So you want to make a cheesecake. That wonderful luxurious creamy and tangy dessert. You want it to look good as well. After all, you want to impress your guests. But then the unthinkable happens and the number one question is “Why does my cheesecake crack?” Let’s find out, shall we?
Why Does My Cheesecake Crack
There are many reasons why your cheesecake cracks and the 4 main reasons are: You are overbeating the batter and introducing too much air, You are overbaking the cheesecake, baking it at the wrong temperature or you are not baking the cheesecake in a water bath. All these issues will cause cracking in your cheesecake.
Overbeating/Too Much Air
Cheesecake is actually not a cake. It is a custard. Unlike cakes that have leavening agents such as flour and baking powder to help with the rise, you don’t want your cheesecake to rise. Rising is good with cakes. Bad for cheesecakes. The more you beat the batter of your cheesecake, the more air you are producing in the batter, causing air bubbles to form that will burst once baked, causing your cheesecake to fall and crack.
To avoid overbeating, it is important that your ingredients are at room temperature. You want your batter nice and smooth, with no lumps. If your cream cheese is cold, the harder it is to get those lumps out. Thus overbeating. It is best to get the lumps out at a low speed before adding the rest of your ingredients.
The same is true with eggs. They will incorporate into your batter more easily at room temperature. Add your eggs one at a time, mixing just until they are incorporated.
If you are using a stand mixture, use the paddle attachment and start at a low speed. You may gradually increase to a medium speed, but never use a high speed. Please don’t be tempted to use a blender or food processor. They will overbeat your batter.
If you are like me and forget to get your ingredients out ahead of time. No worries. Just place your eggs in a cup of warm water for 10 minutes, and you can microwave the cream cheese at medium heat for 10-15 seconds to bring it to room temperature. Don’t use high heat.
Don’t make the same mistake I did when I made my first cheesecake. It still wobbled/jiggled after being in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, and I thought, “Well, it isn’t done”. I left it in the oven longer and ended up overbaking it. You want that little wobble/jiggle.
Remember, Cheesecake is actually a custard. Once it is cooled and refrigerated, it will continue to set up.
An overbaked cheesecake will have unpleasing cracks and a dry, crumbly texture.
If you don’t mind tiny holes in your cheesecake, you can always use an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature of a cheesecake should be 150-155 degrees. Insert the thermometer into the center of your cheesecake. Not wanting those holes? Check out the video below.
Baked At The Wrong Temperature
Low and slow is the best way to go when baking a cheesecake. Too high of a temperature, and you are going to get those ugly cracks. When in doubt, just go with the lower temperature and bake longer. The ideal temperature to bake a cheesecake is 325 degrees. You may have to adjust the baking time according to the size pan you use. This will help prevent overbaking and burning the top. And, of course, those unsightly cracks as well.
Not Using A Water Bath
A water bath? Sounds like a lot of trouble, but believe me, it is worth the extra step. The first cheesecake I made, I didn’t use a water bath. The tip I followed was to put a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of my oven and the cheesecake above this pan on the center rack. Didn’t work for me. I still got a few cracks.
For the next one, I took the extra step of using a water bath and….. No cracks!!!!.
The water bath insulates the cheesecake against hot temperatures and creates a humid, steamy environment, thus keeping the cheesecake from drying out, and bakes the cheesecake slowly and evenly, preventing cracks.
Just make sure to double-wrap your springform pan with heavy-duty foil clear to the top of your pan. You don’t want a soggy bottom, after all.
Add your cheesecake pan to a deep baking pan that is at least an inch leeway on all sides. You want a snug fit but not too tight that it will make it difficult to remove it. Pour boiling water at least halfway up the side of your springform pan. It is best to do this while it is in the oven. No trying to put a heavy pan with boiling water into the oven. You don’t want to get burned. A kettle works great for this. Makes pouring the boiling water into the pan so much easier.
So when you make that cheesecake, follow these 4 steps to avoid those ugly cracks. Have your ingredients at room temperature to avoid overbeating your batter. Overbeating introduces air into the batter, which is a no-no in cheesecake. Don’t overbake. You want a wobble. Your cheesecake is custard and will continue to set up as it cools. Cheesecake needs to be baked low and slow. too high of a temperature will cause those unsightly cracks. And use a water bath. Even tho it can be a pain, it is so worth the extra step.
I hope you found this article helpful in your adventure of baking cheesecake with no cracks! Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts.
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I’m Taianne, the owner and operator behind We Are Baking. Baking my first cake at age 11 hooked me on creating sweet treats. Though my interest faded during childhood, it was rekindled when I married my apple pie-loving husband. I love trying new recipes, tweaking classics, and helping others learn the science and art of baking. I started We Are Baking to share tips, tricks, and favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years. When not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My goal is to inspire others to embrace their creativity through baking. Feel free to contact me with any questions!