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Cheesecake, anyone???

amylovescupcakes Mar 3, 2011 05:28 AM

I developed this recipe as a varation of one that was given to me. It has been a hit each and every time I have made it. I always get rave reviews. One problem though...sometimes, it is not as firm as I would like, and I am all about pretty food and presentation. It tastes wonderful...BUT, I want it to look perfect, too. Should I add a block of cream cheese? Take out an egg? Does anyone have any suggestions? Here are the basic ingredients for the filling part and a pic.
*Note-I don't add the toppings until just before serving, so I don't think they are the culprit.

Sugared Strawberry Cheesecake
32 oz (4 blocks) softened cream cheese
1 1/4 c sugar
1/2 c sour cream
5 eggs (whisked separately and added after creaming everything else)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract

 
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  1. m
    morwen RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 3, 2011 09:49 AM

    How are you baking it? Temp and time? Water bath or not?

    1 Reply
    1. re: morwen
      amylovescupcakes RE: morwen Mar 4, 2011 05:58 AM

      Yes I use a water bath. The recipe says to start out for 13 minuts at 475 and 50-60 at 350. However, I have an old temperamental gas oven, and I decrease the temps by 25 degrees on everything I bake. Otherwise, it always ends up overdone.

    2. r
      rainey RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 4, 2011 06:40 AM

      Have you tried a couple tablespoons of flour to stabilize the batter? Just 2 tbs. should be enough.

      You won't taste it. It will just give it some structure.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rainey
        Cherylptw RE: rainey Mar 4, 2011 03:58 PM

        Yep, it's missing flour....I use one tablespoon in my recipe for 4- 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese, I also use 1/4 cup heavy cream to help mix the flour. Perfect every time.

      2. m
        morwen RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 4, 2011 09:56 AM

        Rainey's suggestion is right on. The recipe I use also recommends turning off the oven at the end of the bake time but leaving the cheesecake in for another hour. The cheesecake will be jiggly in the center when it comes out but the next day, after overnight refrigeration (which the recipe says is imperative), it is always firm, never has any cracks, and slices beautifully.

        21 Replies
        1. re: morwen
          amylovescupcakes RE: morwen Mar 4, 2011 10:15 AM

          I haven't tried the flour, but next time I make one I will! Thank you for that suggestion. Yes, I always refrigerate mine overnight as well. Mine never cracks and seems firm until slicing. Then the middle is sometimes slightly mushy, which is why I asked for your help. I also took to not placing the cheesecake IN the water bath, and instead put it OVER the water bath. I didn't want to take the chance of water seeping past the foil and into the cheesecake. I put the cake on a rack nearly touching my big pan for the water bath. Do you think that makes the water bath less effective?

          1. re: amylovescupcakes
            chowser RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 4, 2011 10:31 AM

            I think putting it in the water bath helps regulate the temperature of the cheesecake better. It's not just the moist environment it creates. I also leave the cheesecake in the oven for an hour, prop the door open w/ a wooden spoon. I turn it off when the center is still a little jiggly and only the outer 1/3 is cooked. It sounds like your cheesecake might not be completely cooked. Have you tried taking an internal temperature?

            1. re: chowser
              amylovescupcakes RE: chowser Mar 4, 2011 11:25 AM

              So you think it's best to put it IN the water...not just to have the water bath to make the oven humid? That makes sense about the water regulating the temp.
              Well, I thought that might be the case too (it being underdone) but then when I let it cook more it just gets very brown on top. I think I will try adding flour, putting it IN the water bath instead of over, and let the oven finish it with the door proped open like you and morwen said. Hopefully that will solve my issue. When I express my dismay at how it turns out, the people who eat it always look at me like I am crazy, LOL, but I think you all understand that having it hold up and slice neatly is important too, not just the taste.

              1. re: amylovescupcakes
                s
                smilingal RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 4, 2011 12:28 PM

                where do you use the foil - no one seems to have caught this but perhaps that is your problem? And I do believe that you should be placing it directly in the water bath for the entire time - my cheesecake pan as well as the brownie pan that it bakes in both have watermark lines about half way up their sides!

