Cheesecakes, Informational Articles

Ask Gemma! Your Cheesecake Baking Questions Answered!

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Hi Bold Bakers!

After years of gathering up so much information, we created some documents that will help you make ice cream, cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, pastry (pie crust), and more!

In this comprehensive Q&A post, I have your Cheesecake Baking questions answered. Ask me anything that’s missing in the comments and I’ll answer!

Q: Do you have to bake a cheesecake in a water bath? And why?

A: No, you don’t have to. Baking in a water bath gives you an even-baked cheesecake on top with no cracks. People also say a creamier texture.

However, I find baking a cheesecake without a water bath gives you beautiful cracks and color on top and you still get a lovely creamy texture. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Q: How do I prevent my cheesecake from cracking in the oven?

A: Cracks usually form when the cheesecake has been baked without a water bath. It contracts as it cools, but the edges stick to the pan which causes cracks.

It’s best to take it out of the oven while it’s still a bit jiggly in the middle. Also, greasing your pan with butter beforehand can prevent cracking.

Q: Should I use a convection oven for baking cheesecake?

A: No, it is not recommended to use a convection oven to bake cheesecake since it circulates dry heat more and may lead to a burnt or cracked result faster. If using convection, lower the oven temperature by 25°F.

Gemma’s Best-Ever New York CheesecakeA New York cheesecake on the glass plate is perfectly baked golden, creamy, dense and sweet. It's topped with a big dollop of Candied Cherries (Glacé Cherries). A small glass bowl of Candied Cherries (Glacé Cherries) is on the side.

Q: What can you use instead of sour cream in cheesecake?

A: You can use yogurt or buttermilk instead of sour cream in a 1:1 ratio.

Q: Can you substitute heavy whipping cream in cheesecake?

A: In baked cheesecakes that don’t require whipping up cream, you may use full-fat coconut milk for the closest result because of its high fat content. Or use evaporated milk for a softer texture. Baked cheesecakes rely on cooking the custard-based filling to set.

However in NO-BAKE cheesecakes which rely on whipping up cold cream and softened cream cheese to incorporate air and retain air to set the structure, no substitute for heavy cream can work the same.

Q: Can you double a cheesecake recipe and cook them in 2 pans at the same time?

A: Yes, you can bake two cakes at the same time BUT only with fan assist so the heat can circulate around them.

If you are using a conventional oven with a fan, bake them on two racks; one on the middle rack, the other on the bottom rack. Do not place them directly on top of each other, instead position each of them off-center, one on the right side, the other on the left, to enhance airflow and distribution of heat. Don’t place the cake tins too close so that it would touch the sides of the oven.

Q: How to unmold a cheesecake without a springform pan?

A: Cut a circle of greaseproof paper/silicon paper to line the bottom of the pan. Under this, you place two wide strips of paper in a cross. These overlap the sides of the pan so that they will become lifters.

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake The decadent light-pink No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake is served on a big platter topped with white whipped cream and red fresh strawberries. Two slices are served individually on two dessert plates with forks.

Q: What kind of pan should I use for making cheesecake?

A: A springform pan is best for making cheesecake. The standard is a 9-inch springform.

If you need to use a square 8x 8-inch pan, you may have to half the recipe.

If using a rectangular 9 x 13-inch pan, you may need more crust to cover the bottom.

Q: Can you use homemade cream cheese to make cheesecake?

A: Yes, you can use homemade cream cheese for any recipe requiring cream cheese! Check out my recipe How to Make Cream Cheese for pro tip.

Q: What’s the best egg substitute for cheesecakes?

A: Cheesecake is custard-based, eggs are the thickener to set the filling, and starches can yield a close result. Here are some egg substitutes that will work perfectly in cheesecake recipes:

2 Tbsp of cornstarch+3 Tbsp water/other liquids from the recipe=1 egg

2 Tbsp of arrowroot powder+3 Tbsp water/other liquids from the recipe=1 egg

Check out my Best Egg Substitute Guide for egg substitutes in all baking!

Q: Can you use sugar substitutes instead of regular white sugar?

A: I don’t recommend it since it will change the results.

But try monkfruit sweetener or allulose because they work closest to sugar.

Blueberry Cheesecake Egg Rolls Recipe

Q: How can you store the cheesecake once it’s baked? Do you have to cover it?

A: You can store it wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. Yes, you do need to cover it since that will prevent it from drying out and absorbing any odors in the fridge.

P.S it also freezes really well wrapped for up to 8 weeks.

Q: Can you use whipped cream cheese or spreadable cream cheese in this recipe?

A: No, you should only use block cream cheese since whipped cream cheese has extra ingredients and air added so the results won’t be the same.

If you live somewhere where you can only find spreadable cream cheese, try making your own with my recipe How to Make Cream Cheese.

