Baking the perfect cheesecake is not as hard as you think. I love serving a special cheesecake for dessert, it is always prepared in advance and always a crowd pleaser! Here are some simple tips to help make your cheesecake perfect every time!
1. Always start with room temperature cream cheese. This simply prevents lumpy batter, the cheese creams much more easily when it is room temperature.
2. Don’t open the oven door while baking. Cheesecake is very sensitive to sudden changes in temperature and the shock can lead to unwanted cracks in the top of the cake.
3. Don’t’ over bake. When the cake is finished baking the center will still be a bit wobbly and sides will be beautifully puffed and brown.
4. Cool gradually by turning off oven and opening the oven door for 1 hour. By allowing the cake to cool gradually still in the oven (with the door fully open) it doesn't experience sudden changes in temperature that may have an affect.
5. Then to a wire rack and bring the rest of the way to room temperature. When the hour is up, bring the cake to a wire rack and allow it to cool completely to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator.
6. After the cake is completely cooled, transfer to the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight. I always refrigerate my cheesecake overnight. Not only is the texture perfect the next day, my dessert is already finished a day in advance, which just makes preparing for dinner even easier.
7. Take cake out of refrigerator an hour before serving. You will want to bring the cheesecake back to room temperature to serve for ultimate flavor and texture.
8. When slicing, dip your knife into a tall glass of warm water and wipe with a towel in between each slice.
9. A water bath helps for even distribution of heat while baking. I don't always use a water bath, but if your oven tends to heat unevenly throughout, using a water bath for baking is a good idea. You will want to place foil around the base and sides of your springform pan just before baking the crust. After you've poured your batter into the prepared crust, place in a roasting pan. Then, simply place the roasting pan in the oven and pour 1 inch of water around the foil wrapped springform pan with a pitcher.
That's it! Tips to the simplest, most delicious cheesecake you will ever bake. I have a few recipe variations, a simple citrus cheesecake, chocolate swirl (pictured above) and a pumpkin swirl cheesecake which is my go to Thanksgiving dessert every year. Happy baking!