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How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake Every Time or “Just a Vanilla Cheesecake”

Learning how to bake the perfect cheesecake is all about quality ingredients, an uncomplicated recipe and mastering the simple method.

How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake

How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake

I recently had a conversation with one of our readers who was so nervous about baking a cheesecake for her husband’s birthday. She had previously encountered a couple of cheesecake disasters.

Understandably, she was not relishing the thought of ruining the centrepiece of the birthday celebration. I convinced her to do a practice run with a “just a vanilla cheesecake” to get a feel for the process of baking the perfect cheesecake.

Following this recipe and instructions she was delighted to perfectly bake both the practice cheesecake and the second as hubby’s birthday cake.

The advantage of learning with “just a vanilla cheesecake” is that it is very simple to prepare with uncomplicated ingredients. Also, you get a good feel for the proper consistency of a cheesecake batter.

Stock photo of cream cheese in a foil package.

Cream Cheese.

It is also relatively easy to tell when a vanilla cheesecake is done. If the top of this cheesecake begins to brown at all, in all likelihood it is fully baked.

Although as the recipe states, it need not brown at all to be fully baked. I give the pan a little shake to test how much it wobbles after about an hour.

It is best to treat a cheesecake like a large baked custard which it really is. Residual heat will take care of any slightly wobbly centre even after it comes out of the oven.

In my opinion, baking the perfect cheesecake requires the use of a bain marie during baking.

A bain marie is simply a water bath that buffers the direct heat from the sides and bottom of the baking pan. This helps the cheesecake bake more evenly.

I bake my cheesecakes in a 9 inch spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of wide heavy duty aluminum foil. Therefore it forms a sort of boat that the cheesecake pan sits in.

Pure vanilla extract is so much better than artificial.

The roll of aluminum foil that I use is about 16 inches wide. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake.

The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I use a 12 inch cake pan. Boiling water is then poured into the larger pan filling it from 1/2 to 2/3 of the way to the top.

I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven. Then, you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil.

I reuse the aluminum foil for several future cheesecakes, adding a couple of layers to it each time just to be safe.

I still recommend that you use the aluminum foil wrap around the cheesecake pan. The aluminum foil still offers a good buffer to the heat. High heat and baking too quickly is the main reason that a cheesecake becomes dense and not creamy.

The recipe for the Maple Apple Topping on the cheesecake above can be found here: Maple Apple Cheesecake.

Maple Apple Cheesecake showing a single slice on green plate

Maple Apple Cheesecake

Like this Cheesecake recipe?

You’ll find hundreds of other sweet ideas in our Cakes & Pies Category and even more in our Desserts Category.

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How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake

How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake

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How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake
Yield: 12 to 16 servings

How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake Every Time or "Just a Vanilla Cheesecake"

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

How to Bake the Perfect Cheesecake Every Time or "Just a Vanilla Cheesecake" - Learning how to bake the perfect cheesecake is all about quality ingredients, an uncomplicated recipe and mastering the simple method.

Ingredients

For the cookie crumb crust

  • 1⅓ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ⅓ cup melted butter

For the cheesecake batter

  • 3 eight ounce packages ounces cream cheese, (3 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract, (or, even better, the seeds from one large vanilla pod)
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Instructions

To prepare the cookie crumb crust

  1. In a small bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.
  2. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased or parchment lined 9 inch spring form pan. (Grease bottom only!) Parchment paper is ideal here because it makes it very easy to release the cheesecake from the bottom of the pan.

To prepare the cheesecake batter

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes until well combined.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract (or vanilla pod seeds. If using a vanilla pod, scrape all the seeds out and stir them very well into the whipping cream in the next step. This will help to break up the sticky vanilla pod paste and make sure the tint black seeds are evenly distributed throughout the cheesecake.)
  4. Finally blend in the whipping cream well until the batter is very smooth. Using a rubber bowl scraper/spatula, scrape the bottom and the sides of the bowl as well as the electric beaters/paddle and give the batter a final beating for 1 minute on a higher speed. This final step ensures that there are no lumps in the batter and introduces a little air into the cheesecake to make it lighter.
  5. Pour over the prepared base and bake in a bain marie at 300 degrees F for 60-70 minutes. (Oven temperatures will vary slightly. Mine takes the full 70 minutes and you can go to 75 if you feel you need to.)
  6. Don't be an compulsive oven door opener! Don't open it at all in the first hour.
  7. The cheesecake does not have to brown at all in order to be fully baked; the surface of the cheesecake should lose any shine when the cake is properly baked. It can still be slightly wobbly just at the center at this point.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp knife completely around the edge of the pan. This will allow for the cheesecake to shrink as it cools and hopefully not crack (Allow the cheesecake to cool thoroughly on a wire rack at room temperature. (NOT in the fridge). Refrigerate after fully cooled.

Notes

In my opinion, baking the perfect cheesecake requires the use of a bain marie during baking. A bain marie is simply a water bath that buffers the direct heat from the sides and bottom of the baking pan to more evenly bake the cheesecake from the sides to the center. I bake my cheesecakes in a 9 inch spring form pan that has the bottom and sides wrapped in multiple layers of wide heavy duty aluminum foil which forms a sort of boat that the cheesecake pan sits in. The roll of aluminum foil that I use is about 16 inches wide. I use at least 4 layers of foil to make sure that no water leaks in and ruins the crust of my cheesecake. The aluminum foil wrapped pan is then placed inside a larger baking pan; I use a 12 inch cake pan. Boiling water is then poured into the larger pan filling it from ½ to ⅔ of the way to the top.I find it best to pour the boiling water into the pan after it is placed on the rack in the oven as you are less likely to splash water onto the cheesecake or inside the aluminum foil. I reuse the aluminum foil for several future cheesecakes, adding a couple of layers to it each time just to be safe. EVEN IF YOU CHOOSE NOT USE A BAIN MARIE still use the aluminum foil wrap around the cheesecake pan. The aluminum foil still offers a good buffer to the heat. High heat and baking too quickly is the main reason that a cheesecake becomes dense and not creamy.

Nutrition Information

Yield

12

Serving Size

1/12

Amount Per Serving Calories 258Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 85mgSodium 114mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 0gSugar 23gProtein 3g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Baka en perfekt cheesecake • Heavenly Cupcake

Tuesday 28th of July 2020

[…] Adapted from Rock Recipes […]

Baked Cheesecake (creamy!) - The Twin Cooking Project by Sheenam & Muskaan

Saturday 23rd of May 2020

[…] were so happy with the topping we prepared for this cheesecake. This recipe (inspired by Barry’s Post on the Perfect Cheesecake ) is the creamier version of a classic baked cheesecake and has been tried and tested by […]

Tena

Friday 17th of January 2020

I made this cheesecake according to the recipe and it is the most delicious cheesecake I've ever tasted. Perfection. Thanks for another great recipe.

Anisa

Saturday 14th of December 2019

Hi, sorry if this has been asked before but wondering if it would work to substitute the sugar for another sweetener such as granulated sucralose?

Jennifer

Sunday 10th of November 2019

I will first start by saying this is hands down the BEST cheesecake recipe! I want to make a pumpkin cheesecake but not sure how I would incorporate the pumpkin into this recipe.

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