It can generally go without saying that cheesecake is one of the most beloved desserts out there. This rich, decadent dessert is something that most people can only have a few slices of because of just how rich it really is.
Most people often purchase themselves a slice or two of cheesecake from their local bakery or store, and there is good reason for this: cooking a cheesecake to perfection isn’t easy.
As with many aspects of baking, if the situation is not exact, then there’s a good chance that something will go wrong. Whether you are new to baking or new to baking cheesecakes, you should expect that you may mess up the first few times you try to make this cake.
However, you should also have a good grasp on the situation and how to remedy it. Knowing how to get out of a bad baking situation will help you know the signs that the recipe is problematic, allowing you to fix it as soon as you notice it.
Cheesecakes are a delicate recipe to balance. On one hand, you want the creamy and smooth texture that the cheesecake offers. On the other hand, you are going to want to make sure that it is thick in consistency to create the perfect “cake” body and shape.
When working with cheese, this isn’t always easy. One of the most common problems you will come across is when your cheesecake isn’t thickening up like you need it to.
When you first notice that your cheesecake isn’t doing what it should, it is important to understand a few different aspects about that situation. First, you are going to have to know when your cheesecake isn’t the right consistency.
From there, you should begin thinking of ways that you can thicken it up without altering the recipe too much. You should also consider potential ways that you can salvage a runny cheesecake in the off chance that you cannot save the recipe.
By knowing what to do in this kind of situation, you can rest assured knowing that you will have a handle on just about anything that goes wrong with your cheesecake during the baking process.
No matter what happens to the cake, you will have the right idea on how to move on and turn it into a cake, regardless of its current state.
What Causes a Runny Cheesecake?
The first step in fixing any problem is knowing what causes the problem in the first place. After all, when you know what the problem is, and you know why the problem is happening, you will also know what you need to change to bring things back to the way they should be.
There are a few different reasons why your cheesecake may be too runny or not thick enough for your liking. For many people, the issue is that the cheesecake was not properly refrigerated before serving.
It is a crucial step in the cheesecake making process to refrigerate the cake for at least eight hours, if not overnight, before you even begin to cut into it. If you do not do this step, there’s a good chance that you will have a runny cake that nobody really wants to try.
The problem can also be in the ingredients (especially if you’re using substitutes). Depending on how you are making your cheesecake, the ingredients simply may not line up to create a firm, thick cheesecake.
If you notice that your cheesecake is still runny, even after appropriate refrigeration time, you will need to think about what you should add to the cheesecake based on the type of cake you are making.
A non-baked cheesecake will require some gelatin to help keep it firm and thick. Remember not to add too much to it if you don’t want to obscure the classic flavor of cheesecake. If you are making a traditionally baked cake, then you may want to think about adding some alcohol or an acid alongside full-fat cream cheese and double cream.
The acid can be lemon or orange juice, as these flavors tend to go nicely with cheesecake.
Fixing a Runny Cheesecake
Now that you know where the problem lies, you can begin thinking about ways to fix your cheesecake. Unfortunately, when the problem is with the ingredients, you won’t really know until the appropriate refrigeration time has passed.
This means that there isn’t much you can do after it is out of the oven and you will simply have to try again later.
However, if your cheesecake is runny because it hasn’t been in the fridge, then the best solution for you would be to make space in a fridge for you to set your cheesecake.
There is a very good reason why cheesecakes are almost exclusively kept in the fridge, and it isn’t just because it has cheese as a main ingredient. For cheesecakes, being refrigerated is a core part of the “baking” process and vital to achieving the cake you want.
It is generally recommended that, once you take the cheesecake out of the oven, you should put it in the fridge overnight. If you don’t necessarily want to wait an entire day when you bake a cake in the morning, you can generally go with keeping the cake in the fridge for at least eight hours.
This will give your cake enough time to cool down and thicken up, turning it into the classic cheesecake that everyone knows and loves.
What Can You Do for Ingredients?
If you want to remember some ways to make a firmer cheesecake through the ingredients you are using, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For baked cheesecakes, acids such as lemon and orange juice as well as some alcohol are the best way to go about doing things. Not only do they provide a hint of flavor, but they can also keep your cheesecake as firm and thick as you can possibly have it.
When whipping the cream and cream cheese, you will want to remember to whip it as firmly as you can and until you reach an optimal consistency for your cheesecake needs.
You should also keep in mind that baked cheesecakes will always be thicker than non-baked variants, and if you are trying to imitate store bought cheesecakes, then baked cheesecakes are the right way to go.
If you have some cream yogurt, you can consider putting it into a fine sieve to drain for a few hours before you use it. This practice is why Greek yogurt is as thick as it is: it has been drained before being packaged.
Doing this may take some time, but many people can agree that this time will be well worth it in the end when you can achieve the perfect cheesecake texture and consistency.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.