Making a Perfect Cheesecake


People like different types of cheesecake, but what I expect in a perfect cheesecake is a smooth crustless top, with dense yet silky texture, and dainty light flavour that won’t overpower the palate.

And once you’ve found a suitable basic cheesecake recipe, it’s up to you to experiment with that empty canvas of yours! Top it with strawberries, marble it with chocolate, stud it with Oreo cookies, drizzle it with Nutella..

Vanilla Cheesecake with Pink Meringues and Cream Cheese Frosting
Nutella Cheesecake with Toasted Hazelnuts

So it’s time to present the highly-requested recipe:

This recipe makes a 9-inch cake!

BASIC CHEESECAKE RECIPE

(adapted from Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake)

INGREDIENTS:

FOR CRUST

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or chocolate/Oreo crumbs)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

FOR FILLING

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs, room temperature

1 cup heavy cream (or thickened cream), room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Prepare boiled water for water bath. Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan with baking sheet/parchment paper, and wrap the pan with criss-crossing aluminium foil.

2. Combine all crust ingredients and pour into cheesecake pan. Press the crumbs firmly so that they cover the entire bottom of the pan. Put the pan into the refrigerator.

3. Using a mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar at medium speed till smooth and no cream cheese lumps!

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing into the mixture with a spatula, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. (It’s important not to over-mix the batter, so use spatula from this step onwards)

5. Add vanilla extract and heavy cream, mix until smooth. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

6. Pour cheesecake batter over the prepared crust. Fit the pan into a larger pan and pour in the boiling water up to halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. (The water-bath maintains a low-enough baking temperature, and enough moisture to prevent the cake from browning and drying up)

7. Carefully transfer the pans into the oven. Bake for at least 45 minutes. The cheesecake should be set around the edges but fairly wobbly in the middle. If not, continue baking for another 5 minutes and check again.

8. When cheesecake is done, turn off the oven but leave the cake in there for an hour to set up. (It also helps gradual and even contraction of the cake, so that the outer area will not pull away from the sides of the pan too quickly and form cracks – this is when knowledge of Geography comes in handy: exfoliation of rocks!)

9. Remove pan from water-bath and discard foil. Place pan on wire rack to cool to room temperature.

10. Once cooled, place in refrigerator until very cold (at least 6 hours).

ADAPTATIONS

To make Nutella Cheesecake: Prepare 1/2 cup Nutella warmed over a double boiler to drizzle-able consistency. First pour half the cheesecake batter onto the prepared crust, then drizzle over the Nutella, followed by the rest of the cheesecake batter. Then bake!

To make a more tangy Cheesecake: Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice together with heavy cream and vanilla.

And if you are planning to add in extra volume to the cheesecake batter, such as Oreo cookies, adjust the baking time because the cake would be much thicker!

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