Most people think of "New York" cheesecake as the Jewish variant which is moist, creamy and VERY dense since it consists almost entirely of cream cheese, eggs, butter and a very small amount of flour.
Italian cheesecake is drier and although there are plenty of Italians in New York, it is not generally what one would get if ordering "cheesecake" in a dinner or deli or traditional NY restaurant.
FWIW, here's the Junior's recipe -- I've never made this variant although I have made one in this style -- albeit not with a sponge layer bottom. The Junior's recipe is probably the Platonic ideal of NY Cheesecakes.
Junior's Famous No. 1 Cheesecake
From the cookbook Welcome to Junior's! Remembering Brooklyn With Recipes and Memories from Its Favorite Restaurant
One of the most famous, and best tasting, cheesecakes ever!
Ingredients for One 9-inch Sponge Cake Layer
1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
3 extra-large eggs separated
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 drops pure lemon extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Directions for the Thin Sponge Cake Layer for Cheesecake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
2. Beat the egg yolks together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. Then, with the mixer still running, gradually add the 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until thick light-yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more. Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear. Then blend in the butter.
4. In a clean bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form (the whites should stand up in stiff peaks, but not be dry).
5. Stir about 1/3 cup of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites (don't worry if a few white specks remain).
6. Gently spoon the batter into the pan. Bake the cake just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes (watch carefully!). Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling. Do not remove the cake from the pan.
Makes Enough for One Cheesecake
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (the regular variety not light Neufchatel cream cheese), 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 whipping cream
Directions for the Cream Cheese Filling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Make the batter for the sponge cake as the recipe directs Evenly spread the batter on the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool (do not remove it from the pan).
2. While the cake cools, make the cream cheese filling: Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 mintues, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.
3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, then beat in the vanilla and heavy cream. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the bating only until completely blended (just like they do at Junior's). Be careful not to overmix the batter.
4. Gently spoon the cheese filling on top of the baked sponge cake layer. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.
5. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it's completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan.
6. Slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate. If any cake is left over, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Makes Enough for One 8-Inch Cake, About 2 1/2 Inches High
Ingredients for the Macaroon Crunch
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, peacans, and/or walnuts)
1/2 cup angel flake coconut
Ingredients for the Strawberry Topping
1 quart large ripe strawberries
1 cup strawberry jelly
1/2 cup apricot preserves
Directions for the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter a 9-inch springform pan. Make and bake the sponge cake layer. Make the cheesecake filling and bake the cake as for Junior's Famous No. 1 Pure Cream Cheesecake. Transfer the baked cake to a wire rack to cool, about 1 hour.
2. While the cake is baking and cooling, make the macaroon crunch: Spread the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 F oven until golden and crunchy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the crunch aside to cool.
3. To prepare the strawberries: Wash, hull, and sort through the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Starting at the outside edge of the cheesecake, arrange the berries on their sides, in rows, with ends pointing toward the edge of the cake. Continue until the top of the cake is completely covered by strawberries.
4. Now make the strawberry topping: Melt the strawberry jelly and apricot preserves together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Strain and drizzle the warm jelly over the berries.
5. Sprinkle the macaroon crunch ina 1 1/2-inch border around the edge of the cheesecake, covering the berries around the outside edge. Loosely cover the entire cake with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the glaze stick to the wrap.
6. Refrigerate the cake until it's completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the cake from the pan and serve it chilled. Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.