I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like cheesecake. Baked or not baked, cheesecake is the ultimate dessert to make when you want to impress your friends.
But, cheesecake can be a little difficult to perfect, especially if you are attempting a baked cheesecake.
A baked cheesecake is very susceptible to burning, cracking and sinking in the middle. I’ve definitely had my fair share of sunken cheesecakes – not fun.
If you haven’t quite mastered a baked cheesecake yet, don’t worry! I have compiled a list of the best tips for baking cheesecake that have helped me throughout the years and will hopefully help you too in making a perfect cheesecake every time!
There are so many different types of cheesecakes out there and all these tips will work for most baked cheesecakes.
Use room temperature ingredients
Before you start making your cheesecake, make sure that you are using room temperature cream cheese for your cheesecake.
If you use cream cheese that is just out of the fridge, it won’t mix in very well and will make the batter very lumpy.
The same goes for the eggs. Eggs straight from the fridge don’t break down as easily and it will be harder to fully incorporate them into the cheesecake batter.
About an hour before you begin, remove the cream cheese and eggs from the fridge and let them come up to room temperature.
As a little tip, if you forget to take your eggs out, submerge them in some warm water for 5 minutes or so.
Always go for full fat ingredients
Unless the recipe specifies reduced fat, always use full fat cream cheese (and/or full fat heavy cream and sour cream).
Full fat ingredients will enhance the texture and flavour of your cheesecake and will make it much much creamier and velvety.
Philadelphia is the best type of cream cheese to use in cheesecakes.
Use your hand mixer
You can go traditional with some good ol’ elbow grease and a wooden spoon, but it might take a while to get it to the consistency you want.
If you have a hand mixer, definitely take advantage of it. Using a mixer for cheesecake will ensure that you get your batter to the ultimate creaminess level.
Set your mixer at mid-low speed. You don’t want to over-mix your batter, you are just trying to mix everything in and get the batter to a nice smooth consistency.
A stand mixer works just as well too!
Add cream cheese first, then eggs
Mix the cream cheese, sour cream/heavy cream (if using) and sugar until you get it to a smooth and velvety consistency. Then add the eggs and mix until just combined.
You don’t want to over whip the eggs and put too much air in the batter.
This will cause the batter to collapse in the oven and your cheesecake will come out cracked and sunken.
Add flour or cornflour to your batter
Flour isn’t as important in a cheesecake as it is in a cake. But, if you want to make sure all the ingredients bind together properly, flour will help with that.
Adding flour or cornflour (cornstarch in the US) will also prevent the eggs from scrambling. I mean, who wants a scrambled egg cheesecake? Yuck!
Use a springform pan
There is no specific cheesecake springform pan that you can get, but if you have any sort of springform pan definitely use that over any other type of pan.
The removable sides of a springform pan will make your life so much easier and will ensure that your cheesecake won’t get damaged when you try to remove it.
A loose bottom pan could work too if you don’t have a springform one.
Prepare your pans
This means greasing the bottom and sides of the pans before you add your biscuit base and the batter.
Greasing your pan beforehand will ensure that you won’t have any trouble removing your cheesecake from the pan when it’s fully cooled down.
Use a water bath
If you don’t make a water bath for your cheesecake, it’s not the end of the world. I have made a few cheesecakes without a water bath and they turned out fine.
But, a water bath takes your cheesecake to the ultimate level of creaminess. A water bath does a few things;
1) It prevents the sides of your cheesecake from cooking faster and burning.
2) It creates steam, ensuring your cheesecake doesn’t dry out and crack in the middle.
3) It helps bake the cheesecake gently and evenly.
If you are using a water bath (which you should!), make sure you wrap the springform pan with foil, covering the bottom and the sides of the pan really well.
Ensure the tin foil is wrapped around the pan tightly to prevent any water from going in.
Don’t open the oven!
As tempting as it might be, do not open your oven! Especially for the first 30 minutes.
If you open your oven, you are letting all that precious heat out and run the risk of cracking your cheesecake.
Let your cheesecake bake for an hour and 15 minutes before you open the oven. At that time, check the cheesecake for doneness by jiggling it.
For more in depth information on how to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked or overcooked take a look at the article linked.
A baked cheesecake cooks low and slow at 325F/160C and it bakes for around 1 hour and 30/45 minutes.
After it bakes, you need to let it cool down in the oven with the oven door opened for another 45 minutes or until the water in the water bath has fully cooled down.
The, you need to let your cheesecake cool the rest of the way on your kitchen counter – at this stage, remove it from the water bath.
Did you think this was it? Nope! Now you need to let your cheesecake sit overnight in the fridge to fully firm up.
A baked cheesecake will really test your patience!
Baking a cheesecake can be quite daunting, but don’t be afraid of it! You will make mistakes, and it might crack and sink the first few times you make it, but that is okay!
Practice makes perfect, and with these 10 baked cheesecake tips you’ll be a pro in no time!
If you want the perfect baked, New York style cheesecake, take a look at this recipe here by Joshua Weissman.
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