Cheesecake is a smooth dessert featuring cream cheese and a buttery graham cracker crust. It is typically baked in a springform pan, a rounded pan with a removable outer rim. Cheesecake may appear to be a basic and effortless dessert, but any novice baker who’s had disastrous results can attest that cheesecake requires proper technique. It can easily lose its moisture and become cracked and flavorless. Fortunately, if you follow the correct method, you can make creamy cheesecake at home.
Things You'll Need
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Place the cream cheese onto the counter so it can come to room temperature, then add the stick of butter to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted.
Add 2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs and the melted butter to a large mixing bowl and stir with a fork until evenly combined. Pour the moistened crumbs into the springform pan and use your hands or the bottom of a glass to press it evenly along the bottom and one inch up the sides of the pan.
Cover the crust with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to set while you make the cheesecake filling. Add the 16 oz. room-temperature cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low for approximately one minute or until the cream cheese is completely smooth.
Add the four large eggs to the cream cheese mixture and beat on low until the eggs are just incorporated, then slowly pour in 1/2 cup heavy cream and beat until combined. Add 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp. vanilla extract and continue mixing on low until the mixture is combined.
Remove the chilled crust from the refrigerator and pour the filling evenly onto the crust. Place the springform pan in the center of a large roasting pan.
Boil 3 cups of water. Place the roasting pan holding the cheesecake into the preheated oven, then pour the water into the roasting pan so it surrounds the lower half of the cheesecake pan. This is known as a water bath and prevents the cheesecake from drying out while baking.
Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour and 30 minutes, or until the outer portion of the cheesecake is set and the center is slightly wet. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in the there for one hour so the leftover heat can firm up the center of the cheesecake without drying out the outer portion.
Remove the entire roasting pan containing the springform pan from the oven, then carefully remove the springform pan and place it onto a cooling rack. Run a sharp knife around the inside rim of the springform pan to slightly loosen the crust, then chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for about 8 hours.
Turn the outer knobs on the springform pan counterclockwise to detach the outer rim. Lift it straight up to remove, then cut the cheesecake and serve.
Save time and use a pre-made graham cracker crust instead of making your own.
References and ResourcesFood Network Magazine; Copy That: The Cheesecake Factory; November/December 2008
Tips for Cheesecake