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Rio-2016 Team GB Oympics

A little while ago, I posted a blog about my mother, Anna’s cheesecake recipe. I wrote at the time that it was without a doubt, the world’s best cheesecake and that she had kept it classified TOP SECRET for decades.

Over time, many people wrote about how much they enjoyed it (while some members of the family questioned how I could divulge it to the world)!

We all know how amazing the internet is and that ones’ words can literally fly around the world. Part of the fun for us writers is that we never know who will read our posts and in which far corners of the globe.

Among the most remarkable and unexpected comments I received was from an American woman, Jane Figueiredo, who was the USA Swimming and Diving Coach of the Decade in the 2000’s and 2013 USA Diving Coach of the Year. She is now living in London, coaching the British Olympic Diving Team! One of her star divers is Tom Daley.

Tom Daley at Rio Olympics 2016

Here is her extraordinary email.

Dear Sandra: I just wanted to drop you a quick line to say thank you for letting us have the privilege of  making your mom’s cheesecake recipe – I was searching online for a great cheesecake recipe and found yours and decided to make it. A little history first –  I currently coach Olympic athletes here in London and my Olympic divers love cheesecake and I had promised them a special treat because they work so very hard. It is always special when I bring them a special when I bring them a treat because they are on a very strict nutrition program. I made your cheesecake for the whole British Diving Team who are currently in London for a very big competition. It was the first time I used your recipe and I cannot tell you in words how incredibly delicious and amazing it was. They absolutely were so delighted and in awe of how the cake tasted – in fact, they couldn’t believe that I could make such a thing!!!!!! I told them about your incredible recipe and they were so excited. I put it together just like you said and then put fresh fruit on top to really make it look and taste amazing. I am no making a second one for the volunteers at the London OylmpicAquatic centre because they have been so kind and nice so I thought I would make their day and say thanks by making them your cheesecake. I know they will love it and I will be sure to tell them where I got it from. Your mom and you have made so many of us very happy and brought a lot of sunshine into our lives by allowing us to have your beautiful delicious cheesecake recipe – thank you from all of us and I can’t wait to keep brightening people’s days with your incredible cake. I will send pictures along the way – Keep in mind I am by no means a baker. Just trying to do my best! Thanks again and hope you are having an awesome day. Look for us in the upcoming Rio Olympics- watch for Tom Daley who will be diving men’s  10m platform – he loves, loves, loves, loves your cheesecake!!!! 

Bye for now Jane Figueiredo British Olympic Coach

Daley and Jane Figueiredo

I don’t mean to be unpatriotic, but I will be rooting for both the U.S. and the British diving teams at the 2016 Rio Olympics, especially for Tom Daley because he REALLY loves Grandma Anna’s cheesecake!

 I am so touched by the serendipity of this experience. Here is my mother, a woman born in a shabby, poverty-stricken village in Russia, who came to America with rags of her feet nearly a century ago and whose baking skills are bringing pleasure to contemporary, world-class athletes in the United Kingdom.

Here’s my original blog about my mother which was recognized with a Voices of the Year Award from Blogher.

And here’s her original cheesecake recipe:




10 inch Springform pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


2 cups of Graham Cracker Crumbs (Nabisco -13 1/2 oz. box)

1/4 pound butter (1 stick)

Pinch of cinnamon

Melt the butter and mix with the cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs

Press down into pan (a little bit higher on the sides)

Bake for 5 minutes at 350, take out of oven and let it cool)

Turn off oven


Four 8 oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese at room temperature

4 eggs

1 Cup Sugar

Pinch of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of cake or regular flour

Put cream cheese into a mixing bowl ( 4 pkgs of cream cheese)

Add 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour, pinch of cinnamon and beat mixture

Add 1 egg at a time and beat into mixture

Pour mixture onto pre-cooked cooled Graham cracker crust

Bake 40 minutes at 375


After baking the filling remove from oven. Let cool for  30 minutes before smoothing the topping onto the cake.


1 pint container or sour cream

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 tsp of vanilla or almond extract

Beat several minutes together. Smooth on top of cheesecake. Bake for 8 minutes.

Take out cake and place on something to cool. Place in fridge overnight.

Take off collar of spring form pan and pat more graham cracker crumbs onto the sides of the cake.

