Aah, cheesecake. Always a crowd-pleaser. No one can resist it’s soft, creaming, melt-in-the-mouth texture. Cheesecake is always a great choice if you want to impress your friends at the dinner table. You really can’t go wrong with it.
Having said that though, cheesecake is also a very tricky dessert to make – I’ve certainly had my fair share of mental breakdowns over sunken, gloopy, undercooked cheesecake. But before we get started about how to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked, let’s talk about the different types of cheesecakes that you can make.
A baked cheesecake consists of cream cheese, full-fat double (or sour) cream, sugar, eggs and sometimes a bit of flour. All the ingredients are combined and poured in a tin with a biscuit base.
The biscuit base is usually ground digestives with melted butter or even ground Oreos. The eggs and the flour are used in the baked cheesecake to help the cheesecake bind together when cooking in the oven.
A cheesecake when baked, is quite dense and velvety – so be sure to stick to just one (or maybe 2) slices and it’s quite a heavy dessert.
A no-bake cheesecake contains cream cheese, full-fat double cream and sugar. But what makes a no-bake cheesecake set is gelatin.
If used properly, gelatin binds the cheesecake while it’s refrigerated for a number of hours. A no bake cheesecake is very light and airy, unlike a baked cheesecake.
But let’s be real, out of the 2, a baked cheesecake is so much better. And you feel like a proud little baker after you’ve mastered a baked cheesecake. But knowing when the cheesecake is ready can be tricky and you need to know what you’re looking for when checking if a cheesecake is undercooked. Some recipes talk about baking your cheesecake for 30 minutes, others say 50 minutes. With every oven being different, it’s probably best just to keep an eye on your cheesecake while it’s in the oven baking. Bear in mind that a cheesecake also needs to be kept in the oven after it’s baked to properly cool down, during the time of which it will still be slowly cooking itself.
How to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked
There are a few things that you can try that will help you tell if a cheesecake is undercooked or overcooked. A foolproof method is to use an instant-read cooking thermometer. If your thermometer reads 150F or 66C then you’ll know your cheesecake is cooked to perfection. This method is probably the most accurate way to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked.
But since not all of us have cooking thermometers, there are various other ways to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked, but these methods are a little tricky to perfect.
Another way of checking if a cheesecake is undercooked or not is by shaking it gently. Pop on a pair of oven gloves and open the oven. Gently give the cheesecake a little shake. If there is a large jiggly area and there is mixture seeping from the sides then the cheesecake is still undercooked and needs a little longer in the oven. If only the centre jiggles then you are good to go!
Turn the oven off, leave the cheesecake to cool down for a few hours and you should have a nice textured baked cheesecake.
The finger check
You can also tell if a cheesecake is undercooked by using your finger. With a clean hand, place your finger in the middle of the cheesecake and press gently. If it feels firm then it is cooked perfectly. If your finger sinks and there is a bit of batter residue left on your finger then it is undercooked and needs to be cooked a bit further.
Overcooking a cheesecake
We briefly mentioned earlier that cheesecake will continue to cook itself even after the oven is turned off. So, by thinking the cheesecake is undercooked and keeping it in the oven for longer to bake, you run the risk of over baking your cheesecake.
If you leave your cheesecake in the oven for longer, it will firm up by the time it’s ready to be served and eaten, resulting in a dry and crumbly cheesecake.
You may be fooled into thinking that the cheesecake needs to be brown at the top, and that’s when you know it’s cooked. A cheesecake, to be creamy and velvety, needs to come out of the oven with a slightly pale top. A browned cheesecake can be a sign that your cheesecake is overcooked and a crack will also start to form at the top too once the cheesecake starts to overbake.
There is really a fine line that determines whether your cheesecake is undercooked or overcooked. Hopefully, these tips will help you with being able to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked, overcooked or cooked to perfection.
If you are still unable to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked or not, to be on the safe side, leave your cheesecake in the oven to bake for an extra 5 to 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let it sit there until it has fully cooled down. You’d rather run the risk of your cheesecake being slightly on the firmer side than serving a cheesecake where the eggs have not been cooked properly. It might be tricky to tell if a cheesecake is undercooked but just trust your instincts and follow a few of the tips. And remember, practice makes perfect! You’ll be a cheesecake pro in no time!
It’s definitely worth investing in a cooking thermometer, it will save you from poking and shaking the cheesecake (or it will save the cheesecake from you poking and shaking it…) and it will give you the most accurate results, so you have perfectly cooked cheesecake every time. Plus, a cooking thermometer is handy to have around as it’s used for many things, not just for telling if a cheesecake is undercooked or not!
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