Cracking is a frequent issue for bakers, even for myself as an experienced pastry chef, whether it be a minor crack in the middle or complete separation of the cake – you wonder to yourself, why did my cheesecake crack?
Understanding the causes of cracking and implementing preventative measures can lead to fewer cracked cheesecakes in the future. With these tips, your cheesecakes can have a smooth and flawless finish.
In this article, I’ll share with you the reasons why cheesecakes crack and how to prevent it, as well as tips on how to fix a cracked cheesecake.
Why Did My Cheesecake Crack?
To avoid cheesecake flaws, it’s crucial to understand the root causes. As a pastry chef, I can attest that there are two primary reasons for cracks in cheesecakes.
The first one is overbaking, which leads to dryness and lack of moisture to keep the cake intact. To prevent this, it’s crucial to avoid overbaking the cheesecake.
The second reason is related to cooling. As the cake cools and contracts, if any part is stuck to the side of the pan, it can pull and cause a split or a cracked top.
To prevent this, it’s important to carefully monitor the cooling process and avoid any interruptions that might cause the cake to shrink unevenly.
There are several reasons why cheesecakes crack and we have gone more in-depth below, including over-baking, temperature changes, and air bubbles.
Over-Baking Your Cheesecake
One of the main reasons cheesecakes crack is over-baking. When a cheesecake is baked for too long, the heat causes the proteins in the eggs to denature and the surface of the cheesecake to crack.
Temperature changes during the baking process can also cause cracks in a cheesecake. When a cheesecake is taken from the oven to a cool environment too quickly, the sudden temperature change can cause cracks to form on the surface.
Finally, air bubbles can also cause cracks in a cheesecake. When the cheesecake batter is mixed too much, air bubbles form, which can cause cracks to form on the surface as the cheesecake bakes.
What To Do After Your Cheesecake Cracks?
If your cheesecake has already developed cracks, don’t despair! There are several options to help salvage it.
The best approach will depend on the severity of the cracks and how you plan to serve the cheesecake. Consider trying one of these techniques to give your dessert a second chance.
If you’re dealing with just a few small surface cracks, you have the opportunity to fix them and make them disappear.
To do this, cool the cheesecake completely and heat up a small offset spatula in boiling water. Once the blade is hot, gently run it over the cracks, which will melt the cheesecake and fuse it back together.
The end result should be a smooth surface and no visible cracks.
If your cheesecake has moderate cracks in the center, try adding a topping. A fruit topping or chocolate ganache will both conceal the cracks and add delicious flavor to the dessert.
If the cracks are only around the edge of the cake, consider adding a buttercream or whipped cream border around the entire dessert.
This will hide the cracks and any other sins, you can also add a decorative topping to the cheesecake to hide them.
If your cheesecake has deep cracks, one option is to gently press the sides of the cake together to re-form it into a whole.
Alternatively, you can cut the cheesecake into individual slices and serve them that way. Place each pre-cut piece on a plate and decorate it in a way that makes it look intentional.
If done carefully, no one will know that the cheesecake had severe cracks, they will simply see visually appealing slices that are ready to be enjoyed.
A cracked cheesecake doesn’t have to spell disaster for your dessert. Although the texture may be slightly drier and the appearance not as perfect as desired, the flavor will still be enjoyable.
So, don’t let a cracked top discourage you from serving your cheesecake with pride!
How You Can Prevent Your Cheesecake Cracking
To prevent cheesecake cracks, it is important to follow the recipe and baking instructions carefully and to avoid over-baking and temperature changes.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a crack-free cheesecake:
- Use room temperature ingredients, such as cream cheese, eggs, and sour cream.
- Mix the ingredients together gently, just until combined.
- Bake the cheesecake in a water bath to help regulate the temperature and prevent cracks from forming, as Shirey Corriher mentions in, Bakewise.
- Avoid opening the oven door during the baking process to prevent temperature changes.
- Let the cheesecake cool slowly, either by turning off the oven and letting it sit for 30 minutes or by letting it cool on the counter for an hour before placing it in the refrigerator.
How To Fix A Cracked Cheesecake
If your cheesecake has already cracked, don’t worry! There are ways to fix it and still serve a beautiful, delicious dessert.
Here are some tips to help you fix a cracked cheesecake:
- Cover the cracks with toppings, such as fruit, chocolate, or whipped cream.
- Serve the cheesecake chilled, as the cold temperature can help mask the cracks.
- Cut the cheesecake into individual portions before serving, as this can also help hide the cracks.
How do I stop my cheesecake from cracking?
To prevent cracking, bake the cheesecake at a low temperature and don’t overbake. Use a water bath to create a moist environment. Let the cheesecake cool slowly and evenly.
Is it bad if my cheesecake cracks?
A cracked cheesecake does not mean it’s ruined, but it may have a drier texture and less attractive presentation. The taste should still be good.
Cheesecake cracks can be a frustrating problem, but with these tips and tricks, you can prevent and fix cracks, and enjoy a delicious and beautiful dessert.
Remember, the most important thing is to have fun in the kitchen and enjoy the process of making a delicious cheesecake.
Hopefully, you will no longer think to yourself, why did my cheesecake crack?