First Time Making A Cheesecake....please Help!

Baking By Callyssa Updated 19 Dec 2008 , 4:56pm by sweet_teeth

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Callyssa Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 2:39pm
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I posted something similar in another forum and got some great help, but I have more questions! It seems 'Chantal's' recipe from allrecipes is a great one to try, but reading all 900 reviews has got me so confused!

First, I have a springform pan that I've never used and don't know how. Could someone explain that to me?

I read lots about using a water exactly is that done? Does it make much difference if the pan is submerged in water, or if I just use a shallow pan of water on the rack below as it's baking?

Next, a hard chocolate top was requested so I bought Ghiradelli semi-sweet baking chips; what do I do with them? Do I melt and spread and let it run down the sides, or won't it do that? Or, do I leave the cheesecake in the pan, and only spread it while in there?

I'm also terribly confused how to present this; do I transfer it to a cake circle (it's for a friend so I can't just leave it as is)? How do you do that without breaking it?

This is supposed to be a New York style cheesecake so I know it needs to be thick, but that's about all I know. I'm not a fan at all of cheesecake. Is there anything else I need to know?

Thanks in advance for any help or tips. I need this by tomorrow, but we're expecting a HUGE snowstorm tonight so I'm hoping to get it finished and drop it off before it all starts.

11 replies
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Callyssa Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 3:30pm
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Bonnell Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 3:47pm
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I haven't done a lot of cheesecakes but I'll try to help. First off, the water bath is to keep the cheesecake from drying out and cracking on top as it bakes. I've never used one (and my cheesecake cracked) so I can't tell you too much about that.

For the chocolate topping try a chocolate ganache (there are tons of recipes for that) and pour it on while the cheesecake is in the pan then let it set up. It won't get rock hard but it will get semi-firm.

The purpose of the springform pan is so that you can remove the cheesecake from the pan and place it on a serving platter. You just release the spring clip on the side of the pan and then remove the pan from around the cheesecake.


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grama_j Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 3:58pm
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Cally......... I made a "SEMI-homemade" cheesecake for a Fair entry last year, and wound up winning a Blue ribbon with it........ I just made one last week , and tied a pretty red ribbon around it , and it was all set for a Christmas party..... a picture of it is in my photos, and the recipe is here.....

It is SOOOO easy, but it looks hard, and everyone oohhs and ahhhas over it...... E-mail me if you have any questions......
[email protected]

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lanibird Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 4:05pm
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You picked a good recipe to go with, I love Chantal's recipe.

The springform pan is pretty straight forward; the disk goes on the bottom, and you close the latch to tighten the ring around the disk to make the pan.

A water bath is very different than just placing a pan of water in the oven with the baking cheesecake. A cheesecake batter is basically a custard, and baking it in the water bath help regulate the heat going into the cheesecake itself, and to insulate it. Both help the cheesecake keep from overbaking and cracking. I usually use a 9X13 pan, and after placing the cheesecake filled springform pan in the 9x13, put it in the oven, then fill with enough hot water to come about half-way up the side of the springform pan. Also, wrap the springform pan with 3 large sheets of aluminum foil so that it covers the bottom and sides of the pan. This keeps the water from leaking in and making the crust soggy.

To move the cake from the disk onto a plate or cake circle: after your cheesecake has cooled completely, wrap it in plastic wrap, and stick it in the freezer for an hour or two, flip it over, and use a small offset spatula or something similar to gently work the disk off the bottom. It helps to put a parchment paper circle in bottom of the pan before you put in your crust and batter. Does that make sense? (Sorry, it's early, still on my first cup of coffee dunce.gif) Peel off the parchment circle, center whatever you want to serve the cheesecake on over the bottom, flip back over, finish peeling off the plastic wrap and, voila! icon_biggrin.gif

The chocolate is really up to you. I too would go with a ganache, but if they want a hard chocolate top, then melt your chips with a little shortening, about a tsp I think, and pour over the top and smooth. I think it would look find with the drips down the side.

HTH thumbs_up.gif

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jojo0676 Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 4:05pm
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You don't really need to worry about the water bath if you're going to top it with ganache. If it does crack, you won't see it anyway.

The recipe I use is also from It is called Cheesecake Supreme and is by far the best one I've ever made. The only change I made based on the reviews was to cook the crust for 8 min. first and cool before filling, and I think I cooked at 200 for 3 hours like reviews said, this prevents cracking.


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sweet_teeth Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 4:06pm
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Here are a few tips:

The waterbath trick is similiar to our trick to help cakes rise correctly by lowering the temperature, or using bake even strips, or even a rose nail. The waterbath can only get up to 212 degrees, thus preventing the sides from getting burnt or overcooking while the center is still jello. In order to make sure nothing leaks, I wrap the pan with tinfoil.. or you can put it in one of those flexible baking pans.. the plasticy ones. I forget what they are called.

The reason many suggest a topping on top of the cheesecake is to cover any cracks that might happen. I personally do not think its a big deal to have a crack, but cheesecake guru's will say otherwise.

The crack usually happens when the cheesecake goes from a hot oven to a much colder temperature very quickly. A way to avoid this is right when it is done, turn the oven off, crack open the oven door a bit, and let it sit in there until cool.. at least an hour or so. Once that happens, you can either let it sit out a bit more and then transfer it to the fridge, or transfer it to the fridge right away.

You know the cheesecake is done when the center is still a bit wobbly.. as the heat will carry over and finish cooking it. After it settles in the refrigerator, it will be firm.. and delicious!

Hope this helps a bit icon_smile.gif

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mmgiles Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 4:16pm
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This is what I always use and its a never fail. It is a little time consuming in the oven, but well worth it, and I never have problems with cracking.

With this recipe it cooks so slowly and a lower temperature you do not need the water bath and it will not crack.

As for the chocolate if they want it hard, I would use almond bark. You can find it in the grocery store on the aisle with the chocolate chips. Just melt it and pour it on.

As for the spring form pan, I would bake in the springform pan. Then unlatch it, remove the ring, and slide the cheesecake off of the metal plate onto a serving plate, or a cardboard round. You can add the chocolate, enough to spread over the top, I use an angled spatchula to spread it just a little, and push slightly over the edges so that it drizzles down the sides.

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OhMyGanache Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 4:48pm
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I don't bother with springform pans. I use regular round cake pans instead - much easier when using a water bath (bain marie) as you don't have to worry about leaks. To remove the cheesecake, after you have cooled it and frozen it, hold it over an open flame for a minute to melt the butter in the crust, and it will pop right out.

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famousamous Posted 18 Dec 2008 , 10:00pm
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I use a waterbath all the time. It gives cheesecake a creamy texture in addition to helping prevent cracks. Dont overmix the batter and you will be fine. I always mix the eggs by hand just to make sure.

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Callyssa Posted 19 Dec 2008 , 3:03pm
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Okay, well it's made.....unfortunately, I think it overcooked a little? Some nosy body here must have had to look at it and left the oven light on, and six hours later the oven was STILL warm! I'm sure it had to be from the lightbulb. It seems dry around the top outer edge, and very firm throughout, but as I said before, I really wouldn't know what it's supposed to be like so for NY style, maybe this is right. I won't know until tomorrow when they eat it!

Thanks for all the help and I'll let you all know how it turned out!

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sweet_teeth Posted 19 Dec 2008 , 4:56pm
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I am sure it will be great! It's supposed to harden up after it sits awhile, which is why you stop cooking it when it's still wobbly in the center.

Yuum. I love cheesecake. I'm sure the guests will devour it icon_smile.gif

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