Cheesecake is by far the creamiest dessert ever. I often make cheesecakes that don't require baking, simply because it's quicker, however it just doesn't compare to a baked cheesecake. Baked cheesecakes always taste more creamy and indulgent, so whenever I can, I choose baked.
People shy away from baking cheesecake because it can be a bit tricky. The most common issue people face with baked cheesecake is that it has cracked, or the texture is crumbly rather than smooth. There are a couple ways to combat this. I'm going to share 3 methods that have proven to always work. You pick the one that is most convenient for you.
The best way is to bake the cheesecake is in a water bath. Using a water bath is a fail safe way of ensuring that the cheesecake has baked evenly, and it also prevents it from cracking.
This can often be a bit of a challenge, as when you use a springform tin, even if you cover the bottom with tin foil, water can still find it's way into the cheesecake and you end up with a soggy base. You do get some raised tins, which are helpful in this situation, but they aren't easy to find.
The second method is to bake the cheesecake on a lower heat and allow it to cool in the oven. The main reason for cracks in cheesecake is simply because of the temperature change. Cheesecake is not like a flour based cake, it's much less stable, so when you take it from a very hot temperature to a cold temperature it will crack. The trick it so allow temperature to decrease gradually. To do this, simply turn the oven off after baking and leave the door slightly ajar. Allow the cheesecake to cool as the oven cools. Once it's come to room temperature you can remove it and pop it in the fridge.
There is one last fail safe when it comes to cheesecake cracking, and that is to loosen the cake from the tin. This is what I do, coz it's quicker. Basically once it's done baking, remove it from the oven and run a knife along the rim of the tin. This will loosen the cake from the tin. Do not open the tin. Just leave it to cool on the counter. Often if you don't do this, the cheesecake sticks to the tin and as it cools it starts to shrink and crack.
So now that you have 3 options on how to ensure you have the perfect cheesecake, pick one and give it a go. It's really not as complicated as it sounds, and the reward is of course, amazing.
Baked Lemon Cheesecake (Adapted from Taste)
Serves 8 -10
250g plain biscuits
100g butter, melted
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 tsp lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
1/4 - 1/3 cup lemon juice, depending on how sour you like it (about 3 lemons)
Whipped cream to serve
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line the bottom of a round springform pan and grease the sides. Any pan between 20cm - 25cm will do. Smaller pan will give thicker slices.
Using a processor, or by hand, crush your biscuits until it's a fine sand texture. Add your melted butter and mix until combined. Press mixture into pan and refrigerate until needed.
In a large bowl beat cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating between additions. Add lemon juice and beat once more until combined. Remove tin from fridge and pour the cheesecake mixture over the base.
Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes until filling is just set. there should still be a slight wobble in the middle. Cool in oven with door slightly ajar. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until cold. Serve with whipped cream. I decorated mine with some lemon zest too!