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How do I keep my cheesecake from cracking?

Jamie - from Sparkman, AR

The most important tip is to follow your recipe exactly – carefully measuring all ingredients, making sure your oven temperature is correct, etc. If you are still getting cracking a number of things can cause the cheesecake to crack.
• It may be too dry in your oven. If your recipe doesn't already call for this, place a pan of hot water on the oven rack below your springform pan as the cheesecake bakes.
• Your cheesecake may be cooling too quickly. Again, if your recipe doesn't already call for this, when the cheesecake is "done", turn off the oven, crack the door slightly, and let the cheesecake cool slowly in the warm oven for about one hour. Remove the cake from the oven and set it on a counter to cool to room temperature. Then, you can refrigerate for several hours.
• You may be baking your cheesecake too long. Bake it 15 minutes less than you have been, then follow the slow cooling instructions above.
• Finally, if you still get cracking (and even the experts do sometimes!), top the cake with a chocolate ganache, fruit syrup, cut-up fruit, etc. No one will notice the cracks!

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