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A cheesecake is a sweet, cheese-based dessert. The combination of its crust and filling (typically containing eggs, cream, and a soft fat like cream cheese) make it a closer relative of custards like buttermilk pie or creme brulee than of a traditional cake, though cheesecake is still cake. The first recorded mention of cheesecake was during the ancient Grecian Olympic games in the occidental world. Cato the Elder wrote

Polish Cheesecake (sernik)
Polish Cheesecake (sernik)

of cheesecake preparation in his farming manual "De Agri Cultura".Cheesecakes can be made of ricotta cheese, havarti, quark, twaróg, or, more usually, cream cheese. Other ingredients such as sugar, eggs, cream and fruit are often mixed in as well. Flavorings such as vanilla or chocolate may be added, and a fruit topping, like strawberries, is frequently added. Typically, the cheese filling or topping covers a crust, which may be pastry, cookie, digestive biscuit or graham cracker-crumb. Sometimes the base is a layer of cake  

A common difficulty with baking cheesecakes is its tendency to "crack" when cooled. This is due to the coagulation of the beaten eggs in its batter. There are various methods to prevent this. One method is to bake the cheesecake in a hot water bath to ensure even heating. Alternatively, a little cornstarch blended into the batter prevents the coagulation of eggs. Some cheesecake manufacturers use a blowtorch to crystallize the tops and the sides to make it taste better. In the UK, cheesecakes are generally a cold dessert which is not cooked nor baked. It is made with crumbled digestive

A slice of 'Jewish-style' baked Lemon Cheesecake
A slice of 'Jewish-style' baked Lemon Cheesecake


biscuits mixed with butter and pressed into a dish to form a base layer. The topping or filling is a mixture of milk, sugar, cheese, cream and gelatin.


The word cheesecake is also used to describe the creamy, cheesy flavor of the dessert. In this usage, there are cheesecake yogurts, ice creams, brownies, and cookies.

There are also savory cheesecakes, often flavored with blue cheese and served as hors d'oeuvres or accompanying salads.


Styles of cheesecake

Japanese white chocolate cheesecake
Japanese white chocolate cheesecake

  • American cheesecakes generally rely on cream cheese, invented in 1872 as an alternative to French Neufchâtel. After James L. Kraft invented pasteurized Philadelphia cream cheese in 1912, it became the top product for making cheesecakes.
  • New York-style cheesecake, made famous by Lindy's and Junior's Deli, relies upon heavy cream, cream cheese, eggs and egg yolks to add a richness and a smooth consistency. Also called Jewish-style, it is baked in a special 5- to 6-inch tall springform pan in many restaurants. Some recipes use cottage cheese and lemon for distinct texture and flavor or add chocolate or strawberry to the basic recipe.
  • Chicago-style cheesecake, typified by Eli's Cheesecake, is a baked cream-cheese version that is firm outside and creamy inside.
  • Pennsylvania Dutch-style cheesecake uses a slightly tangy type of cheese with larger curds and less water content, called pot or farmer's cheese.
  • Philadelphia-style cheesecake, typified by Darling's Cheesecake, is lighter in texture, yet creamier in flavor than New York style cheesecake.
  • Farmer's cheese cheesecake is the contemporary implementation for the traditional use of baking to preserve fresh cheese and often is baked in a pie shell along with fresh fruit like a tart.
  • Sour cream cheesecake is thought to have originated in the mid-20th century in the United States after the mass homogenization of milk and the loss of cream as a widely available ingredient. It still uses cream cheese but has no heavy cream. It is the most widely used recipe for cheesecake outside New York-style in the United States. It can be frozen for short periods of time without ruining the texture. Many factory-made cheesecakes use this method because of this trait.
  • Roman-style cheesecake uses honey and a ricotta-like cheese along with flour and is traditionally shaped into loaves. Some recipes call for bay leaves, which may have been used as a preservative. It is still baked in areas in Italy that kept culinary traditions alive after the fall of Rome.
  • Italian-style cheesecake is a modern version of Roman cheesecake. It uses ricotta or mascarpone cheese, replaces the honey with sugar, omits the bay leaves, and adds other modern ingredients such as vanilla extract. This type of cheesecake is typically drier than American styles. Often, small bits of candied fruit are added.
  • French-style cheesecakes are very light, feature gelatin as a binding ingredient and are typically only 1 to 2 inches tall. This variety gets its light texture and flavor from Neufchâtel cheese and is found in outdoor markets in the South of France and fine pastry shops in Paris.
  • Greek-style cheesecake commonly uses Mizithra cheese and Mascarpone cheese.
  • German-style cheesecake (Käsekuchen) uses quark cheese. The Käsesahnetorte (cheese cream tart) adds cream and does not get baked.
  • Dutch/Belgian-style cheesecakes are typically flavored with melted bittersweet chocolate.
  • Brazilian-style cheesecake usually has a layer of goiabada (guava marmalade).
  • Japanese-style cheesecake relies upon the emulsification of cornstarch and eggs to make a smooth flan-like texture and almost plasticine appearance. It is a very popular vending machine food in Japan because it is one of the few milk products that can easily be made shelf stable.
  • Asian-style cheesecake flavours include matcha (powdered Japanese green tea) and mango.
  • Country-style cheesecake uses buttermilk to produce a firm texture while decreasing the pH (increasing acidity) to extend shelf life.
  • Vegan cheesecakes use substitutions such as silken tofu for cream cheese, or vegetarian cream cheese alternatives such as Tofutti's "Better than Cream Cheese". Vegan graham crackers are obtainable for the crust, and granola is also a popular substitute.
  • Lactose free cheesecake may be made either with Vegan recipes or by combining vegetarian cream cheese alternatives or lactose-free cream cheese with other lactose-free ingredients.
  • Cottage cheese and lemon versions.
  • In reference to the varieties and possibilities of cheesecake, cheesecake-cooking champion David Gluckman said: "Cheesecake is really a canvas."

Culinary uses and challenges for different types of cheesecakes

Almost all modern cheesecakes in the United States use cream cheese; in Italy, cheesecakes use ricotta cheese and Germans use quark cheese.The type of cheese not only affects texture and taste but the ability to incorporate certain types of ingredients. When cheesecake batter is too thin many cheesecakes will not be structurally sound and fall apart at the table. One way to get around this is to use unflavored gelatin or a little cornstarch beaten with the eggs.Some types of cheesecake are custard pie, ratherthan a true cake, which leads many

'Green tea' flavored cheescake served with green tea ice cream
'Green tea' flavored cheescake served with green tea ice cream


novice bakers to cheesecake failure. A sour cream-style cheesecake uses close to a 1:1 volume ratio of cream cheese to sour cream to make the traditional texture that crumbles like a good roquefort cheese with a distinctive sunken center and a golden-colored top from the Maillard reaction. An extra egg white brushed on the top can achieve the same effect in less time if you desire the cheesecake to be "gooey" when set.

Uncooked fruits that contain live protein eating enzymes such as papaya, pineapple or mango should be avoided as cheesecakes containing them will not set.

External Link
Cheese cake cooking instructions on video

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This entry is from Wikipedia, the leading user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors (see full disclaimer)

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