                1. re: smilingal
                  amylovescupcakes RE: smilingal Mar 4, 2011 12:30 PM

                  i use a springform pan that has an extra lip that says it's supposed to be "leakproof", but it's not. The recipe instructs you to wrap the base of the pan with heavyduty foil to keep the water out. That is neat about your pans...I have never seen any like that.

                  1. re: amylovescupcakes
                    m
                    morwen RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 4, 2011 01:16 PM

                    Definitely wrap the pan with foil and put it IN the water. The water actually helps custardy things like cheesecakes to bake more evenly, and with your spotty oven it may be even more important.

                    1. re: amylovescupcakes
                      chowser RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 4, 2011 02:23 PM

                      I use multiple layers of heavy duty wrap to prevent leaks--criss crossed. I've read it works to put the pan in a silicon pan first and I'd do that if I made them enough these days to warrant buying one.

                  2. re: amylovescupcakes
                    a
                    Altarbo RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 5, 2011 11:24 PM

                    Hi,

                    I use flour and put my cheesecakes in a water bath. I find that the flour gives it a smoother texture. The water bath keeps it from burning or cracking.

                    Jiggly centers for have always been from not cooking the cheesecake enough. Your oven temps and times are pretty close to mine (10 minutes at 500 and 60 minutes at 200) so that's probably not the problem. I've cut my cheescakes before they had time to cool, and they were quite jiggly in the center, though. After you take the cake out of the oven, residual heat from the sides of the cake should cook the center; this can take a while. (I normally open the oven door, turn it off, and let the cake cool for several hours.)

                    How soon do you refrigerate and do you ever have problems with the cake crying odd little cake tears?

                    1. re: Altarbo
                      amylovescupcakes RE: Altarbo Mar 7, 2011 08:00 AM

                      I haven't noticed any weeping, but I may be making a mistake by chilling the cheesecake too soon..sometimes I am in a rush, but mostly I try to let the cheesecake cool until the pan is able to be handled and then into the fridge it goes.

                      1. re: amylovescupcakes
                        a
                        Altarbo RE: amylovescupcakes Mar 9, 2011 11:25 PM

                        This could be the problem then. When you have your next go at it, maybe let the cheesecake reach almost room temp before you refrigerate it?

                        And good luck!

                        :)

                        1. re: Altarbo
                          chowser RE: Altarbo Mar 10, 2011 03:07 AM

                          I'd say completely cooled before putting it in the refrigerator. I leave it in the oven, door propped open, for an hour. Then remove cheesecake from bath and let it cool for hours before refrigerating.

                          1. re: chowser
                            s
                            smilingal RE: chowser Mar 10, 2011 07:59 AM

                            don't you think it continues cooking in the warm oven in the hot bath?

                            1. re: smilingal
                              chowser RE: smilingal Mar 10, 2011 08:02 AM

                              Yes, I turn off the oven when the outer 1/3 of the cheesecake is cooked and the center is still jiggly (like jello), as I said above, so slightly underdone.

                  3. re: chowser
                    a
                    ahammers RE: chowser Dec 2, 2011 11:00 PM

                    Thank you chowser. I am taking a cheesecake to a Christmas party tomorrow evening and am making a second one because the first one was too soft in the middle. So I am leaving this one in the oven for an extra hour with the door propped open as you suggested. I really appreciate your suggestion.

                2. re: morwen
                  lilgi RE: morwen Mar 4, 2011 01:46 PM

                  I third this, I think it's most important, but I think I prefer cornstarch to flour. I haven't experimented that much more with it since I started making the mini-sized cheesecakes and with those you can't really tell.

                  edit: this was supposed to be in response to Rainey's post above.

                  1. re: lilgi
                    s
                    smilingal RE: lilgi Mar 4, 2011 06:21 PM

                    do you use your regular cheesecake recipe but pour it into little molds? What type of mini-sized cheesecake molds do you use?

