Cheesecake is by far my favorite dessert! I feel like it gets a bad rap for being difficult to make and I’m hoping I can show you how simple it can be! Pretty much any special occasion I offer to make a cheesecake because I feel like I can’t justify regularly making an entire cheesecake for our family of 4. I started making my own a couple years ago and have learned a LOT through trial and error. The biggest thing I learned though is that cheesecake is NOT as hard as it looks like to make! You can start getting really fancy and add special cheeses but I stick to the regular Philadelphia cream cheese recipes and they taste so good!
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Tips for making cheesecakes:
- I get most of my cheesecake recipes from Baker By Nature. I’ve never tried one I didn’t like. The White Chocolate Raspberry one is amazing! Once you have the basic recipe figured out though, it is really easy to modify flavors. You can also just do a plain cheesecake and put whatever toppings on you want too!
- Let your ingredients get to room temperature (including sour cream, eggs, cream cheese, and lemon juice). This makes the very smoothest cheesecakes without any clumps!
- Use a water bath. This is a slightly larger pan placed around the cheesecake pan filled with boiling water as you put it in the oven. This prevents the cheesecake from cracking. Do you HAVE to do a water bath? Nope! A cracked cheesecake taste just as good as a non-cracked one – they just don’t look quite as pretty!
- After they are done baking, turn the oven off and don’t open the oven door for at LEAST an hour or even longer. This allows the cheesecake to cool slowly so it won’t crack!
Tools for making cheesecakes:
- You need a springform pan. These range in price from $8-20 or I’m sure you could pick one up for around $2 at a thrift store. A springform pan has a little hinge that takes the side off the pan since you can’t dump cheesecakes upside down to remove them from the pan without damaging them.
- You also need some sort of pan to go around the springform pan. I just use a 10″ cake pan but you can use any sort of pan that is wider than the cheesecake pan.
- WIDE Aluminum Foil to wrap the springform pan. I made like 10 cheesecakes before I realized regular foil wasn’t cutting it and I needed to buy extra wide foil. I would wrap and wrap and wrap the edges of the springform pan with regular foil but ALWAYS got leaks and soggy cheesecake. Once I bought foil wider than the pan, I just use a single layer and have never had a leak!
- A blender. You can use a KitchenAid or hand-held electric mixer too but I have found that the blender makes the smoothest cheesecakes.
Last tip: If you don’t want the hassle of the springform pan and water bath, cheesecake bars taste *almost* as good and don’t need any special tools!