The Baking Science: How Do You Know When Cheesecake Is Done?

Ayan Banerjee
Feb 20, 2023 By Ayan Banerjee
Originally Published on Nov 11, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Cheesecake with caramel sauce.

Cheesecake may have one or multiple layers and is a sweet dessert that is popularly served in many restaurants.

The thickest layer consists of egg, sugar, and soft cheese such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, or ricotta. In this article, you will find everything you wish to know about cheesecakes.

If the bottom layer is made from a crust or base made from graham crackers, cookies, or other digestive biscuits, then this is typically called a base or crust.

You can easily find an article showing bake or no-bake cheesecake recipes. A thick and sweet cheesecake is usually topped with sugar.

It can be flavored with different kinds of flavors and spices. The main layer can also be topped with chocolate, vanilla, or fresh fruit like pumpkin. An added layer of flavor or visual appeal may be added to a dessert by adding various ingredients, such as fruit, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, or nuts.

Modern cheesecake is not usually considered a cake. It basically refers to a dish with many eggs. Some believe it is a pie, some believe it is a custard pie with a separate crust and a soft filling. Others refer to it as a flan or a tart.

An ancient dish that originated in Greece before the Roman era has been referred to as a cheesecake. The earliest known mention of this dessert was written by a Greek physician named Aegimus in the fifth century BC.

The English term for this dessert was first used during the 15th century. The recipe was then changed to include beaten eggs and yeast removal. This modernized version eventually became more like a dessert treat after the removal of yeast.

The modern-day's cheesecake slice was initially developed in New York. There are two kinds of contemporary cheesecake.

Some cheesecakes are created with an uncooked creamy texture on a crumbled cookie or graham cracker foundation. This cheesecake was created in the United States.

Cheesecake is a delicacy rich and thick with creamy stuffing, eggs, and sugar spread over a thin crust and topped with sweet or salty toppings. Creamy cheese is used in the filling of North American cheesecakes, particularly the New York variety, which has a crunchy shell composed of graham crackers or cookie crumbs.

Some cheesecake recipes need to be baked, while others just need to be refrigerated. Baked cheesecakes are generally also refrigerated to firm the filling. A baked cheesecake takes a lot of time to set, approximately four hours, and it may taste better if kept overnight in the refrigerator.

Some tips in this article to make cheesecake taste better and smoother are using full-fat ingredients, using room temperature ingredients, using a hand mixer, adding the egg at the end, greasing the pan properly, lining the bottom of the pan with foil, adding extra flavors, using a water bath, using a double pan before putting it in the oven, and properly pre-heating the oven.

If you enjoy this article, why not read about how do you know when mushrooms are bad or how do you know when a pineapple is ripe on Kidadl!

How to know when a cheesecake is done cooking?

The secret to achieving doneness is to gently shake a cheesecake when it is almost set. If it looks set but just has a small circle in the center that is still jiggly, that is nothing to worry about. You can still consider your cheesecake done.

Baking time in the oven plays a vital role in ensuring a completed dessert that is smooth and thick on the inside while also being thoroughly cooked. The cooked or baked cheesecake border should be a bit puffy, and the middle should be almost set, but the middle can have a subtle jiggle, which will set later.

This method of testing is known as the wobble test. It may already be overdone if the center does not move when gently shaken.

A quick-read thermometer is sometimes used to monitor the interior temperature of a cheesecake. Insert it midway into the cake and a cooked cheesecake should register 150 F (65.5 C).

However, this method might damage the top of the cake. Similarly, a toothpick or knife inserted in the center of a cheesecake placed on a springform pan can be tricky to use since either of these methods might cause the cheesecake to break.

The cook doesn't stop after oven baking the cheesecake. To achieve a proper texture and avoid cracks, proper chilling is essential. Refrigerate cheesecakes for at least a few hours before serving, after cooling completely. 

How do you know when cheesecake is done baking?

The key to determining when it is done is to jiggle it. Shake the cheesecake gently. It's done when the cheesecake seems to be nearly set, and just a small circle in the center jiggles slightly.

It is actually difficult to determine when it's done since it contains a lot of milk or cream in addition to soft cheese. Test the temperature, gently shake the pan, and touch the surface of the cheesecake. These are some of the general tips to see whether a cheesecake is ready.

