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May 4, 2010 03:00 AM

Baking Cheesecake-- Is it as "temper~mental" as I've heard it is?`

Hi- I'm just wondering if it is true that cheese~cake can be tricky tomake from scratch?
I've been told that it is very important to follow the recipe exactly, using exact ingredients, exact cooking time & temperature as well as the quality of ingredients even effecting the overall outcome...
I'm about to bake my very first home made cheese cake, but I am a little nervous about it! lol
I'd really appreciate some tips from any experienced cheese cake bakers out there!
Thank you :)

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  1. hi there,

    I find cheesecake the exact opposite! it is easy peasey and very forgiving. It's easy to substitute things and measurements don't need to be precise. Just use a recipe from a source you trust. Do you want to post the recipe you're planning to use? Then we can comment on which bits might be tricky for a first timer.


    1. No, it's not hard. You can play w/ the ingredients, even adding entire blocks of cream cheese, eggs, etc. and it turns out as long as you:

      1) use a water bath (pour boiling water into a large pan around the cheesecake)
      2) turn off the oven when the outer 1/3ish is cooked
      3) leave it in the oven, turned off, door ajar (w/ wooden spoon works) for an hour as it cools.

      Don't be nervous! Even if it cracks, it'll still taste good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chowser

        Exactly. And to add a couple more tips:

        All ingredients should be at room temperature to avoid over mixing.

        I like to actually run a paring knife around the edge of the cheesecake when I turn the oven off. This will prevent cracking because it will be able to pull away from the sides of the pan without resistance.

      2. I would agree with hillsbilly, it's quick and simple and you can play with the ingredients, a bit more or less sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, or even one less egg, matters not one bit. A touch of brandy and some melted chocolate to swirl in before adding to the pan, a package of cookie dough chopped up, fruit syrups you name it they can go in and the cakes turn out great. I have literally made hundreds (for a restaurant) and never had one not set or taste great.

        1. I agree with the others that it's not too hard. Make sure your ingredeitns are room temperature so the cream cheese blends nicely with the other ingredeients. I never follow recipes exactly - for cheesecake, I'm heavy-handed with vanilla because I love the flavor. I've never used a water bath as one response recommends, but I do leave it in the oven to cool slowly and it seems to prevent cracking (drives my mom crazy because she's been making cheesecake for years and hers always cracks!)
          My favorite recipe is the barefoot contessa's. It's in her Family Style cookbook or on the food network site: . She uses a bit of sour cream in it...

          Good luck!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ladyberd

            ladyberd, the cheesecake link doesn't work, getting 404 error on page message, don't know why. Here's a new one:


            I agree, great recipe, epecially the raspberry topping.

          2. Agree with the others posters, do not have fear of baking cheesecake. Just don't overbake, turn off the oven when the cake is quite jiggly in the center. An accurate oven temp or using a oven thermometer is advisable. A lower oven temp is always better for baking cheesecake; they need gentle heat; that's why water baths are used.

            I have one trick for blending the eggs into the room temp cream cheese, so you don't end up with lots of tiny unblended cream cheese lumps in the batter, which can happen when adding the eggs too quickly: separate a few of your eggs, add one egg yolk to start, mix in thoroughly, add second, then as the mixture starts to loosen up, you can add the rest of the eggs and leftover whites, one at a time, until well combined. It's important to mix the eggs in very well before adding another. Mixing in a very small amount of egg to start with will guarantee a smooth batter.

            There's a whole big world of cheesecake out there, have fun!