It is tricky to know when to take the cheesecake out of the oven, so today we will discuss how to tell if a cheesecake is done. Baked cheesecake is definitely one of my absolute favorite treats but it can be easy to either under or overcook it -and burn it!
How Can I Tell if Your Cheesecake is Done?
The most common mistake is to bake cheesecake as you would any other cake. The techniques you know for not taking an underbaked sponge out of the oven do not apply. Stabbing a cheesecake in the middle with a skewer or a knife is not a great indicator. This is because it will always come out wet! That is unless it is already overbaked.
If you have tried an overbaked cheesecake you know just how much of a disappointment that can be… All its creaminess is gone! Such a waste!
To actually tell if a cheesecake is perfectly baked, we need to shake it. Yes, you read that right. Shake it in the pan to see how much jiggle it has. You are looking for a small jiggle in its center. It needs to look nearly set, except for a small circle in the middle that still moves around a bit. Maybe you think that this jiggle means it is underbaked but I will let you in on a secret. Even when you take things out of the oven, they continue to cook until all of the preparation cools down.
This means that after taking it out of the oven, the cheesecake will continue to cook in its center for a while. If you pull it out when it still displays a slight jiggle, it will be perfect once it is completely cooled.
Of course, different types of cheesecakes differ, not only regarding the finished product but also in their in-oven jiggle. Specifically, sour cream cheesecakes will jiggle a little more. This is because we are looking for a slightly gooier center once cooled.
It may seem counter-intuitive to touch something that has been in the oven for some time. It is, though, a great way of knowing if your cheesecake is done!
With clean hands, lightly press the center of the cake’s surface. You want to feel that it is firm but still has to give. Of course, if your fingers sink into it with little resistance or come out with batter on them, it needs more time. Be patient!
Check the Center Temperature
This is the most accurate method of knowing if cheesecake -and, actually, anything you cook in the oven- is done, but also the most specific. Once the center reaches the correct temperature, then its time to take it out!
The only way of doing this is with the aid of an instant-read cooking thermometer. It needs to be “instant” because a few minutes could be the difference between correctly cooking and burning something. For cheesecakes, the temperature you are aiming to achieve in its center is 150ºF or 66ºC.
What do you think? Did this advice make baking cheesecake easier? Try them on this NYC cheesecake recipe and tell us below!