Tom Daley celebrating

Jolly good!

All images appearing on SWIMMING WITH CHEESECAKE are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • Anita Rivera - Good morning, Sandra! It’s nice to see you and learn more about you. I think I missed your original blog with the recipe, but thank you for sharing it here. It’s quite amazing to think that someone on the other side of the globe may read what we write. We never would have imagined our stories reaching so far, and in this case, your mother’s recipe! I have a question about the instructions. By saying to put the mixture into a cold oven, you are putting in the mix, then heating it? So it’s a slow bake, I take it? And are you putting this mixture into the pre-baked crumb crust? I just wanted to clarify. I want to try this. My husband is mad about cheesecake! Have a wonderful day, Anita RiveraReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Anita. I revised the recipe to make it clearer I hope. Yes, you pour the mixture into the cooled Graham cracker pie crust. Then you cook in an un-preheated oven. I don’t even know if that’s a word. But bottom line do not pre-heat the oven. You can also top it with whatever fruit you would like. My mother liked Kiwis. Some prefer strawberries. If you click on the highlighted link you will see the recipe and original post. Here it is http://www.apartfrommyart.com/the-worlds-best-cheesecake-recipe/
      I hope your husband enjoys this. Love, love your photographs!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Well that is just awesome!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thank you Lisa. I was so touched by Jane’s comment. Just loved it!!!! I agree. AWESOME.ReplyCancel

  • LA CONTESSA - I have a SON……….the one with the PIGGY WHO ADORES CHEESECAKE.
    I shall make this for HIM.You must be GLUED to the TV this week……………now you have piqued my interest as well.WISH we could FLY Over and deliver a cheesecake to this KID no MATTER who WINS!LONdon is calling my NAME………………MU ST check on that little PRINCE too who was born on MY DAY!GEORGE.
    THANKS FOR SHARING WITH US……………..I WONDER where your MOTHER found the recipe?DO you know?ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Absolutely make this for your son. He will love it. I bet your mother would also. Actually, your postman would too. My mother used to make this for everyone. They so looked forward to her Cheesecake gifts. Here’s the original post so you can read the WHOLE story about how she got the recipe. http://www.apartfrommyart.com/the-worlds-best-cheesecake-recipe/ The twist at the end just makes it for me. I won’t give the story away. You must read it.ReplyCancel

  • Lillian Plummer - Loved reading your story and the letter you received. The swimming in Rio has been magnificent. Unfortunately not many Aussie female gold contenders but the Brits have been outstanding. I am going to make your mom’s cheesecake. Haven’t made one in a while because it seems everyone is watching their waists. Love pavlovas as well. Best wishes Lillian. xxReplyCancel

    • sandra - Regarding waistlines. Remember you don’t eat cheesecake every day. So I figure it’s OK. I do love pavlovas also. Love them filled with fresh fruit. Yes, the swimming and the gymnastics have been so exciting. What a thrill to see such talent.ReplyCancel

  • Anita Rivera - Dearest Sandra!!!! Thank you for clarifying the recipe for me! I just wanted to make sure. What a GREAT tradition to pass down and even to an Olympic athlete! That is A M A Z I N G !

    I want to thank you for going to Vicki’s post. I just saw your comment and you bless me. I think this was the year for me to really learn my camera and do my photography even more as an artist. I am excited frankly, about the mistakes I’ve made so that I can figure out what I need to do better to get a certain look. However, I will be selling my work, but as you know, these things do take time. YOU, YOU are one of about three women who have strongly believed in me and I won’t ever forget your support. I will let you know when I have cards available.

    I can’t wait to make this cheesecake. BRAVO! Merci et bisous! AnitaReplyCancel

  • sandra - Via email from Angel Everett:
    : Thank you so much for sharing your Mother’s cheesecake recipe. I have a question : when you put the topping on the cheesecake & bake for 8 min…are you baking it @ 375 degrees in a preheated oven or cold oven? I loved the story of ur Mother’s cheesecake …again, thank you for this story about your amazing Mother.

    • sandra - Turn the oven off after you bake the filling. Let the filling cool for 30 minutes and then turn the oven on and bake. Do not pre-heat.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.ReplyCancel

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