Time, effort, and expense go into making a cheesecake and most of us do not make this delectable dessert on a regular basis. We are sharing some tips to insure that your cheesecake baking venture is a success.
- Springform pans are normally used when making cheesecake as it allows easy removable of the cake. There are recipes that call for muffin tins, cake pans and even mini cheesecake pans (they have removable bottoms). Just remember, if you use a plain cake pan, grease it well and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan as it helps prevent the filling from cracking when the cheesecake cools. During the cooling stage, the cheesecake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Mix the cream cheese until perfectly smooth prior to adding the other ingredients, unless otherwise specified.
- Always soften the cream cheese at room temperature before mixing. This will avoid lumps in the batter.. For a smooth texture, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator at least 1 1/2 hours ahead
- Overbeating puts too much air into the mixture and will cause air bubbles on the surface of the cake. Use medium speed to avoid beating in too much air. Also avoid overbeating when adding the other ingredients because the cheesecake will puff during baking, then collapse and split when cooled.
- Unless specified, do not substitute reduced–fat or fat–free cream cheese or sour cream. They contain fillers that might prevent the cheesecake from setting properly. Never substitute whipped cream cheese for the solid block.
- Cheesecake performs well when baked in a water bath. This method bakes the cake very gently, so it won't darken, curdle, or crack. It insures that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to puff–up, sink, and crack.
- Springform pans should seal tightly and not allow the fat in the batter to seep out or water to seep into the pan. If not certain that your pan seals tightly, wrap heavy-duty foil around the outside of the pan, covering the bottom and halfway up the sides.
- Do not open the oven door during baking as the draft can cause the top to crack.
- Do not overbake the cheesecake - this can be a problem. It is normal for the center to be a little wobbly. Do not worry, as the cake continues to cook during the cooling time.
- Cool the cheesecake on a rack, away from drafts until completely cool. Some bakers turn off the oven and leave the cheese in the oven with the door closed to cool for an additional hour to ensure it's completely set.
- After a cheesecake is completely cooled, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly releasing the spring form pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.
- If the sides of your cheesecake are not smooth, just use a hot, wet knife and smooth them.
- When chilling the cheesecake in the refrigerator, allow it to cool completely at room temperature, then cover the pan (not the cake) with a paper towel and an inverted plate. The paper will absorb any moisture that forms as the cheesecake chills and avoids condensation on the surface of the cheesecake.
- If your cheesecake does have a crack on the top, do not worry – cover it with either whipped cream or sliced fresh fruit.
- When slicing the cheesecake, dipping a knife in hot water and then wiping it dry before cutting will give you nice, neat slices.
- Baked cheesecake freezes well. After the cake is completely cooled, wrap it in heavy-duty foil. Thaw overnight in refrigerator without toppings. Toppings such as whipped cream and fruit should be added just before serving.
- If the cheesecakes top is cracked and golden, it was overbaked or the oven was too hot.
- If there are clumps on the surface, the filling wasn't mixed enough or the cream cheese was too cold to blend well.