- Food and Cooking
How To Make Cheesecake
Cheesecakes are easy
Have you ever wondered how to make a cheesecake? Now, I don’t mean the from-the-box or no-bake cheesecakes. I mean how to make a real, mouthwatering, gourmet cheesecake. We’re talking about the kind that looks like it came straight from the Cheesecake Factory.
Or maybe you thought it wasn’t possible to make a gourmet cheesecake. Maybe you’ve never baked before or always heard how hard cheesecakes are to make.
Maybe you’re actually looking for a no-bake cheesecake recipe! Stop! Don’t go anywhere! You’ll learn that it’s easy to bake a cheesecake yourself!
How to make cheesecake
Homemade cheesecakes are fun, easy to make, and taste delicious. As Emeril Lagasse says, “It’s not rocket science!” So let’s get started!
To ease your fears, we’ll start with the fundamentals. Cheesecakes usually have 3 basic parts: the crust, filling, and topping.
Imagine your favorite cookies and nuts ground up and smooshed together and you’ve got the crust for a cheesecake. Practically anything goes. The crust is most often formed in a springform pan. Springform pans come in all shapes and sizes. An 8-inch or 9-inch are the standards. They also have heart shaped pans, square pans, rectangular pans, and oval springform pans.
The filling is the main portion of the cheesecake. Most cheesecakes are usually made with cream cheese, but some recipes call for other types of cheese such as ricotta cheese.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese has always been the best cream cheese to use. However, in a pinch, I picked up the Trader Joes’ Cream Cheese and it was excellent. I now use both brands, purchasing whichever is cheapest!
You can be really creative with the filling, adding fruit or chocolate. The filling takes approximately one hour to bake.
A cheesecake’s topping can range from a sweetened sour cream layer to fresh fruit to chopped-up candy bar pieces and whipped cream. Depending on the topping, it’s added to the cheesecake during the last few minutes of baking or after the cheesecake is completely cooled.
If you’re ready, jump in and make the best classic cheesecake recipe. However, if you’re completely new to cheesecake baking, be sure to read on. You’ll learn the tricks to making mouth-watering cheesecakes that rival the Cheesecake Factory.
Classic Cheesecake with Cherries on Top
We’ll start from the bottom and work our way up.
The crust is a bunch of ground up cookies with melted butter holding it together. That’s it. So if you’re feeling adventurous, skip the traditional graham cracker crust found in the best classic cheesecake recipe. Substitute your favorite package of cookies for the Graham Crackers. Plan to use most of the package. You’ll have just enough left over for a snack for the chef.
Dump the cookies in your food processor to crush up. If you don’t have a food processor, put a handful of cookies in a zip-lock bag and start crushing. A rolling pin works well, but so does a heavy book. Get creative. You’re just crushing cookies!
You can also grind a handful of your favorite nuts and add them to your cookie crumbs. If you want to go an extra step, toast them first. To toast nuts, place a layer on a metal baking sheet for a few minutes in an oven set at 350 degrees. Just watch them so they don’t burn!
If you love a certain candy bar, chop it up in small pieces and add it to the filling right before you pour it into the springform pan. Follow the best classic cheesecake recipe and leave out the lemon juice and rind. Chopped up Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfinger, Ghirardelli chocolate, and even Snickers will work really well.
Remember to always use your senses! Taste your crust. If it’s not sweet enough, add a little more sugar. You can taste the filling too, just remember that raw eggs can cause salmonella, so try the filling right before you add the eggs.
Use your eyes! If your crust isn’t sticking very well, it’s too dry and needs more butter. If it’s soaking wet, you need more cookie crumbs. Add what you need a little at a time.
When you’re putting the crust in the pan and up the sides, don’t feel like you have to use all your crust. The same holds true for the filling. Some recipes just make more than your pan can handle. The cheesecake filling should go ¾ up the side of the springform pan.
If you have leftover crust or filling, don’t throw it away! Pull out any small baking dish. Press the crust in the dish and bake it. Then add the filling and bake. Depending on how much you have leftover, it may only take 20 minutes to bake (at the same temperature).
Your leftover cheesecake won’t win any awards, but you’ve got your gourmet Cheesecake Factory cheesecake look-alike ready for your guests. Consider your leftover cheesecake a bonus for you, the chef – a job well done
Place your perfectly homemade cheesecake on a cake plate and watch as your guests delight over your classic cheesecake. Beware: you'll be asked to make your cheesecake again!