How to Prepare a Cheesecake For Baking

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Cheesecake is a dessert made with soft cheese, often cream cheese. It is usually baked, but can also be made as a custard in a mold without any crust at all.


The crust of a cheesecake is usually made from graham cracker crumbs or another kind of cookie. The crumbs are crushed or ground up and then mixed with melted butter until the dough is moist enough to hold the shape of the pie when baked.

Some cheesecake recipes call for the crust to be baked before the filling is added, while others bake it together at the same time as the cheesecake. In either case, it is important to keep the crust cool until the filling is ready to go into the pan, otherwise the bottom of the pie will be too hot and may burn when the cheesecake is placed in the oven.

You can make the graham cracker crust in a food processor or by hand. Use a fork, pastry blender or your fingers to cut chilled butter into the flour until it has a breadcrumb consistency. Add the ice water and mix until just combined.

A sprinkling of chopped nuts or pieces of chocolate are popular ways to decorate the top of a cheesecake. You can also drizzle with a little bit of caramel (heated sugar) and then scatter some praline shards on the top for a more exotic look.

Another way to decorate a cheesecake is to draw a spider web pattern with toothpicks before covering it. Start in the center and work your way out to the edges, creating a grid of eight lines across and sixteen lines down.


The cheesecake’s filling is a cream-like custard that is usually made from cheese (most often cream cheese, but occasionally cottage cheese or ricotta), sugar, and eggs. It may also contain other ingredients like fruit flavoring, chocolate, and nuts. Whether it’s baked or no-bake, a good cheesecake has a thick texture and a dense, creamy consistency.

For bake-your-own no-bake cheesecakes, beat cold heavy whipping cream to stiff peaks before adding it to the cheesecake batter. If you wish, add a dash of vanilla extract or citrus zest to the cream cheese before mixing it in with the whipped cream to change the flavors. When you’re ready to serve, spread the filling over the graham cracker crust and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Depending on the recipe, the cheesecake filling can be stabilized with gelatin for an extra-smooth and silky finish. Other common stabilizing agents include sour cream and whipped cream, which can also be used to create a lighter version of the dessert.

Toppings like berries can be added to the filling for a pretty color, or they can act as a deliciously tangy flavor contrast. Matcha and powdered green tea also make delicious toppings, as they have a grassy, nutty taste that pairs well with sweet foods.


The toppings of a cheesecake add flavor and texture to this already decadent dessert. They are easy to make and can be used on homemade or store-bought cheesecakes.

Fruit toppings are a classic and aesthetically pleasing way to garnish a cheesecake. Berries are sweet and pair well with the creamy consistency of a cheesecake. Strawberries are a popular choice, but other berries like raspberries or blueberries work as well. Kiwi is another fresh fruit that has a unique, slightly sour taste that goes well with cheesecake.

Sauces are also a common topping for cheesecake. Strawberry sauce is a favorite, but you can also try a more adventurous dessert sauce recipe such as chocolate or salted caramel sauce. These toppings are usually made by heating the ingredients over low heat to create a thin liquid that is poured over the top of the cheesecake.

Other types of dessert toppings for cheesecake include candy and shredded coconut or nuts. Candy toppings like white chocolate, Thin Mints or Heath bars add a salty, sweet type of flavor to the dessert. You can also add some marshmallows to a s’mores-style cheesecake to give it that traditional, campfire feel after a summer cookout.

Chocolate ganache, hot fudge and chocolate caramel are also delicious ways to top a cheesecake. These toppings are very rich and will definitely elicit oohs and aahs from your guests.


To help prevent cracks when baking, prepare a water bath for your cheesecake. This will keep the batter moist and reduce chances of it drying out or cracking while cooking. Fill a larger roasting pan or deep saute pan with boiling water, making sure it is large enough to easily hold the springform pan. Place the pan with the batter into the pan and place it on a middle oven rack.

When mixing the batter, use low speeds to avoid over-beating. Over-beating will incorporate too much air into the mixture, which will cause it to rise and bubble. A few air bubbles are okay, but too many can cause the cake to crack when it cooks. It’s also important to scrape down the mixing bowl regularly.

Pour the batter into the foil-wrapped springform pan and tap it against the counter a few times to release any trapped air bubbles. If the batter doesn’t completely fill the pan, that is okay; the cheesecake will bake and expand in its water bath.

Bake the cheesecake according to recipe instructions. When ready, remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool for 45 minutes and then transfer it to the fridge to chill. The cake will take up to eight hours to chill completely.