For a cheesecake fan, the sight of a plain, creamy cheesecake alone is a feast for the eyes. Most cheesecake decorations are as much about adding flavors to the cake as they are about adding visual appeal. Avoid the buttercream you would use to decorate a flour-and-eggs cake, as it doesn’t complement the flavor or appearance as well as other options.
Sliced or whole berries or other fruits make an attractive topping for cheesecake that enhances the flavor of the cake. Plain cheesecake goes especially well with strawberry and cherry. Cut the fruit in half — and pit if necessary — then arrange it on top of the cheesecake. Other options include whole blueberries, raspberries and thinly sliced lemon or orange. Brush the berries or fruit with heated jam or marmalade as a glaze. Avoid using fresh apple or banana as a cheesecake topping, as they brown quickly.
Use fruit puree as a kind of frosting for cheesecake, adding a concentrated fruit flavor. To make puree, slice berries and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of sugar and a little lemon juice. Pour the berries and juice into a blender and pulse until it’s pureed. Add the puree to a piping bag with a medium, round tip and pipe it as you would icing, or spoon dollops of puree on the top of the cheesecake batter before baking and move the tip of a knife through it to create swirls.
Chocolate makes cheesecake extra-decadent, and chocolate decorations give it even more eye appeal. You can shave pieces of semi-sweet chocolate over the top of the cake or place chocolate chips in a design. Or, drizzle melted chocolate on top of a plain or chocolate cheesecake: melt chocolate chips or semi-sweet baking chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until it melts. Drizzle it over the cheesecake with a spoon.
Whipped cream is a light decoration that can be used to hold up blueberries or slices of strawberry, chocolate shavings or lemon slices. Whip the cream yourself, adding dissolved gelatin to stabilize it, and pipe it. Or, use aerosol whipped cream to make decorative mounds of whipped cream easily. Add whipped cream to the cheesecake immediately before serving.
References and ResourcesEpicurious: Strawberry-Topped Cheesecake With Graham Cracker Crust
Kraft: American Berry No-Bake Cheesecake
What's Cooking America: Basic Berry and Fruit Puree Recipes