Before you cheese-cake dive in, read through these cheesecake tips before you begin. Cheesecake lovers will thank you and you will see for yourself, what a difference these tips will help you to bake the most perfect cheesecake! Everyone will be in ‘awe’ of your awesome cheesecakin’ skills.
To start with...
Cheesecakes are usually made up of soft cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sometimes cottage cheese. The cheesecake filling is made by creaming the cheese and mixing it with eggs, sugar and whatever other flavors you want to incorporate into it. The mixture is then poured into a special spring-form pan and baked.
Now determine the type of crust you want to fill that cheesecake baby in! Graham wafers, gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, shortbread cookies or any flavor of sandwich cookies can be used. Pie crust, cake crust or even a cookie dough crust can also work. Nuts and oats are sometimes used in the crust base too. Cheesecakes can be crust-less too!
It's best to make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature. This will prevent lumps and bumps and what you want, is to end up with a smooth batter. Having all of your ingredients at room temperature makes it much easier to combine everything more evenly.
Over-beating incorporates additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake. For the best texture, whip the cream cheese at a low speed until light and fluffy before adding other ingredients. Add sugar until well combined, then add in the dry ingredients, whipping on low speed until satiny for an additional minute or two for creaminess. Add eggs last, one at a time, and gently mix them in until just combined.
An ideal cheesecake texture is dense, but not heavy.
A springform pan is primarily used for cheesecakes. If you've never used a springform pan, here are some tips how. They are round baking pans that have a removable bottom that gets released from a spring latch on the side of the pan. So the latch is tightened when baking and unlatched when releasing it from the pan. Pretty cool.
Always make sure your oven is at the correct temperature. Use a oven thermometer to confirm. Cheesecake baked at too high a temperature and/or for too long will crack. If you want a lovely creamy texture, don't over-bake.
Preferably bake your cheesecake in a water bath, also known as a Bain Marie. It's a clever trick to better regulate the cooking temperature in recipes that depend mostly on eggs for their structure.
- Because eggs are extremely sensitive to heat - no more than 212 degrees F. (100 degrees C.) so they don't cook too quickly, causing curdling and cracks. The water bath works by absorbing the heat and distributing it gently and evenly around the cheesecake.
- Wrap outside of cheesecake pan in a double layer of foil covering the underside and extending all the way to the top. Foil helps protect against water leaking in and having a soggy crust.
- Prepare a sheet cake pan and line with foil.
- Place your cheesecake pan inside a large, high-sided roasting pan, then place it in the center of the sheet cake pan, so that way if something leaks, it doesn't drip in your oven, but hopefully that doesn't happen because you've securely locked your springform pan, right? The outside pan should be wide enough to leave a 1 to 2 inch edge around the inside pan, so you can pour very hot tap water carefully into the pan until the water reaches 2-3 inches high, unless the recipe specifies something different.
- Carefully, place in oven on center rack. Check the water level a few times during baking and replenish if necessary.
- Bake until center jiggles when you bump the pan from the side. The outer 2 to 3 inches should not move, and the middle should wobble ever so slightly, sort of like Jell-O.
- Turn off the heat of the oven. Crack open the oven door 1-inch, and let the cake cool in the oven, as the oven cools, for another hour. This gentle cooling will help prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.
To test if done, take the cheesecake’s temperature to ensure your cake is baked all the way through but not over-baked. It should register 175°F about 1″ from the edge of the pan. Its center will still appear soft but it’s actually still baking.
Make sure your cake cools slowly, otherwise the cold can “shock” cheesecake into cracking. When your cake tests done, turn the oven off, prop the door open an inch or two, and leave the cake inside to cool completely in the cooling oven.
Many recipes call for a 6-hour overnight chill time. This is necessary if you want a completely set cheesecake that will come out of the pan easily. Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake.
To get out of the springform pan, loosen the cake’s edges. Run a thin spatula or table knife all around the edge of the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven, and prior to returning it to the oven to cool to help prevent a slumped center .
When cutting a cake cleanly, use a hot knife for each cut. To do this, fill a tall with hot tap water deep enough to cover the entire blade of your knife. Dip the knife into the hot water, and wipe it dry on a clean towel before making a cut each time.
Let cheesecake stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before serving for the most perfect taste.
(These rules also apply to baked custards and crème brulees.)
Do you have a great tip for a perfect cheesecake? Share! xo