Bea Tollman's Cheesecake

Smooth, creamy, & just sweet enough

“I’ve spent years trying and testing this recipe to ensure it produces a perfectly smooth and decadent cheesecake every time. It is a fusion of different recipes, tweaked and added to over time to get just the right, rich consistency. It has been a labor of love getting this right—I do love a good cheesecake!” 
–Bea Tollman,
Celebrity Chef & Founder of Red Carnation Hotels

Beatrice Tollman, President, and founder of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, published a cookbook that is her memoir of “A Life in Food”. Her book is a celebration of recipes that have either been passed down in the family or discovered while traveling, and all have been perfected from her own personal experience and expertise in the kitchen. For the enthusiastic amateur cook, the recipes are relatively quick and simple to prepare with ingredients that are easily sourced.


3 lbs (1.35 kg) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
6 eggs, separated (room temperature)
1 bourbon vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
1 Tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups (450 ml) sour cream
2 cups (450 ml) sour cream
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1 1/4 cup (250 g) finely ground graham cracker crumbs
2/3 cup (130 g) white sugar
1 1/2 sticks (170 g) butter, melted
3/4 tsp (2 g) ground cinnamon (optional)

Prep Time: 40m


To make the crust, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon until well blended.
Press the mixture into an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan, ensuring a thin, consistent layer, and bake at 375°F (190°c) for 7 minutes.
Leave to cool, and then chill for an hour.
Whip the cream cheese and half the sugar together.
Add the egg yolks, bourbon vanilla bean seeds, vanilla extract, salt, and sour cream, and whip thoroughly, scraping the bowl.
Whip the egg whites with the rest of the sugar.
Fold the whites into the cheese mixture and very gently pour into the prepared springform pan.
Wrap the bottom of the pan and place in a water bath.
Bake in the oven for an hour at 350°F (180°C), then turn off the heat and allow to remain in the oven for another hour.
Remove, cool on a rack and then refrigerate for 12 hours.
Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh mint leaf.
Serves 12

Cook Time: 1hr 7m

Total Time: 14hr

Beatrice Tollman, or Bea as she is widely known, is the founder and president of Red Carnation Hotels, which has 17 four- and five-star properties in the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Switzerland and the States. Red Carnation, Grand European, Trafalgar, and Insight Vacations are just a few of the over 30 brands that make up the Travel Corporation (TTC).

Tollman, a self-taught chef, is deeply involved in the companies she runs. “The idea was that I would help my husband out at the beginning before going on to teach, but I ended up staying in the kitchen for 15 years.” An excellent cook, she has published five editions of her cookbook, “A Life in Food,” with many of the dishes appearing on her hotels’ menus, and on Uniworld’s as well.