I love cheesecakes and have become a bit obsessed with them. There are so many to flavor a cheesecake, it’s easy to personalize them to how you want. I will also keep this updated with a listing of my different types of cheesecakes, grouped by cooking type and then by flavor and size. The recipe list/links are located below the tips, I will do my best to keep the listing up-to-date with my published cheesecake recipes.
KFO Cheesecake Tips:
Different ways to customize
Crusts, base and topping can each be changed out and personalized, as you see fit. I usually use graham crackers (honey or chocolate) for cheesecake crusts, but will also try out other dry cookies (if using cookies, consider omitting the sugar). The base flavor and sweetness level can be easily modified to tastes, especially when your consistency is able to stay the same. The toppings can be whatever you want them to be, if you want toppings at all (sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the simplicity of a cheesecake, without toppings). Of course, a simple homemade whipped cream is always a nice and simple topping. You can even make 4 of different cheesecakes, cut them in to quarters and re-plate them into a cheesecake medley!
Different ways to cook
I have successfully cooked cheesecakes in two ways: standard home oven and electric multi-cooker (with pressure cooker function, such as Instant Pot). Neither of them I use a water bath for, although the pressurized steam of the Instant Pot works as a water bath (see notes on preventing cracking). I have also heard of cooking them in an air fryer, but have not tried that yet. I feel that the pressure cooker creates a denser, more custard like cheesecake. The oven provides the opportunity to brown your crust a bit.
I still don’t find that a water bath is needed when I cook 10 inch or 4 inch diameter cheesecakes, which is why they are my preferred sizes for spring form pans. (I do find a 9 inch in the oven benefits from a water-bath during cooking). What I find to be more useful, is to ensure the ingredients have had time to sit out at room temperature for at least 15 minutes (longer for cream cheese), use a low temperature (my recipes use 350F), and to not over cook the cheesecake. Keep in mind, that once you remove a cheesecake from the oven, there is a bit of carry over cooking from the heat of the cookware and the heat of the food. That carry-over cooking is why my recipes will recommend that a cheesecake center be “just barely set” (almost second guessing if it’s still slightly loose). One last thing that I feel might help with the texture therefore might help with cracking: don’t over mix your batter after you add the eggs (as with most baked goods).
Saving Time with The Crust
I like to run whatever nuts I am using through my food processor, then toss my sugar and graham crackers in and crush the graham crackers with the food processor until they have the consistency I like. Then I melt my butter, and use the food processor to mix the melted butter and salt in. Basically, all of the crust goes into it. I only take nuts out if I need to save some of them for later. It’s okay to have a tiny bit more or a tiny bit less nuts, they are mostly for texture. I like using the bottom of a wide mouthed flat-bottomed glass to press the crust into the spring form pan. Parchment paper, is a great way to keep your from sticking to your spring form pan, and works better for me than oiling it.