This classic New York Cheesecake is rich, dense, creamy, and slightly tangy. Learn how to make it perfect and make sure to read all my tips and guidance to help you make the best cheesecake ever.
This is a classic New York Cheesecake with a high side crust, creamy and tangy cheesecake filling, and sweetened sour cream topping. The distinct flavor can be attributed to the bit of sour cream and fresh lemon juice, giving it a slight tang.
Truth be told, making New York Cheesecake may seem daunting. Although the ingredients are simple, you have to worry about the water bath leaking into the cake, the surface cracking, and over or under-cooking. Worry not because I have found that with the right recipe and a few pointers, a creamy, crack-free New York Cheesecake is totally doable, even for beginners. Take your time with the recipe and make sure you read through all of the instructions before you begin.
Tools Your Need
Before we get to the recipe, you will need these tools:
- 6-inch/15 cm loose base round cake pan or springform pan. The base of the pan should be able removed from the sides, so you can release the cheesecake easily without having to flip the whole pan over.
- Aluminum foil. Springform pan and loose base cake pan are notorious for leaking. Since the cheesecake bakes in a water bath, the foil prevents the water from seeping in during baking.
- A baking pan. You will need a baking pan that is larger than your cheesecake pan. This is for your water bath which prevents any cracks on your cheesecake.
Why Cook Cheesecake in a Water Bath
Cheesecakes are often baked in water baths. A water bath is a method for gently baking a cheesecake in its pan inside another pan filled with boiling water in the oven. It is also called a bain-marie technique. Why do you need to cook a cheesecake in a water bath?
- Keep cheesecake moist. Since cheesecake is rich in dairy and eggs, it is important to keep the oven in a moist and humid environment to properly rise and avoid the outside of the cheesecake from getting tough, rubbery, burnt, or curdled before the inside can finish baking.
- Reduce the risk of cracks. The steam from the hot water will lift the cheesecake up slowly and evenly, reducing the risk of cracks on the surface.
- Prevent the cheesecake sinks. The slow and even steam baking method helps prevent the cheesecake from sinking back down as it cools.
You can achieve a similar effect by baking for a long time at a really low oven temperature, but who has the time for that? Submerging the pan in a water bath helps us to reduce the cooking time and get that perfectly creamy, velvety cheesecake texture.
How to Prevent Cheesecake From Cracking
Patience is the key when baking a cheesecake. To avoid getting cracks in your cheesecake, there are a few things you need to pay attention to:
- Do not overmix the batter. Overmixing incorporates too much air, which makes the cheesecake rise during baking (the way a souffle does), then collapse as it cools. As the cheesecake cools, it contracts, and if the edges remain stuck to the pan, cracks form. Therefore, make sure to keep it low and slow when mixing the batter.
- Bake in a water bath. When baking the cheesecake, you want a really moist environment. The moisture prevents the cheesecake from drying out in the oven, thus preventing the cracks.
- Do not open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking. Cracks are often caused by rapid temperature changes.
- Leave the cheesecake cool in the oven. Do not pull the cheesecake straight out of the oven when baked. Crack open the door and allow it to slowly cool for an hour in the oven, and then cool at room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator. This prevents a drastic change in temperature which can lead to a split surface.
What to Do With Cracked Cheesecake?
If your cheesecake is still showing a few cracks, no worries there. It still tastes delicious. You can simply cover the surface with a topping if you would like to cover up the cracks.
More Cheesecake Recipes
- No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Cake
- No-Bake Avocado Lime Cheesecake
- No-Bake Thai Tea Cheesecake