10 Tips For Baking The Perfect Cheesecake
Baking your first cheesecake could be a heart-pounding moment.
Reading a cheesecake recipe, with all its details, will feel challenging at first. Making a velvety and creamy cheesecake with a flawless surface might seem hard to achieve.
If it’s your first time making a cheesecake, or if you’re trying to bake a better one, these 10 Cheesecake Tips For Baking Newbies can improve your cheesecake baking skills.
In this article, you will discover how to bake a top-notch cheesecake. Read on to get one step closer to your dream cheesecake!
1. Choose quality ingredients.
Baking requires the right ingredients at the right temperature. Altering the ingredients, or using them at the wrong temperature, will give you unsatisfying results.
The quality of your cheesecake depends highly on the cream cheese that you’re using. Another ingredient that contributes to the flavour and texture of cheesecake is sour cream. If your recipe calls for both ingredients, make sure that you’re using full-fat cream cheese and sour cream to create a rich, smooth texture.
2. Mix on low speed and avoid overmixing.
You want your cheesecake to be creamy, dense, and without any unwanted air bubbles.
Making cheesecake batter is the exact opposite of creating fluffy cakes, such as these Citrus Cream Cheese Cupcakes. Therefore, mixing at a speed that’s too high will incorporate too much air to the batter. Your cheesecake will also rise too much, and might even develop unsightly cracks.
Using room temperature ingredients also helps to avoid overmixing. If your ingredients aren’t soft enough, such as the cream cheese, you’ll have to spend more time mixing.
Tip: Drop the mixing bowl (with the batter inside) from a height for a few times to get rid of large air bubbles.
3. Scrape everything clean!
Bakestarters' Silicone Spatula in Pink
Cheesecake batter is quite thick, so you should always remember to scrape the sides of your mixing bowl to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.
Some ingredients with thicker consistency, like cream cheese and sour cream, tend to stick to the inner surface of the bowl. Scrape the inner surface of the mixing bowl with a silicone spatula, or use a mixer with a flex edge beater if you have one!
4. Use room temperature ingredients.
There’s a reason why your cheesecake recipe calls for softened cream cheese. When cream cheese is at room temperature, it’s creamier and will blend better when mixed.
Using cream cheese straight out of the fridge will result in many lumps. Cut the time needed to soften your cream cheese by cutting it into small blocks. Then, microwave it in 20 second intervals until it’s soft, but not warm or melted.
Softening cream cheese is quite similar to softening butter. If you’ve discovered the most foolproof way to soften butter, you can definitely apply it here!
5. Line your cake pan.
Using a springform pan will prevent your cheesecake from sticking and breaking apart when you take it out. The detachable bottom also allows you to remove the cheesecake without having to flip it over.
However, a regular cake pan will work just as well! Just make sure you’re completely covering every side with parchment paper.
Always handle cheesecakes with extra care because they’re more delicate than most types of cakes. For extra protection, line the bottom and sides of your pan with a piece of parchment paper!
6. Press firmly when building the crust.
Use your fingers, palms, or the back of a large spoon to press firmly against the crust to compact it, just like how you’d make a tart crust. This prevents the crust from breaking apart, and prevents the cheesecake batter from seeping into it and making it soggy.
If you’re using biscuits to make the crust, crush them as finely as possible!
Do not drop your cake pan to release the air bubbles when the crust is already inside; this is likely to break/damage your crust.
7. Water bath!
It’s important to bake cheesecakes in a moist environment. The steam generated from a water bath keeps the cheesecake from getting too dry, and will help to prevent cracks. There are two equally great techniques to do this, so apply whichever is more convenient for you!
- Wrap the bottom of the cake pan (on the outside) with aluminum foil. Place it on the baking sheet. Fill the baking sheet about ½ full with boiling hot water, then bake as usual.
- Place the cheesecake on the upper rack of the oven. Place another empty baking sheet on the lower rack of the oven. Fill the bottom baking tray about ⅔ full with boiling water, and immediately close the oven door.
8. No peeking!
Keep your oven’s door tightly closed when the cheesecake is baking. Opening the oven door will immediately release the steam and air pressure that has built up on the inside. It will also cause a temperature drop, which will result in a cheesecake that’s not baked optimally.
While it might be tempting to take a closer look at your cheesecake while it’s baking in the oven, refrain from opening the oven and peeking. It’s worth the wait! Keeping the oven closed will keep your cheesecake from cracking and sinking.
9. Use the wobble test to check for doneness.
Wear your mittens, grab the cheesecake pan, and lightly shake it. If the centre slightly jiggles, it’s done baking.
As the cheesecake cools down, the jiggly centre will firm up, turning into a moist and creamy cheesecake.
The wobble test is the most recommended method to check for a cheesecake’s doneness. Don’t poke the centre of your cheesecake with a skewer; it will give the cheesecake an unsightly hole!
10. Temperature and Time
Bakestarters' Oven Thermometer
The temperature and time required to bake and chill the cheesecake are really important factors in getting the perfect cheesecake.
Most cheesecakes require a long baking time; this allows the cake to cook more evenly and thoroughly.
Letting your cheesecake cool down slowly after removing it from the oven helps it set gradually and hold its shape. Do not put your piping hot cheesecake into the fridge. Let it cool completely, before refrigerating it.
It’s important to cool your cheesecake slowly because a sudden temperature change will make the cheesecake “sweat” with condensation, giving it a blotchy appearance. It can also give your cheesecake cracks on top.
Most cheesecakes require a relatively long chilling time—4 to 6 hours. This long chilling time helps cool and set your cheesecake completely. When the cheesecake is set and firm enough, it’ll be easier to make clean cuts!
Baking The Perfect Cheesecake
If you’ve done everything correctly and somehow, your cheesecake still develops some cracks, do not panic. Most of the time, it is only an appearance issue; your cheesecake should still taste delicious. To cover the cracks, you can whip some cream and spread it on top of the cheesecake.
You may also use your favourite spreads and fillings for the top. Aside from covering the imperfections, adding some toppings and decorations will give your cheesecake extra flavour and texture.
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