Creating a beautiful New York Cheesecake that is tall, crack-free and creamy is easy when you follow our tips and tricks.
There are a few things that can go wrong when making a cheesecake, and we will cover a few tips and trick to avoid a cracked cheesecake.
Your ingredients really need to be at room temperature.
I’m not talking about resting out for just a few minutes. I let my ingredients set out for a minimum of an hour.
Because cream cheese tends to stick to its wrapper, I go ahead and put the cold cream cheese right into my mixing bowl.
I do it mostly because I don’t like fighting with the wrapper later.
A cheesecake can be overcooked and come out dry.
It can also be undercooked and runny in the middle.
Cracks can happen during baking, but most generally occur while cooling.
We will address ways to avoid all of these problems.
First off, the recipe we use has a crust made with vanilla wafer cookies.
Feel free to substitute that with any type of cheesecake crust you prefer.
To make a Brooklyn style cheesecake you will want to use a sponge cake crust.
This is the only type of crust that will need to be baked before adding the cheesecake batter.
The best recipe I have seen for a sponge cake crust was in Welcome to Junior’s Cookbook, it’s a collection of recipes from their Brooklyn restaurant.
This is also the very first New York style cheesecake recipe I had ever tried.
I didn’t realize at the time there was a difference between New York and Brooklyn cheesecakes. It’s all in the crust.
For a more traditional cheesecake, you will want to use your favorite graham cracker crust.
You could also use our crust recipe from our Cherry Delight post.
This New York cheesecake recipe filling is adapted from King Arthur Flour.
To avoid cracks in your cheesecake, you need to make sure that you do not overbake it.
To avoid overbaking and underbaking, we use 2 different temperatures during the baking process.
The original recipe has never cooked my cheesecake all the way through and has always required additional time and heat.
I suppose you could just star with a higher temperature, but I have always started at 325 Degrees F and had to turn up the oven to 350 Degrees F for 10 to 20 minutes.
This method has always been successful for me, so I have not tried it at a higher temperature for the whole baking time and would not feel comfortable giving even a guesstimate on the time needed.
You could also just leave it in the oven at 325 Degrees F, it is just going to take a lot longer than 10 to 20 minutes.
You will know that the cheesecake is done when a thermometer inserted into the cheesecake between the middle and the sides reads 175 Degrees F.
If you choose to test the middle, that temperature should be 150 Degrees F.
We do not use a water bath.
Rather, we set a small baking dish full of water on the bottom rack of the oven as we preheat the oven and during the first part of the baking process.
We also allow the oven to heat for about an hour before adding the cheesecake.
This gives the oven time to heat the water until it starts to produce some humidity in the oven.
We use sour cream or Greek yogurt in our recipe, but you could substitute that with the same amount of heavy cream.
This recipe uses all-purpose flour, but cornstarch can be used if you need the filling to be gluten-free.
The next issue that can cause cheesecake failure is overmixing.
I know you might be tempted to just beat the heck out of it to get it smooth, but that would be a mistake.
Gentle mixing on a lower speed for a longer time will keep you from beating too much air into the batter. We aren’t baking a true cake here and extra air is your enemy in this New York cheesecake recipe.
Make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature before beginning and you won’t need to use high speed at any point.
I never run my stand mixer any higher than 2 while making my cheesecake batter.
If I am using an electric hand mixer I do not go over the second click.
I can take up to 5 minutes to get all of the lumps out of the cream cheese while it is being mixed with the sugar. I have to stop the mixer about every 90 seconds or so to scrape down the sides.
Trust me, the end results are worth all of this.
It is only when the sugar and cream cheese is smooth that I add the flour.
I add the flour one tablespoon at a time and I sprinkle it in while the mixer is running on low speed.
You also need to mix in each egg separately at the same low speed. stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl in between each egg.
Finally, the Greek yogurt and vanilla are added at the same speed but only takes about 15 seconds to incorporate.
Before filling your crust, place the pan onto a baking sheet to catch any butter that melts and oozes out of your springform pan.
This oozing butter is exactly why I do not like to use water baths for my cheesecakes.
These pans are supposed to be a tight seal, but any springform pan I have used is NOT watertight.
I tested my cheesecake twice, you can see the holes in the top, I’m never too worried about the holes in the top since we tend to use a fruit topping or a caramel drizzle.
You can also see there is no water bath, and you can see some butter under the rim of the pan.
When the cheesecake is done I open the oven door to let out some of that heat.
Then I set the door to just being cracked open and I set my kitchen timer for 60 minutes and I walk away.
After an hour, the cheesecake can safely be placed into the refrigerator without cracks forming.
Give the cheesecake at least 4 hours in the refrigerator.
I think it tastes best after about 8 hours, but sometimes we just can’t wait that long.
To get clean slices, I find that heating up a large kitchen knife in hot water, then drying it off before slicing works well.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316 Total Fat: 17.3g Saturated Fat: 10.4g Cholesterol: 107mg Sodium: 205mg Carbohydrates: 35.1g Fiber: 0.2g Sugar: 29.7g Protein: 5.3g
Adapted from King Arthur Flour