mix sour cream with vanilla sugar and sugar. Spread evenly over the cooled cake.

  10. Bake again for 20 minutes.

  11. Refrigerate until fully cooled and firm and then serve.

Make Your Own Gevina Levana

Gevina levana may be hard to find in standard grocery stores. Look for it in the dairy aisle of international food stores or ask for it at your local cheese store. Another option is to make your own. It's a little time consuming but only requires buttermilk and time. The buttermilk is heated in the oven and then has to rest for 12 hours, untouched. It then gets strained and has to rest for 5 hours. While it's a mostly hands-off process, it does require a lot of time. If you can't find Gevina Levana in any local store, feel free to substitute quark or even cream cheese in equal amounts.


  • The cheesecake tastes best after it has been chilled for a few hours. It's even better the next day, and the day after that.
  • Add your favorite cheesecake toppings if you want a total indulgence. Try fruit, crushed Oreos, caramel, chocolate fudge, or anything else.