While cheesecake makes an undeniably satisfying dessert, its intense richness often prompts people to desire smaller quantities of the dense pastry. However, making individual mini cheesecakes can be time consuming, and you might not wish to spend time fussing over the details of miniature cakes. When such is the case, whip up a big cheesecake -- or buy one -- turn it into bite-sized treats and garnish them with fresh, bright-colored herbs and fruits for a professional-looking, eye-catching display.
Chill or freeze the cheesecake. There's no minimum time required, just as long as the cheesecake is very cold when you cut it; this helps you make more precise, clean cuts through the cake's naturally gooey texture.
Boil water in a kettle or a pot. Carefully pour the boiling water in the kettle over the blade of your sharpest knife. If you boil the water in a pot, dip your knife into it to heat it up, then dry the knife. Using a hot knife keeps the cheesecake from sticking to the knife.
Gently press the knife on the top of the cheesecake to make impressions where you want to make the cuts. For example, make impressions at 1-inch intervals in both directions if you want to make 1-inch-by-1-inch cheesecake bites. You may first need to square off a round cheesecake before cutting it into squares.
Press the hot knife through the cheesecake thickness. Rinse and reheat the knife every so often if you're cutting up a large number of cheesecakes.
Transfer the cheesecake bites to decorative mini cupcake papers with a cake server or a butter knife. Decorate the tops with whipped cream, or drizzles of chocolate or caramel sauce. Add color to the cheesecakes bites with raspberries, blueberries and cherries or with thin slivers of oranges, limes and pineapple. Top the cheesecakes with mint leaves to enhance their look.
Return the cheesecake bites to the refrigerator to maintain firmness until you're ready to serve them. For serving, arrange the cheesecake bites on a large platter, on traditional dessert plates or on unconventional surfaces such as sushi plates.
You also can cut the cheesecake with cookie cutters in various shapes such as circles, diamonds or hearts. Heat and dry the cookie cutters before cutting the cheesecake.
Using cookie cutters to make mini cheesecake bites generates cheesecake scraps. Store the scraps in an airtight plastic container and refrigerate or freeze them to eat later.
Food safety time and temperature guidelines also apply to cheesecake. Serve the cheesecake chilled, and avoid leaving it out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.