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Feb 27, 2009 09:51 AM

Explaining the mysteries of cheesecake

I love cheesecake, and have faithfully used my mother's recipe for the past ten years, may she rest in peace. The cake that it produces has wonderful flavor, but it is lighter and airier than I prefer. With great regrets I have to admit that I like a cheesecake that is denser and silkier than the one produced by her recipe. So, it may be time to finally let go of her recipe (the final, but as yet unrecognized stage of grief).

So, I have two questions:
Can anyone explain to me what techniques or ingredients are responsible for making some cakes dense and silky, and why?

Does anyone have a recipe to produce this type of cheesecake (calories are no object)?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. A denser cheesecake won't have much air whipped into it and will have more cream cheese than a lighter cheesecake. The recipe I use is the airier style and involves whipping the egg whites and then folding them in to the cream cheese, sugar, and egg mixture.

    1. Americas Test Kitchen has a great recipe for a "New York" style cheesecake that would satisfy your desire for densness and doesn't require a water bath. It includes 2 1/2 lbs of cream cheese, a pinch of salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/3 cup of sour cream, 2 tsp of lemon juice, 6 eggs + 2 yolks. You need to blend the ingredients up to the eggs and then add them two at a time.

      1. Not a baker at all, but my cheesecakes are popular. I like a thick, dense cheesecake.
        Here's the recipe I use often:

        However, I add the juice of 1 lemon, and more vanilla. Let all ingredients come to room temp, throw most of it into the KA, then add eggs one at a time... etc. I've made it with sugar sub and it tastes amazing. I've made it without a crust- fantastic. I've made it with mini chocolate chips added- I didn't like it.

        1. While recipe is somewhat important, I think technique is even more so. I've played around a lot with recipes and as long as you do it correctly, it always turns out well. It's really an egg custard and you want to treat it as such, being gentle w/ the temperature. Bake it in a water bath (double line the springform pan with aluminum wrap). When the cheesecake is cooked on the edges but like jello in the center, turn off the oven and crack the oven door (wooden spoon works well) and leave for an hour. The gradual cooling helps with cracking, or not cracking really. I really like this recipe for a dense cheesecake but don't follow the baking directions:

          Another option, if you have the time is to do it overnight in a low temperature oven.

          1. Without knowing the recipe you use, it's hard to say what changes you could make to effect the texture while maintaining a similar flavor.