                    1. re: smilingal
                      lilgi RE: smilingal Mar 4, 2011 06:59 PM

                      I have a pan that I like for festive occasions/holidays:
                      http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

                      I also have one that I like better for dinner with friends and family, bigger cheesecakes:
                      http://www.chefscatalog.com/product/2...

                      But I had a problem using my regular NY cheesecake recipe because the cakes souffled too much; nothing helped (except fruit topping to hide it). I also did a bit of research on this and came up with nothing.

                      My answer came unexpectedly when I tried Giada's Honey Ricotta Cheesecake recipe which is just like NY cheesecake:
                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

                      I made this in a 9-inch springform pan and there was no souffleing whatsoever. I wouldn't choose my regular cheesecake over this one but for the mini pans this was ABSOLUTELY perfect. And btw I had forgotten that this recipe doesn't use either flour or cornstarch.

                      With regard to the use of cornstarch/flour I tried increasing it with my other recipe for these mini pans thinking it might help the problem, but Giada's recipe came through for me on this one.

                      Btw, no water bath but simply kept a large shallow pan with water underneath on a lower rack. Unfortunately on these I only do one pan at a time which is a bit time consuming but requires less baking time. I think I turned off the oven after 30 minutes on the real minis, haven't tried Giada's in the slightly larger ones yet.

                      1. re: lilgi
                        s
                        smilingal RE: lilgi Mar 5, 2011 07:25 PM

                        just when I thought I didn't need any more baking pans --- here are two more that seem like they are calling to me. I think I might just treat myself to the smaller mini ones. Do you like the way the cakes come out in that one? And how many minis does Giada's recipe yield?

                        1. re: smilingal
                          lilgi RE: smilingal Mar 5, 2011 08:07 PM

                          ahaha, the batter fills about 3 pans (I wouldn't get more than one or maybe two) but the mini ones are very small, so it depends on what you want them for. I have to warn you though that these are time consuming but what makes it worthwhile is, if you have room in the fridge, they keep very well (I'm going to say at most, a week), so you can plan things well in advance when you have time if you need a head start.

                          If you want things to look super neat, I recommend parchment circles (which you'll have to measure and cut out yourself) to place right on top of the circle inserts before pressing down your crust. Grease the wells and after they're done baking and cool completely, place in the freezer so that you can remove them with ease and refrigerate. Lots of ways to decorate them, my favorite is one raspberry with chocolate shavings/small curls, or heat preserves on a low flame and strain; I try to just make a circle on top rather than let it drip but it's up to you.

                          If you like NY cheesecake, this is a very good recipe, very smooth. Have fun, these are tiny dazzlers :)

                          1. re: lilgi
                            r
                            rainey RE: lilgi Mar 5, 2011 09:20 PM

                            When it comes to pans, I am crazy about the glass-bottomed two-handled one I got from freiling. No need to remove the bottom at all for attractive serving.

                            I sorta doubt they make anything like it in individual sized cakes but for a full-size springform it's da bomb!

                            1. re: rainey
                              lilgi RE: rainey Mar 6, 2011 09:03 AM

                              Beautiful, thanks for posting that! I had to return my new nine-inch springform that warped in the oven and I'm going to look into this one. My French Press coffee maker is made by this company and I love it!

                3. amylovescupcakes RE: amylovescupcakes May 13, 2011 08:02 AM

                  Well, I tried again a few weeks ago for my friend's birthday, and I used your suggestions: adding flour, leaving it in the oven with the door propped open for a long while, and putting it IN the water bath again, rather than over it. I also did not cool the cake in the until it had completely cooled to room temp. It held up much better, and sliced much cleaner. Thank you!!!

                  (I did a vanilla wafer crust on this one rather than oreo...)

                   
                   
                   
                  2 Replies
                  1. re: amylovescupcakes
                    chowser RE: amylovescupcakes May 13, 2011 09:55 AM

                    Nice job, looks pretty. Did you like the taste/texture doing it that way?

                    1. re: amylovescupcakes
                      a
                      Altarbo RE: amylovescupcakes May 18, 2011 12:32 AM

                      :)

                      I feel quite happy for you and your 41 year old comrade. I think I'll have strawberries for lunch because of this.

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