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Sep 14, 2012 10:12 AM

Cheesecake for 24 guests with a specific recipe in mind.

Hi, I know that there is already a similar thread on this board but my question hasn't really been answered. I was wondering if anyone had experience with this or could point me in the right direction.

I'm catering a party of 25 people (a wedding rehearsal diner). I'm a friend of the family, and the groom's mom pretty much gave me free reign to do what I want. The only thing that she specifically requested was cheesecake for desert. The whole family loves her cheesecake, and it has it's own legacy in their traditions. She gave me the family recipe to use and I have been scratching my head as to the easiest way to make it.

The recipe is for the classic 9" spring-form pan. And the finishing product is about 1.5" deep. A 9" cake would be about 8 large slices so to serve 25 people I'm figuring on tripling the recipe. I need to make a cake of about the same depth, and I was considering doing it as a sheet-cake with the whole water-bath idea.

I have two concerns. How big would my cake pan have to be to do 3 recipes and make the resulting cake be about 1.25-1.5 inches deep? Would a 13x9 be too big or too small? And would the water-bath be effective on a pan like that? Or should I just try to scrounge up 2 more 9" spring-form pans from my friends? I don't want to buy them because that's not in my budget at all. So I don't know...

Thanks for any suggestions or ideas!

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  1. The 9" springform has a volume of 95 cubic inches at 1.5" depth, give or take - the 9x13 pan has a volume of 175 cubic inches at 1.5" depth, give or take. So, you could fit nearly a double recipe in the 9x13, but a better idea would probably be to do 1.5 recipes in each of two 9x13 pans. A waterbath will work fine on a 9x13, although you'll need to have two larger pans to hold the water, obviously. You'll probably need to adjust the baking time a bit as well, depending on the depth of the batter.

    3 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      Thank you. I had done part of that math but then got distracted by other issues. 2 pans makes sense, and I really only need one larger pan to hold the water cause I'd rather bake them separately (instead of risking both cakes at the same time). I don't have a helper, so everything has to be spread out a bit. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to transport and serve everything ;).

      1. re: biondanonima

        agree about the 2 springforms. the 9x13 also adds the potential of being overcooked on the edges and undercooked in the center.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Even cooking is what the water is supposed to help manage.

      2. You should be getting 12 slices out of cheesecake, it is very rich, and after a full dinner I don't want an 8th of a cheesecake in front of me. I would make two cheesecakes (is it 24 or 25?) At least two ladies will want just a half slice.

        How are you going to unmold a 13x9? or not at all?

        You need to bake it at a lower temperature if you do it in one pan.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jaykayen

          I'm still working on the details of presentation. So far nothing is completely decided on except the location, menu, and number of guests. Also, I completely understand about cheesecakes being much more rich, and I wasn't planning on everyone eating the same amount, but I know of at least 8 men who are attending who go nuts over the cheesecake.

          Baking 2 recipes and hoping that some people won't have a whole slice just isn't going to cut it. The third recipe will have leftovers, no doubt, but leftover cheesecake is also part of their traditions ;).

        2. Someone else's wedding rehearsal dinner isn't the best time to experiment. I'd stick with the recipe since what that recipe produces is what the people who hired you are expecting. Cheesecakes can be made a bit in advance, if you can't wrangle up additional pans you can make them one after another. (Plus, the presentation of a 9x13 pales in comparison to a classic round unmolded springform cheesecake.)

          4 Replies
          1. re: weezieduzzit

            I've been close friends with this family since I was a kid, so I understand what they want. The woman who wrote the recipe was the one who suggested maybe making it into a sheet cake. The entire wedding is casual and low-key.

            I get what you're saying, and it's been in the back of my head the whole time, but I'm going for the best solution here. Waiting for 3 cheesecakes to bake then cool till I can use the pan again is going to make for nearly 5 hours of baking time just for the desert. I'm still considering finding 2 more spring forms. It's just me in this, so I'm trying to do as much planning as possible in advance so that there's as little risk and/or wasted time as possible.

            1. re: sarginitial

              Since you need to spread out the prep for the whole dinner, what about using your springform pan and the original recipe, freezing that cheesecake, and then repeating two more times as time allows? IIR, cheesecake freezes well.

              1. re: egging

                I agree with this. I am concerned about tripling the recipe, I have made chessecake before and find it to be a very delicate venture. Not all recipes convert well if you want to duplicate them. It would be nice to make three separate cakes with three different decorative toppings.

              2. re: sarginitial

                I'd go with finding two more pans. Trying to serve a cheesecake in a sheet pan will be a pain in the butt. It's so much easier to hold the cheesecake in the pan, wrap and freeze, and unmold the night of.

            2. For future reference, you can compare pan volume here.
              I would look into borrowing some pans unless you plan to incorporate the cheesecake into a multi-component plated dessert which would mean a smaller serving size. Flipping out the cheesecake from a 9 x 13 could damage the top depending on your recipe -- maybe okay for NY style, but not so much for a creamier cheesecake.

              2 Replies
              1. re: maxie

                Thanks for the link, very helpful.

                By flipping out, I assume you mean turning it out onto another flat surface (ie: another pan or cutting board)... I wasn't really planning on doing that. If it were a sheet-cake I would probably be cutting and serving directly from the pan. Obviously the first slice might be difficult, but not impossible to extract. But I understand your concerns.

                The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to make 3 rounds. It would be a lot more impressive, even though they aren't expecting me to go over-the-top.

                1. re: sarginitial

                  Casual wedding or not- dessert is a luxury, an indulgence, something to be excited about (especially at a celebratory event.) Presentation is important. :)

              2. What if you cut cardboard rounds and covered them w/ aluminum foil. Mix up batter and graham cracker crusts for all three. Bake one at a time but use different bases so you don't have to wait for them to cool before baking the next one. It'll be time consuming but not as much as doing them all individually.