You can also make my recipe of How to Make Mascarpone but the cheesecake will set softer.

Q: Can you use your Milk Into Whipped Cream recipe instead of heavy cream?

A: I wouldn’t recommend it. That recipe has a jellyish texture and isn’t creamy enough to use for cheesecake.

Q: What is a vegan substitute for gelatin in cheesecakes?

A: You can use agar-agar in a 1:1 ratio.

Lemon and Blueberry Cheesecake BarsA square of Lemon and Blueberry cheesecake is cut off the whole cake that's behind it. It has gorgeous 3 ayers with crumbly buttery graham cracker crust at the bottom, sweet, tangy and creamy filling in the middle loaded with fruity and floral juicy blueberries, topped with crispy indulgent crumble topping.

Q: Do you need to add gelatin to no-bake cheesecakes?

A: In most cases, yes, a gelling agent is needed for no-bake cheesecakes to set, but vegan substitutes such as agar agar can be used instead.

If you like a slightly softer texture without using gelatin, check out my No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe, No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe or many more flavors!

Q: Why is my cheesecake grainy? What can I do?

A: Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature for easy and smooth mixing. Cream cheese would break down and become smooth to runny when it’s over-whipped. Whip ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese on medium (or low) speed until creamy and there are no lumps. You can feel it gets lighter and fluffier.

Whip up cream cheese and sugar together first with the optional vanilla, to build up a structure first for the later-on cream. When sugar is beaten with cream cheese, it dissolves in the film on the surface of the air bubbles. This sugary syrup film prevents the bubbles from drying out and tightening up too fast. GRADUALLY add cream to whip until really THICK.

Q: Should you let cheesecake come to room temperature before refrigerating/freezing?

A: Yes, you should let the cheesecake come to room temperature so it sets correctly before being refrigerated or frozen.

Q: Can I use mascarpone instead of cream cheese?

A:  Yes, you can! Make your own using my recipe of How to Make Mascarpone Cheese.

The Easiesty No-Bake Lemon CheesecakeAn Easy No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake is on a blue-edge platter. The cheesecake has golden crumbly crust at the bottom and refreshing light-yellow silky filling on top, decorated with three thin lemon slices. A whole lemon and a small glass bowl of whipped cream are in the back.

Easy No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

Q: What can you use instead of graham crackers in cheesecake crust?

A: If you can’t find graham crackers in your country, try making them with my recipe for Homemade Graham Crackers.

My Digestive biscuits recipe will also work well.

Q: Can you make individual cheesecakes?

A: Yes, you can split up a cheesecake recipe into smaller ramekins instead of one big cheesecake.

If it is a cheesecake that needs to bake, bake them for 15-20 mins or until when you gently shake the cheesecake, if it looks nearly set and only a small circle in the center jiggles slightly, it is done. (The center will firm up during the cooling time.)

Q: How can I prevent my cheesecake from burning in the oven?

A: If using a convection oven, lower the oven temperature by 25°F

Also, you can tent the cheesecake with some aluminum foil near the end of the baking time.

Q: When making a chocolate cheesecake, do you need to temper chocolate when you melt it?

A: No, you don’t need to temper chocolate if it’s being used in a cheesecake filling. Tempering chocolate is used when chocolate will harden again such as making chocolate bars and coating truffles. Check out my guide on How to Temper Chocolate when needed.

Check out my recipe of No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake using cocoa powder.

Q: Can you use a bigger or smaller pan to make cheesecake?

A: Yes, but the bigger the pan, the thinner the cheesecake will be and shorter time it will take to bake.

The smaller the pan, the thicker the cheesecake will be hence the longer time it will take to bake.

Q: Can you put cheesecakes in the freezer instead of the fridge to set?

A: Yes, you can put cheesecake in the freezer for an hour so it will set faster but then transfer it to the fridge.

It can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. You can even slice it before freezing and taking out a slice at a time.

Cheesecake Recipes You’ll Love:

More of Your Questions are Answered Here:

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4 months ago

Can I double the mascarpone cheese & ultimate the cream cheese in the tiramisu cheesecake?

7 months ago

I can only get Philadelphia cream cheese here, I make your recipe but add 2 tablespoons cornstarch and it always turns out perfect….I dont know why!😂

9 months ago

My father, a chef patissier (fournisseur de la cour) used only quark cheese, never any cream cheese for his baked cheese cakes. They used to rise twice the size and tasted like no one else’s.

Diane Scaduto
Diane Scaduto
9 months ago

Great Q&A! Just a comment…when I make Chicolate Cheesecake I use chocolate wafer cookies for the crust with just a touch of cinnamon.
Also, I wrap individual slices of cheesecake with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze them. This way if you just want a slice or two you can just grab them. I unwrap first and cover lightly to defrost in the refrigerator. 😊

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.


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