Firstly, place an instant-read cooking thermometer in the center of the cake to check the temperature. Stick the thermometer halfway through the cake rather than to the bottom of the pan.

However putting a thermometer in the cheesecake might cause it to crack, so only test the temperature once instead of several times. The cheesecake is done when the center temperature hits 150 F (65.5 C). Leave the oven door open, remove your dessert from the oven, and place it on a wire rack to cool fully.

When the cheesecake is still jiggly with a proper consistency, it's ready. The entire top of the cheesecake will wobble, and the middle 2 in (5 cm) will appear mushy. If the top of the cheesecake has a golden hue, it has most likely been over-baked.

Sour cream filling is more likely to bounce than cream cheese filling. There will be a huge patch in the center when the cheesecake is baked properly, so watch for slightly brown, puffed-up borders.

Softly touching the batter of the cheesecake with your fingers also indicates its baked texture. A firm surface, puffy nature, and brown edges show that the cake is perfectly baked. Also, when the surface is no longer shiny, it should be removed from the oven.

The top and edges of the cheesecake should not actually be brown, and the surface should lose its shine when the cake is properly baked. Baking it in a water bath is the most effective method. A water bath helps to softly bake the cake and prevent it from darkening, curdling, or cracking

How do you know when a Japanese cheesecake is done?

Japanese cheesecake is a type of cheesecake that is lighter in texture and less sweet than cheesecakes made in the United States. When fresh out of the oven, it has a wobbling, airy texture, and when chilled, it has a chiffon cake-like texture.

An excellent Japanese cheesecake should rise gently and maintain its form once it has risen. The cheesecake should shrink just a little as it cools, and it shouldn't be overly thick or chewy.

Making cheesecake from scratch, like other baking recipes, requires a lot of science and accuracy. The most challenging aspect of this procedure is determining when the cheesecake is cooked.

The best way to check this is by gentle shaking of the Japanese cheesecake. When the cheesecake seems to be in position and the center jiggles slightly, it's ready. The center firms up as it cools on a cooling rack, resulting in the smooth surface you desire.

When checking the doneness of a cheesecake, avoid using a knife as the top may fracture. Sour cream cheesecakes should jiggle a little more and have a bigger soft area in the middle. It's actually a little tricky since the wobble test isn't a certain way to know if your Japanese cheesecake is done.

How do you know when cheesecake is done in the oven?

The tests to know when a cheesecake is done in the oven are by using a cooking thermometer, jiggle test, and pressing the surface with clean fingers to understand the creamy texture.

A surefire way is to use an instant-read cooking thermometer to pierce the cheesecake in the center. A cheesecake thermometer reading 150 F (66 C) shows that it is done baking in the oven.

This is always the most accurate method for determining if a cheesecake is undercooked. Turn off the oven but leave the door open to allow the cheesecake to cool thoroughly.

The second method involves jiggling the cheesecake. Give the cheesecake a little shake to loosen it up.

Jiggling your cheesecake is a simple but efficient technique to see if it's undercooked. If the cheesecake has a huge jiggly region and the mixture is oozing out, it is still undercooked and requires a little more time in the oven.

Turn off the oven, allowing the cheesecake to cool for a few hours to have a lovely textured perfect cheesecake. Using a skewer or knife may cause a crack in the cheesecake's center.

Lastly using your finger, you can detect if a cheesecake is undercooked. Place your finger right at the center of the cheesecake, ensuring you clean your hands before and give a gentle push.

If it feels firm when you touch it, it is done. If your finger dips into the cheesecake and a small amount of batter remains on your finger, your cheesecake is still too soft and undercooked.

Uncooked ones return to the oven for 10 minutes at a time until firm to the touch.

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Written by Ayan Banerjee

Bachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Ayan Banerjee picture

Ayan BanerjeeBachelor of Science specializing in Nautical Science

Thanks to his degree in nautical science from T.S. Chanakya, IMU Navi Mumbai Campus, Ayan excels at producing high-quality content across a range of genres, with a strong foundation in technical writing. Ayan's contributions as an esteemed member of the editorial board of The Indian Cadet magazine and a valued member of the Chanakya Literary Committee showcase his writing skills. In his free time, Ayan stays active through sports such as badminton, table tennis, trekking, and running marathons. His passion for travel and music also inspire his writing, providing valuable insights.

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