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Jul 23, 2010 05:34 AM

Cheesecake for a crowd

I'm hosting a graduation party for my daughter who would like to have an oreo cheesecake for dessert. We are having approx 80 guests. Is there a catering trick/secret to not only making but presenting a beautiful chesecake for a crowd? I really dont want to have a table full of 10 cheesecakes? ANY ideas would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. You could do it wedding cake style, which is to say make 2 or 3 or 4 of different sizes and stack them. 80 guests for a graduation party is massive (I assume she finally finished her doctorate in brain surgery?) and I can't imagine trying to make a cheesecake for that many people.

    Have you priced the item at local bakeries?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Shaw Oliver

      Cheescake is heavy... I wouldn't recommend stacking it. Because it is heavy people generally take much smaller slices than they would of a regular cake.

      I would make 2 10" cheesecakes and have them pre-sliced into 24 pieces each and have a secondary dessert such as a nicely decorated 1/4 sheet cake or small round cake.

      Or make a platter of cheesecake brownies to accompany a smaller round cake covered in fondant.

      1. re: iluvcookies

        You think wedding cakes are light? Nope. Stacking does not involve simply plopping another layer on top, you need support underneath and you need a base (cardboard) for those layers to sit on. Pre-slicing is a great idea.

        1. re: Shaw Oliver

          Wedding cakes with fondant are pretty heavy too, but a completely different animal than cheesecake. Stacking cheesecake to me spells mess with a capital M... even with dowels and cardboard rounds. (I've made a couple of wedding cakes in my day... decorating is a hobby of mine).
          If OP isn't a professional or even a seasoned baker then stacking might be a disaster the day of the party.

    2. Pre-slicing the cake is key for several reasons. One is that people sometimes take a bigger slice than they want to eat and then wind up leaving part of it on a plate. Good sized but smaller pieces will cut down on waste. Also, it is difficult to cut cheesecake properly. You should use a very sharp thin knife and wipe it after each slice. This will make the slices more attractive. I generally have a New Year's Day open house where I serve cheesecake. We have about 100 guests, and I find that two cheesecakes are sufficient if I am serving other desserts, which I do. I usually have a fairly large selection of cookes, tassies and brownies. If cheesecake is all you are serving, then four should be ample. You can easily get 20 servings out of one cheesecake since it is so rich. Also, if you have servers helping you, you can start with two cheesecakes on the dessert table, and replenish as needed.

      2 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        I've heard that dental floss is the ideal tool to cut cheesecake. Thin and unwaxed presumably.

        1. re: 512window

          Very true. Waxed is fine, just not flavored.

      2. Thank you all for your great ideas. I wish she was graduating with the MD - this is just high school!
        Thanks again!

        1. When I do cheesecake for large numbers, I do individual ones. I have a couple of these pans

          And just drop a cookie (whole oreos work really well) in the bottom as the base. You can use whatever recipe you want, just bake it for (a lot) less time. I make a big bowl of cheesecake batter and do the baking in batches.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Sooeygun

            I'm with sooeygun. I made 65 individual ones for a wedding shower barbeque. I doubled the graham cracker crust and used muffin tins, 2 large tins at a time. I started about 3 days in advance and froze them until the big day. They came out beautifully and were a huge hit. So much so, that's what most all my neighbors want for Christmas.

            1. re: nvcook

              that's so funny - my mom's signature dish has always been mini cheesecakes in mini muffin pans. I didn't even think of this because all I could visualize was the photo op of cutting the "cake"!!!! I'll take a pic of her in front of a pile of individual cheesecakes!

              1. re: beezerl

                To follow up on the individualized portions of cheesecake theme, you might consider "cheesecake lollipops".

                Just bake a large sheet (or several large sheets) of cheesecake with your desired crust, freeze, then cut into 1x1 inch squares (or thereabouts) and spear each square with bamboo skewers, or better yet use Pocky Sticks as your lollipop sticks (pic below).

                1. re: beezerl

                  and/or make minis for everyone to have but make one normal sized one for her to cut for the photo op.

                  1. re: beezerl

                    My sister used to do this also. She would make several dozen and do 4 or 5 different toppings. She used the aluminum foil liners and it made it easy to just grab and run. They also looked pretty.

                    1. re: othervoice

                      I also like the individual idea. You could do some of them in individual phylo cups. I have also served cheesecake verrine style. Votive candle holders make the cheapest verrine glasses, I learned that here on Chow. I bought 144 for less than $50 on the internet. I made cheesecake on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then cut rounds out with a cookie cutter and shoved them into the glasses. I put rounds of brownie in some of the glasses first. I layered fruits in most of them. The mini-parfait presentation is very festive. I put a pirouline cookie in some for a pretty garnish. The Land-o-Lakes brand canned squirt heavy whipped cream held very well and was easy to place in the small containers.

                      I have also baked cheesecake in the verrine candleholders in a waterbath and those turned out great. I did that a day ahead and that cut down work the day of the party considerably.

                      Edit: My experience is if you have 6 varieties, you will need 2.5 verrines per person in a buffet setting.

              2. Way back when, when I was just out of college I worked for a commercial bakery (where I obtained the moniker Bagelman).
                We used to make full sheets of Cheesecake which were sold by the piece in our retail bakeries. Commercial bakeries, baked the tops to the cheesecake separately and it went on to cover the cracks that would always appear in large size cakes.
                A full sheet will easilly serve 80-100 people.

                5 Replies
                1. re: bagelman01

                  Baked the top separately? That is fascinating... how did they do that?

                  1. re: iluvcookies

                    Poured out the same batter the depth of a sheet pan without the side risers used for cake. Baked on shelves in rotating oven until golden brown (about 20 minutes). Left to cool.
                    Lifted by putting an empty sheet pan and inverting, then reinvering over the cooled sheet pan sized cheesecake.

                    This would be put on display in our refrigerator case, and customers would say I want a square to feed so mmany and we'd cut the appropriate size, weigh and charge by the pound.

                    We also sold alot of these to our wholesale accounts who used them in food service.

                    The same method was also used to bake tops for round cheesecakes. We just filled the bottoms of the springform pans without the sides.
                    This method gives the top of the cheesecake a more cakey consistency than the filling and helps balance the bottom crust.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      I know this is a rather old post.... But, I am in charge of the sweets table at my sons wedding (along with everything else apparently lol) and they want mini cheesecake squares. I was hoping you could go into a little more detail on this method. Could you see a separation between the two stacked layers? It's looking like I'll be making 250.

                  2. re: bagelman01

                    my favorite recipe finishes the last 10 minutes of baking with a sour cream/sugar/vanilla topping that hides any cracks, and tastes wonderful. I love either caramel drizzled over the top or fresh berries.

                    1. re: nvcook

                      My mother always used this method, topping with pineapple, but I always found it too sweet for my taste.