It would be torture if we had to head to the restaurant each time we wanted the soft, gooey goodness of a classic cheesecake. Lucky for us, baking the perfect cheesecake at home isn't the hardest job in the world. However, let us warn you that it isn't the easiest either. It comes with its set of requirements, the most important being the baking temperature itself. So, at what temperature should you bake cheesecake? We've found the answer for you!
You have two choices:
- Set the temperature high at 450°F but lower it down to 350°F as soon as the edges turn golden brown. This should take about 10 minutes. After that, let it bake for at least 50-60 minutes.
- The alternative method is to set the temperature between 325-350°F once and for all. However, here you will have to make up for the heat by preparing a water bath for the pan.
But what about the baking time or whether the crust needs baking or not? Most importantly, what to do if the temperature messes up with the cake? We answer all these critical questions and more in our in-depth guide to the perfect baking experience for your cheesecake. Keep reading!
How Long Does a Cheesecake Take To Set in the Oven?
A cheesecake takes anywhere from 60 to 70 minutes to set in the oven and achieve the ideal internal temperature. This time parameter works for all classic cheesecake recipes. It only fluctuates when you opt to go with a thicker cake with more ingredients.
How Do You Know When a Baked Cheesecake Is Ready?
The secret to a perfect, intact slice of cheesecake not only lies in the baking temperature but also in the baking time. Knowing when to pull out your cheesecake is important. And, there are several methods to go about it.
For utmost accuracy in the results, you need to calculate the timing precisely. Use an instant-read thermometer and begin checking the temperature every two minutes. Start from 10 minutes before the suggested baking time.
If you are baking in the best temperature range, then an internal temperature of 145°F at the center of the cake is when you should make the pull.
With a digital thermometer at hand, you only have to insert the stainless steel probe inside. A widescreen LCD will then let you know the exact temperature. It is a handy tool, not only during baking but for cooking foods of all kinds.
The cheesecake wobble test is by far the most practical method to determine if it is ready. You can either perform it by shaking the pan wearing oven mitts or using a heavy spoon to tap the sides of the pan. Either way, the cheese filling will jiggle upon impact, and your answer lies in the extent of this movement.
When you shake the pan, you should notice the edges are firm while the center is seemingly raw and moving. Don’t worry about its consistency, as it will firm when the cake is set on the counter to cool.
The toothpick test is not a culinary favorite as it damages the structure slightly, but it does the job fine enough. Get yourself a clean toothpick to stick inside the cake.
You don’t have to poke it all the way through unless it is a short one. Stick it out after a second and observe its surface.
- Do you see a good amount of runny batter all over it? That is an indication of the cake being undercooked.
- Is the toothpick only somewhat wet with batter? This indicates that your cake needs only a few more minutes. Any raw batter left after that will solidify itself at room temperature.
- Did the toothpick come out clean and dry? If yes, this is the perfect time to pull your cheesecake out of the oven.
Changes in Appearance
- An undercooked cheesecake is shiny and lacks the stable appeal that a cooked cheesecake gives out.
- The center of the cheesecake takes longer to cook than the edges. Thus, if you see that they are firm and golden-brown, it’s time to pull it out.
- If your center begins to harden and gain color, the cake is starting to overcook.
How Do You Know When a No-Bake Cheesecake Is Set?
If you’ve given the no-bake cheesecake a minimum of four hours of refrigeration, you can check it with a toothpick or the wobble test. Remember that this kind of cheesecake is more firm than the baked one, so what you are looking for is a slightly jiggly structure only.
The best way to determine its doneness is by a light pressure test. Clean your index finger and gently place it on the surface of the filling. You should find it smooth but hard to the touch.
How to Fix an Undercooked Cheesecake
The first step to fixing a seemingly undercooked cheesecake is to let it rest. It could be that you are mistaking the runny center as raw. Understand that it is normal for the middle section to solidify after coming out of the oven at room temperature.
If it continues showing signs that it is not ready, you will have to gear up for action.
A water bath is the baker’s go-to secret technique for the rich, creamy cheesecake texture. It is prepared by taking a large tray and filling it with hot water, usually about an inch. Then, the pie pan is placed inside the tray before putting in the oven.
- Leave the cheesecake in the refrigerator for hours. If it remains runny still, let it rest at room temperature. Prepare your water bath during this time.
- Preheat the oven at a moderate temperature. Remember that the cheesecake is half-cooked already, and you wouldn’t want to overcook it.
- Place the pan in the water bath and then in the oven. Let it cook until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.
If you’d like to take the risk, you can choose to place the cheesecake back in the oven. Set the temperature low, about 300, and set the pan inside. Let it bake for 10-15 minutes or as long as the internal temperature reaches the required range.
Before you opt for either of the processes, remember that it is not advisable to recook your cheesecake. It may ruin the consistency and flavor of the ingredients, which can otherwise be enjoyed as a flavorful cheesecake dessert.
Do I Need to Prebake Graham Cracker Crust?
The crispy graham cracker crust, made with melted butter and a tinge of sweetener, is part of why the cheesecake is a classic. During preparation, prebaking the graham cracker crust is not necessary, but it does have its advantages.
Let us evaluate how well baking the crust weighs against merely refrigerating it and the right way to do it.
The Science Behind Baking
When you choose to refrigerate your crust, the only substance that binds it together is the butter. It leaves the sugar playing no role in the structure.
Baking is necessary for the sugar and the butter to work together and impose double the binding power. The heat from the oven allows the sugar to melt in the structure. Once you take out the crust, the temperature change then helps it solidify into the crust.
You can perform the bake at 375 for about 7 to 10 minutes. Be sure to set the crust evenly in the pan. After baking, allow it to reach room temperature before pouring the filling. Otherwise, the heat would cause the crust to melt.
Chilling the Crust
Regardless, if you aren’t baking the crust, you must at least refrigerate it. Refrigerating will allow the melted butter to harden and hold the cracker crumbs in place. To do so, set up your crust in a pie pan. Make sure you even it out at this stage. Because once refrigerated, you cannot alter its position.
Let it be in the refrigerator for an hour or two. For quicker results, you can choose to freeze it for 10 to 15 minutes.
Here's a YouTube video to show how it holds when you let the crust sit in the fridge for 20 minutes:
Sponge Cake Base
In most cases, people like to skip the crispy cracker crust and settle for a softer sponge cake. It is an unconventional choice, but one that makes for a nice and dense base.
In such a case, you must prepare the sponge cake separately from the cheesecake. Be sure to bake the sponge cake in a cake pan that is the same size as the pie pan for easy fitting.
Is Cheesecake Crust Supposed To Be Soggy?
Cheesecake crust is supposed to be crisp and dense with flavor and nowhere near a soggy, wet mess. If your crust turned out that way, either your springform pan allowed water leakage or the aluminum covering gave up midway.
Now, your best deal is to mix everything up and eat it as a cheesecake dessert. If you want to save yourself from future trouble, always choose to bake the crust at the ideal temperature without any exposure to water at all.
With a little bit of research, baking deserts that look complicated can seem possible! There is always a learning curve. So, don't get frightened if it still doesn't turn out the way you'd like it to. With all the information above, you could do wonders in the kitchen baking this cheesy delight.
Before you go, do you have other cheesecake concerns? After you've made one, you might want to know how to store it. Check out our post here for more information.
Do you need alternatives for a springform pan? We can throw some ideas your way. Check out our post here to find out more. Happy baking!