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Making New York Cheesecake for the first time EVER, any tips?

Tomorrow morning I am making a wonderful meal of desserts galore for my boyfriend because we all know the way to a mans heart wither you already own it or not is always through his stomach. I was hoping on making my famous wheat free donuts and an amazing New York style cheesecake, but sadly I have never made this cheesecake before and need loads of advice from ANYONE who has done this before so I don't mess it up and spend loads of money on cream cheese that will just get destroyed... If you could help me at all I would love it. Thanks.

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  1. Cheesecake is not as difficult as it looks. Leave plenty of extra time though- it's not something you can throw together at the last minute.
    Before you start, leave out your eggs, cream cheese, etc at room temperature. The cake will be smoother.
    Make sure you beat the cream cheese until it's really smooth before adding other ingredients. No lumps. It's hard to get rid of the lumps once you add other ingredients. You don't want to whip in too much air- just beat the cream cheese slowly on low until nice and creamy. Good luck!
    Good luck!

    1. Cook the cheesecake in a water bath, and when done leave in oven with door open for an hour so it cools slowly. This because cracking after baking can be an issue, but if it does then you can brush with an apricot jam topping to hide.

      7 Replies
      1. re: coll

        This is what I do, too. Just cook the cheesecake until the outer third is set. The rest will cook in the oven's residual heat. If it cracks, a sour cream/sugar mix baked on top 10but minutes will also cover it.

        1. re: chowser

          This is a bit off topic but since you mentioned it, chowser- last weekend I made a bourbon pumpkin cheesecake that calls for a top layer of sour cream/sugar mix. The problem is that I misread the recipe and froze the pumpkin cheesecake portion (for Thanksgiving), without the sour cream mix. I didn't realize that the sour cream mix had to be baked for 10 minutes. What does baking do to the sour cream part? And now what do I do now that the pumpkin part is fully cooked and frozen? I can't very well add the sour cream mix to the top and bake, since the bottom part will be mostly frozen. Can I add the sour cream mix and NOT bake it? Sorry to threadjack but I HAVE TO KNOW so I can avoid an embarrassing T-day flop.

          1. re: Bunny007

            The baking hardens it some. I'd leave it off altogether. I really think the only reason for it is to cover cracks. Or, make some sour cream whipped cream to serve on top if you want. Something like this (although I'd add rum or bourbon to it):

            http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-whi...

            1. re: chowser

              Thanks chowser! The recipe you linked looks great- I think this solves my dilemma

        2. re: coll

          I've had trouble with water bath leakage and have read that it's best to wrap bottom in 3 LAYERS OF FOIL (heavy duty if you have it).

          It's great to make a blueberry sauce to spoon over the slice of cheesecake when you serve it.

          1. re: walker

            Extra wide heavy duty works well. It's worth looking for and paying the extra--much easier than folding over two sheets to make it wide enough.

            1. re: walker

              Ha! another reason to be glad most of my kitchenware is from the 1970s I guess. Ugly but trustworthy!

          2. Mmmm, i love that. Just for clarification, can we assume you already have a recipe you know will give you a nice heavy NY cheesecake and that your question is about technique?

            1. PATIENCE!!!

              If the recipe calls for the cheesecake to rest in the fridge overnight, let it rest! Your patience will pay off.

              1. Because water baths can be tricky, what I do is make a cold collar for the springform pan. I soak a good amount of paper towels and then wrap them in some heavy duty aluminum foil, which I then wrap around the pan (after I've parbaked the graham cracker crust)

                Never had a cracked cake yet! Oh, and I use the CI recipe.

                I'm with you on the cost of cream cheese, though! Haven't made the cake in awhile since my recipe uses 5 bricks of cheese and depending on sales, that can be almost $20 right there. Eeep.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Violatp

                  I've made cheesecake for years and have never heard of the cold collar. Can you describe it more? Do the paper towels go around the springform pan and then the aluminum holds it on?

                  1. re: chowser

                    I think it was sort of my own invention? I'd used Magic Strips for years to bake regular cakes but they were not quite big enough for my 10" springform.

                    I tear off the amount of foil I need (the circumference of the pan plus a little extra for crimping). Then I tear off twice as much paper towel and wet it thoroughly. Then I double up the paper towel so it fits on the foil and fold the foil in from top and bottom till the paper towels are completely enfolded. Then just wrap it around the pan and crimp the edges. It's not a perfect tight fit but, for my purposes, it doesn't need to be.

                    It sounds involved, but takes 5 minutes, really. And my cheesecake bakes perfectly evenly!

                    I'd had bad luck with the water bath and came up with this method as a solution.

                    1. re: Violatp

                      Interesting. I'm going to have to try it. Thanks.

                  2. re: Violatp

                    Regarding cream cheese, I have discovered that the cheaper store brands in my area actually have better ingredients than Philly brand - Philly is evidently riding on its name these days. Store brands can go as low as $1.79 around here.....

                    1. re: Violatp

                      NY cheesecake doesn't usually have graham crust, at least in my experience. No crust at all usually.

                      1. re: coll

                        I like a graham cracker crust! I, in fact, double the recipe so it's a nice thick crust. Mmmmm, crust. :-)

                        1. re: coll

                          Junior's in New York is authentic NY cheesecake; they use a spongecake instead of graham cracker. It's the best cheesecake I ever ate.

                      2. I never parbake a graham cracker crust; it gets overcooked IMO especially since my recipe calls for the cake to be cooked an hour. I never leave my cheesecake in the oven past the cook time because the oven, even with the door cracked, is still hot and the cake will still continue to cook.

                        I also mix up my batter in a food processor; first I add room temp cream cheese then process a few seconds to break it down. Next I add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. No issues with lumps and it takes about two minutes. Leave your eggs and cream cheese out at room temp overnight prior to mixing up the cheesecake.

                        Cheesecakes crack for a number of reasons; one being that it needs moisture while baking, hence the waterbath. To avoid your cake from obtaining water from the bath, use 2-3 thickness of heavy duty foil and cover the entire outside of the springform pan up to the top of the pan. Place the cake pan in a pan slightly bigger than the cake pan and pour in the HOT water halfway up the sides of the cake pan. This is easier to do once the cake is on the oven rack. Another reason is over mixing the batter (which is why I do mine in a food processor; quick and easy) Once baked, immediately remove the springform pan from the waterbath and allow cake to cool to room temperature, covering with a inverted plate so that the cake cools slowly. Refrigerate the cake in the pan for a minimum of 8 hour to overnight.

                        Once the cake has been refrigerated, loosen the sprinform pan ring and carefully remove the cheesecake (you may have to run a wet knife around inside the ring to loosen) If your cake has a crack, there are tons of ways to cover it up. Glazes, fruit mixtures, etc. will work. Hope this helps...