Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Swirl a Cheesecake

The other day I posted pictures of the buffet I set out for Saturday night's poker party.  I received an e-mail asking how I got my cheesecake to look so pretty, and I thought I'd share the answer with all of you.
How I get my cheesecake to come out of the oven uncracked is all in the method of baking, which I've shared before with my Eggnog Latte Cheesecake, and my Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, and I'll detail again below with the recipe for a basic, classic cheesecake.  Getting the pretty swirls on top of the cheesecake is really easy.  My cheesecake recipe makes just under 6 cups of batter.  I pour 3 cups into a large pyrex measuring cup, and add whatever flavoring to the reserved batter.  For this cheesecake, I added 1/2 cup of raspberry preserves and a shot of Baja Luna.  I pour some of the plain cheesecake batter into the prepared pan, and drop in some of the flavored batter on top.

I drop in some more plain batter,

followed by more flavored,

continuing in this fashion until all of the batter is in the pan.

I run a knife through the blobs to marbleize it.

Once it's swirled and pretty, I place it in the oven to bake.

So here's my recipe for a classic cheesecake that you can dress up any number of ways, now that you know how to swirl it up.  Start with all your ingredients at room temperature.  Set the cream cheese and eggs out the night before.
3 - 8oz blocks of cream cheese
1 - 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
cookies or graham crackers for the crust
6 tbsps of melted butter

Prepare your springform pan by buttering it,  lining with parchment paper, and buttering the paper.  Put your cookies in a baggie, and crush them with a rolling pin.  It takes 1 sleeve of graham crackers, or 1 small pkg of cookies to make about 1 1/2 cups of cookie crumbs.  I used a tray of white chocolate chip cookies that I forgot were in the oven and were too crispy for the cookie jar.  Add the melted butter to the baggie, smoosh it around, and press the moistened crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan.

In your stand mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth light and fluffy, if you don't have a scraper beater, scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.  Beat in the sweetened condensed milk until thoroughly combined.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, waiting until the previous one is incorporated before adding the next.  Mix in the vanilla.  For a classic cheesecake pour the batter in the crust.  For a swirled one divide at this point.

This is the baking trick on how to keep your cheesecake from cracking.  It's temperature fluctuations that cause cracking, so the traditional method is to use a bain marie - a water bath.  I don't, because moving around that much hot water without sloshing is a PITA.  Here's how I do it.  I preheat my oven to 425.  The cheesecake goes in the oven for 12 minutes before I decrease the temp to 225 without opening the oven door.  After an hour, I turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in there without opening the oven door.  After another hour in the turned off oven, I remove the cheesecake to the counter to cool completely before placing it in the frig for 6 hrs.  So the easy trick to an uncracked cheesecake is Do Not Open the Oven Door.

Thanks for popping in and baking with me.  I'm linking this up to A Southern Fairytale's Mouthwatering Monday, All the Small Stuff's Tuesdays at the Table, and Bargain Hoot's Eats & Treats Thursday.


  1. Great tutorial...I love all you cook, bake etc! I am so wanting cheese cake now!! Yours looks better than Cheesecake Factory!

  2. Wow I really want cheese cake right now!
    I love cheese cake!!
    This looks easy......maybe even I can do it!!

  3. YUMMMMMM! Thanks for sharing :)
    Have a great day!

  4. Wow! That is so pretty. The pattern almost looks like leaves and vines. You're a great cook!

  5. I love making cheesecakes! Yours looks so pretty!!

  6. Very pretty. Still have to try your 'no crack top' method.

  7. Thank you for linking up at Eats and Treats!!
    BTW I like how you lined the pan with parchment paper... I'll have to try that next time and also the swirls...I do the don't open thing too! Always seems to work!PS. I hope you come back next week :)

  8. Yum! I feel like an underachiever - need to cook/bake more often.


  9. Yum! So pretty! Thanks for sharing both your recipe and technique!

    Stopping by from It's So Very Cheri blog hops!


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