Problems Baking Cheesecak

Joined Nov 26, 2001
Hi My name is Dawn and I have a few questions.

I make cheesecakes that taste good, but I have a problem with them cracking in the middle.

The recipe I have contains 6 eggs, 2lbs cream cheese, 2lbs of sour cream and 2 cups of sugar. I mix the recipe according to the instructions. bake for 1hr at 350 degrees.and leave in the oven for 1/2 hr with the oven off. Never fails to crack in the center.
Also, they usually rise like a souffle.

2nd question, how do I get it off the pan to a plate? I usually give them away.

3rd, How do I cut it like they do in the bakery with the pieces of paper dividing the slices?

Thanks to all who reply.

Joined Mar 6, 2001
Lots' of things could be going wrong.

Cracking can happen a couple ways. Usually cracking begins with over baking, when it starts souffling upward it's usually done. You should bake according to doneness not time.

Another couple things that create cracks: cooling it too quickly (you should have you door propped open while the oven is off, otherwise it's over baking), you also can place your cake in a enclosed draft free place other than the oven to bring it to room temp.

I spray my pans sides with a waterless pan release before baking. Once it's out of the oven and beginning to cool I run a knive between the cake and the pan to make sure it's not sticking to the pan (which can cause cracks).

You oven temp. is too high. Many cheesecake recipes start at 350 but most dial down after 15 min.. Most bake at 325F (300 is fine too) and in a waterbath or with a pan of water underneath your cake to keep the moisture level high in the oven. Some say it gives you a creamier product too.

Cool your cake in the pan completely. Once it's totally cold, invert your pan to release. Sometimes a bit of heat around the sides of the pan is needed (you can use a blow drier or heat on a stove top quickly).

Also your recipe is different than ones I use. The amount of sour cream seems high to me. I don't have any cheesecakes that have equal amount of sour cream to cream cheese.

Lastly, many people claim it's easiest to cut them semi frozen. But a hot knive clean knive works well too. Since your cutting a NY cheesecake dental floss can be used in place of a knive.

hope that helps
Joined Dec 6, 2001
Cheesecake is on recipe that I consider to have mastered. Let me share some tips. First, do not overbeat your filling. If you do, that excess air causes the cake to rise to far and then just fall back and crack during cooling. I only use mixer for the cream cheese, sugar and eggs. I fold in remaining ingredients.

As for baking, I do water bath. I double wrap the springform bottom/sides with heavy duty foil. Place springform in large roaster and fill with boiling water until reaches up halfway on sides of springform. I bake at350 for 45 min, then let cake set in hot, OFF,oven for a full hour. This makes for a very creamy, uniformly colored and crackless cheesecake! My recipe is as follows, but you can doctor it a bit for flavoring, I have made it several ways.

Eli's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
1 9oz. Pkg of chocolate wafers, crushed finely
1/4 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup melted butter

Mix cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter with a fork. Press into a 9" springform pan. Set aside and make filling. (I sprayed the bottom of my pan with Pam and had no trouble getting the slices off later when serving)

3 eggs
1 Cup sugar
3 -8 oz. Pkgs cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 Cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz. Mini chocolate chips

Beat cream cheese till smooth, then add sugar and eggs. Beat just till combined smoothly. (do not overbeat with the mixer as this adds too much air and will cause your cake to rise during baking only to fall and crack during cooling) Fold in sour cream, salt, vanilla and chocolate chips with a spatula. Pour into pan, bake at 350 degrees for 45min, then turn off oven and let cake sit inside hot oven for another full hour. Refrigerate.
Joined May 29, 1999
Who would have thought to fold in rather than beat in............

Another point you make is to have the cream cheese at room temp! Very Important!

Joined Mar 13, 2001
Thank you so much, CalicoSkies, for sharing your expertise.

And welcome to Cheftalk!

Joined Nov 27, 2001
The waterbath has always proven good for me. I use it even when trying a new recipe that doesn't call for it. No cracks.

As far as giving them away- the easiest thing to do is cover a cardboard circle on both sides with aluminum foil and use it as the bottom of the pan. Once you release it- it is ready to go. You may have to trim cardboard a bit to accomodate the extra bulk the foil creates.

