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Why Cheesecake Cracks and How to Stop It

Friday, July 29, 2016 - 1:15pm

National Cheesecake Day is July 30th, so this week we’re focusing on all things cheesecake––from all of our cheesecake recipes to tips on how to create the perfect cheesecake masterpiece. Today we’re going to answer one of the most common questions in baking: why does cheesecake crack?

cracked cheesecake

Image via Cheesy

How to Stop Cheesecake from Cracking

While cheesecake cracks doesn’t ruin the taste, the overall presentation is hurt. After spending the time and energy to make a cheesecake from scratch, cracks in your cheesecake can be extremely frustrating! To help, we’ve gathered some tips and tricks to stop cheesecake from cracking!

Preventing Cheesecake Cracks During Preparation

  • Grease the Pan -- Thoroughly butter the sides of your baking pan. You can use cooking spray, butter, margarine, or shortening to do the trick. Cheesecakes shrink as they cool down. Greasing the pan encourages the cake to shrink without sticking to the sides, so make sure you grease the pan evenly.
  • Use Room Temperature Cream Cheese -- Refrigerated cream cheese is difficult to mix in and generally leaves lumps. Try taking out the cream cheese 1-2 hours before you plan on using it.
  • Mix Ingredients Lightly -- Slowly add your ingredients and mix cautiously to stop lumps in your batter. Stop mixing when the batter looks smooth. Over-mixing can cause air bubbles in your batter. In the oven, the heat will make the air rise, causing cracks on the top of your cheesecake.
  • Add the Eggs Last -- Eggs are the main ingredient responsible for numerous air bubbles. Adding the eggs last will reduce that number!
  • Give Your Cheesecake a Water Bath -- This is one of the best techniques to keep cracks out of your cheesecake! A water bath keeps moisture high in the oven, reducing the chance of the cheesecake getting too hot while baking. To create a water bath simply wrap the sides and bottom of the pan of your cheesecake in heavy duty aluminum foil. Place the pan inside a larger baking dish and fill the dish with 1-2 inches of water.

Preventing Cheesecake Cracks During Baking

  • Avoid Sudden Changes in Temperature -- The easiest way to keep the temperature even is to avoid opening the oven during the baking process. Abrupt temperature changes will cause big cracks in your dessert.
  • Don’t Over Bake -- It can be tempting to over bake your cheesecake; because when it’s done, there will be a 2-3 inch wobbly center. This is exactly how you want your cheesecake to look before pulling it out of the oven! Baking your cheesecake at a lower temperature or turning off the oven off a few minutes before you take it are other ways to keep from over baking.

Preventing Cheesecake Cracks During Cooling

  • Leave it in the Oven -- When the cheesecake is done and the oven is turned off, crack the oven door open for about an hour while still keeping the cheesecake inside the oven. This helps the cheesecake cool down slowly without abrupt temperature changes.
  • Set it Out on the Counter -- Take the cheesecake out of the oven and give it time to adjust to the room temperature. This process can take up to an hour. You can place a cake cover over your cheesecake to keep the surface fresh.
  • Refrigerate -- After your cheesecake reaches room temperature (make sure to test with a thermometer!) put it inside the fridge for up to 6 hours. Make sure to keep it covered or the cake will absorb the other flavors in your fridge.

While there’s no guaranteed way to stop a cheesecake from cracking, these tips are sure to help. Even if there are small cracks in your can always cover them with frosting or toppings. Now, you’re ready to bake a cheesecake!