Tips for a Perfect Cheesecake

I thought I’d share some tips with you for perfect cheesecake. Have you ever had a cheesecake crack? You did everything according to the directions and it comes out of the oven just fine and then- a crack. It happens a lot but it doesn’t have to. There is a simple solution.

I followed the rules, too. I did not over beat the eggs, sometimes I added a pan of water to the oven. There are recipes that call for leaving the cheesecake in the oven, with it turned off, to cool down slowly. All work sometimes- but then- a crack. You cover it up with pie filling or sour cream but it still bothers you- what did you do wrong?

I came upon the solution that has worked for me. It’s simple really. Cheesecakes puff up while baking and then as they cool down they deflate. They crack because they stick to the sides of the pan. As it shrinks it pulls on the cheesecake and a crack results.While cheesecake recipes almost never tell you to do this- I just spray the pan with a non-stick coating or brush with a little oil or melted butter. So simple. Every time I have done this the cheesecake puffs then shrinks while cooling and the result- no cracks.

Here are some more cheesecake baking tips.

  1. Let the cream cheese and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before using.
  2. Mix the ingredients until just mixed, don’t over mix as that also causes cheesecakes to puff up and then fall and crack.
  3. Use a springform pan so you can remove sides after baking.
  4. Either butter the sides of the springform pan or loosen the sides as soon as it comes out of the oven to prevent cracks as the cake cools.
  5. Place springform pan on baking sheet or pizza pan to catch any drips.
  6. Keep oven humid during cooking to reduce cracking. Just place a pan of water on a lower oven rack for recipes that are not already using a water bath.
  7. Let baked cheesecakes cool down slowly. Cool on a wire rack and remove sides when the recipes specifies.
  8. Test for doneness near the end of the baking period by gently shaking the cheesecake. When fully cooked a 1-inch section in the middle will jiggle slightly. This area will be 2 inches wide in a sour cream recipe. This soft spot will firm up after cooling down. Knife tests do not work on cheesecakes because the knife will cause the cake to crack and cakes including sour cream will always test undone even when fully cooked.
  9. Stored cooled cheesecake in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap or an inverted bowl to prevent drying out and also to keep it from picking up odors. Cheesecake will keep for up to 3 days.
  10. To freeze, place the cooled whole cheesecake or cheesecake slices in the freezer unwrapped. Leave in until partly frozen and then wrap tightly in freezer wrap. Use within a month for best flavor. Thaw in the refrigerator. Loosen wrap, but keep cake covered during thaw.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to play around with recipes. You can interchange crust recipes or add fine chopped nuts to a crust. Experiment with flavorings. Try using mint, lemon, almond, chocolate and nut flavorings to add a little zing to a favorite recipe. You can also decorate your cheesecake with powdered sugar, cocoa, nuts, candies, shaved chocolate…

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