Joined Nov 26, 2000
Im looking forward to trying my tried and true cheesecake recipe now using calico's folding method.

But I used to have to make many cheesecakes every week at the club I worked at because they were the most popular. I was somewhat known for my cheesecakes. I still dont see why because Ive never been much of a cheesecake fan. :D But I think I have figured out the true key to good cheesecakes: PATIENCE

1) patience while allowing all ingredients come to room temp
2) patience when mixing scraping the bowl many times....almost rediculously often--especially at the beginning
3) patience while it cooks -- SLOWLY

The second key? Lots of foil! :)
As calico does I also wrap the bottom of the pans in foil and bake in a bain marie. But then I also loosely cover the pans with foil. I make a tent over the cake so that the foil will not touch the cake and ruin the top....but cover it close enough to keep the top from browning.

I would cook them(9 inch spring form) at 200-250(convection) for 2 hours. For other ovens I would do 250 -- maybe 300. But definately not more! Then remove the foil and cook just until set--no browing (15 mins or so)

I cooled them at room temp. They never cracked

To cut them I used dental floss.

I still haven't found a great way to remove them from the bottom of the springform pan....I rarely needed to. Invariably I always sacrificed some of the bottom crust.

hope this helps.

Joined Nov 29, 2001
Cheesecake has been my specialty for over 25 years. I've baked them for restaurants in New York City - and my own here in SW Colorado. Here are some tips I've found to be indispensable.

* All ingredients must be at room temp. Microwave cold cream cheese on high in 20 second intervals and stir between zaps.

* I never use a water bath. Springform pan - always with a crust.

* Mix as little as possible once you get the eggs and cream in the batter. If you overmix, this will cause the "souffle" effect and your cake will puff up, then sink, possibly splitting on the way down.

* Cool in as draft-free an environment as you can.

* I never use sour cream in cheesecake.

* Run a paring knife about 1/2" down around the entire cake. As it cools, it can pull away from the pan as opposed to cracking as it contracts.

* I had this published in Fine Cooking Magazine. If you need to take a cake to another location, make a false bottom for it. Take a cardboard cake circle, trace the circumference of the bottom of the springform pan onto the circle and cut to size. Wrap twice in heavy duty foil and snap into the bottom of the pan. Bake as usual. When it's time to serve the cake, remove the springform, wash it, and take it directly to your car. You won't be halfway home on the Jersey turnpike and remember your springform bottom on the table under the unfishined cake.

* A true, New York style cheesecake is dense and richly flavored. Its mouthfeel makes up almost as much of its appeal as its flavor. The whipped, fluffy, make-believe west-coast "cheesecakes" should have been required by law to be called something else.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Just another question. Since I've never been to NY as an adult....I've made several 'authentic' NY cheesecakes (so the recipe said),.... but honestly they really varied!

The last search I did trying to figure out the 'authentic' cake had me believing an article in cooks magazine. They insisted that it should be 3" high, very dense, NO crust and they bake in a 8" by 3" high cake pan (not a springform), I think they used a waterbath (but I forget exactly at this moment). I did use their instructions and I really liked their recipe, it was a VERY basic cake as far as ingredients (no sour cream or heavy cream). It was indeed heavier than what I see in Chicago.

SO any of you who live in NY what's the scoop? Are they crustless and tall? or is there really not a exact agreement on what a classic NY cheesecake is?
Joined Feb 7, 2001
I have found that the easiest way to remove a cheesecake from the bottom of the pan is to first cover it generously with foil. Then construct the pan as usual. When the cheesecake has baked and cooled, remove sides and chill or freeze cheesecake on the bottom of the pan. Now lift the foil and place cheesecake on a cardboard round or round plate. I think that is easier than goofing around with fitting the cardboard into the rim of the springform pan. Good luck.
Joined Dec 6, 2001
To easily remove my cheesecake from the pan, I spray the bottom with Bakers Joy before pressing my crumb crust in. I do not have trouble with sticking crust this way.
Joined Feb 21, 2001
I cut a round of parchment, spray it and the pan, then pat in the crust. When the cheesecake is well chilled it's easy to lift it up and peel off the parchment.
Joined Jan 15, 2001
I do exactly the same as big hat. I don't bake in a water bath because it's very difficult to bake 12 cheesecakes that way. I go 250F for about 1 1/2 hours with a pan of water on the bottom of the oven.
Joined Aug 30, 2012
To easily remove cheesecake from a springform pan I follow these simple steps:

