If “cover it with strawberries” isn’t enough of a solution for you, here’s some advice.
I asked Chef Diana Moles, our director of research and development, for help. Chef Moles has been baking cheesecakes at Eli’s for over 25 years (she had to have been a toddler when she first started working here) so she knows a thing or two about cracking.
Here are her top 3 tips:
- Start with room temperature ingredients.
Cracking is usually caused by sudden changes in temperature. Pull your cream cheese, sour cream butter and eggs from the refrigerator about 20 minutes before you begin mixing. This also helps to prevent lumps (see #2).
- Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl when mixing after each ingredient addition.
Lumps can cause air bubbles, which can also cause cracking. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the insides of the mixing bowl after the addition of each ingredient to make sure the ingredients that have splashed up onto the sides of the bowl are incorporated well. A smoother batter makes a smoother cheesecake.
- Cool it slowly.
Dad might ask why you’re trying to heat the whole neighborhood, but this tip really does help. About 5-7 minutes before the cheesecake baking time is up, turn off the oven, open the oven door and leave it ajar to allow the cheesecake to slowly cool before shocking it with room temperature. I know I don’t have to mention the dangers of leaving a hot oven door ajar and that you should keep an eye on children (and, well, everyone else) but I will anyways. Be careful and never leave an open oven unattended!
While these tips will help to reduce your amount of crackage, there is always a chance that your cheesecake could end up with a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon running down the center.
So remember: there’s always the strawberries.