6 Tips To A Perfect Cheesecake Experience
You’ve got the 2 pounds of cream cheese, the eggs, the sugar, vanilla, cookies for a crust.
Stop right there!
For best results, and surely you don’t want any result but the very best, read these cheesecake tips before you even start preheating the oven.
Your inner cheesecake goddess will thank you. Trust me on this one!
- Choose your favorite crust:
Graham cracker crusts, while typical, aren’t the only way to go. Try using other cookies like vanilla wafers, gingersnaps, even chocolate sandwich cookies in place of the graham crackers called for in your recipe. Or go with a cake crust, as they do in Brooklyn. A tall pie crust works well, too!
- Take your temperature:
To prevent lumps, have everything at room temperature. A lumpy batter going into the oven won’t magically transform itself into lump free cheesecake as it bakes. Having all of your ingredients at room temperature makes it much easier to combine everything thoroughly into a smooth and lump free cheesecake.
- Don’t take a beating:
For best texture, mix the batter at low speed. For quintessential cheesecake texture – dense without being heavy – beat filling ingredients at low or medium-low speed. Beating at high speed adds air to the batter; longer, slower beating yields a pleasantly dense cake.
- Prevent your cheesecake from cracking up:
Make sure your oven is at the correct temperature. Use an independent oven thermometer to confirm. Cheesecake baked at too high a temperature (and/or for too long) will crack. Wrap your pan in cake strips, to even out baking from edge to center. Alternatively, bake it in a water bath. also known as a Bain Marie. (see my Bailey’s Chocolate Chip Cheesecake for instructions.) Use lighter rather than darker pans. Dark pans absorb heat more quickly, leading to uneven baking. Make sure your cake cools slowly. Cold can “shock” cheesecake into cracking. When your cake tests done, turn the oven off, prop the door open a couple of inches, and leave the cake inside to cool completely in the cooling oven. If your cake cracks while baking, spread the top with sour cream 10 minutes before turning the oven off; and/or top with fruit before serving.
- Is it done yet?
To test for doneness, take the cake’s temperature. To ensure your cake is baked all the way through but not over-baked, take its temperature. The perfectly baked cake will register 175°F about 1″ from the edge of the pan. Its center will still appear soft; that’s OK. Turn off the oven, it’s done.
- Good posture is easy:
For best shape, loosen the cake’s edges. To help prevent a slumped center, 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.
- Ensure it makes the cut:
The best tip for cutting a cake cleanly is to use a hot knife for each cut. To do this, fill a tall container, a pitcher or vase works well, 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. The constant dipping and cleaning will prevent chunks of cake from the previous slice from depositing on top of the next slice. Some people prefer to cut cheesecake using unflavored dental floss.
Now that you know the secrets to a great cheesecake you may want to see Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Pecans
This article is part of the Tips That Help in the Kitchen Series, Tip Friday.