1. Unlatch springform pan.

2. Flip the base of the pan upside down so that the lip is facing down (the lip usually creates the problem when unmoulding).

3. Line the base of the pan with parchment paper leaving a two inch border.

4. Reassemble the springform pan.

5. After cooling and refrigerating cheesecake unlatch the springform pan and with the help of an offset spatula slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate or cardboard round. Because the lip is facing down sliding the cake off the paper is easy.

My best tips for preparing cheesecake (some have been mentioned above):

1. Bake crust first and just before adding filling grease sides of the springform fan with softened butter.

2. Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before beginning.

3. Beat on low speed and just to incorporate ingredients (beating too much air into the batter can cause cracks but it can also cause the cheesecake to collapse in the centre).

4. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl often but it's also important to scrape the paddle attachment.

5. To ensure a creamy, smooth filling, strain through a fine mesh sieve. This step catches any bits of cream cheese but will also help to remove any air bubbles that may have formed while mixing the batter.

6. Preheat oven until the oven chime goes off but then preheat for an extra 15 minutes to ensure the oven is at perfect temperature.

7. Bake in a water bath (160 C or 325 F until set around edges but still jiggles slightly in the centre when the pan is gently shaken - cheesecake will continue to set as it cools) ensuring the springform pan is wrapped tightly with a few layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Do not open oven door within the first 30 minutes of baking time. And do not open the oven door too often to check for doneness; every time you open the oven door, the temperature decreases and will extend the baking time.

8. Cool cheesecake in springform pan away from drafts running a thin knife around the edges to prevent the cheesecake from cracking as it cools. The cheesecake will shrink as it cools, greasing the sides and running a thin knife around the edges after removing from the oven will allow the cake to pull away from the sides of the pan easily rather than pulling the edges away from the centre. (I often place a wire rack directly on the stovetop so that the cheesecake cools slowly). When completely cooled, transfer to the refrigerator in the springform pan loosely covered and chill for 24 hours but for best results 2 days. This not only allows the flavours to develop but the cheesecake will set to a perfect consistency.

9. For best flavour, serve cheesecake at room temperature but cut slices when cheesecake is cold (much easier to slice a chilled cheesecake). Cut slices using a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry with a kitchen towel (repeat with each cut). 
Joined Aug 15, 2016
Hey guys. I use to do cheesecakes all the time for my old restaurant. ((I hated doing them but came to like them.)) But I've always made my cheesecakes in a 4" hotel pan. And then I had cut 2 inch by 24 inch (for side to side and 2 inches by 36inch) strips of wax paper and placed at the bottom along the bottom in a weave pattern. Then sprayed the crap out of it with lemon flavored olive oil. Then covered and baked until done ((edited note: if you dont cover it the wax paper will fling from the air flow and cling to the cheesecake)). Then I let it cool for a full 24 hours and freeze for the last two hours completely in the walk in and then I did a double flip method. ((Odd yes I know, but it works.)) Just lay a sheet tray with wax paper over the top and then flip it over quickly. When you set the cheese cake. It will be too cold to fall apart. But you can then take a flat spatula and release it from pan and let it gently fall the half inch without destroying the cheesecake. You then take another sheet tray with wax paper and flip it back over. And it will be right side up. This makes cutting, with floss sooooo much easier. Then you can top it via per plate. Which cuts out a lot of the work. I do this with all my cheesecake recipes. And I never ever use a spring form pan. I find them to be annoying to deal with. Specially when cooking from the bottom. And the good way for this. You can cut the cheesecake into any desired shape which makes the art of it that much more beautiful.
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