Cheesecake is a tasty dessert whose main layer consists of cream cheese, ricotta/cottage cheese, eggs, and sugar.
Its base often consists of a layer of sponge cake or crushed biscuits.
Making cheesecake is relatively easy, and the chances are it will turn out great. However, if you are new to baking, you may run into a few issues before getting the hang of it.
One of the issues you are likely to encounter is cheesecake not setting.
Luckily, you can do a few things to fix it, including; refrigerating for a few hours, putting it back in the oven, using a water bath, and converting it to a frozen dessert.
This article discusses how to fix a cheesecake that didn’t set in detail, but first, let us look at what it means when cheesecake doesn’t set.
What does it mean when cheesecake doesn’t set?
This phrase refers to the consistency of the cake, i.e., whether or not it has hardened.
Ideally, cheesecake should be tasty with a smooth texture, but it should not be runny. When the cake is watery, it means it didn’t set.
Cheesecake becomes runny when you make mistakes during the baking process, but the good news is that you can fix it in a few simple steps.
How to check if cheesecake is done
Like all desserts, you need to cook cheesecake to perfection. You should not undercook or overcook it. Here is how to tell whether or not your cheesecake is well done.
Check the temperature
Using an instant thermometer to check the cake’s temperature is the easiest way to tell if it is well done.
To check the temperature;
- Clean your thermometer.
- Use boiling water to calibrate it. It should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stick the instant thermometer halfway through the cake and look at the reading.
- If the cake is well done, it will read 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If it doesn’t, let it cook for a few more minutes.
You can use the wobble test to check if your cheesecake is well done.
Wear your oven mitts, then place your hands on each side of the baking pan and shake the cheesecake gently. Don’t shake too much, as it may make your cheesecake crack.
If the center of the cheesecake wobbles slightly when you shake, the cake is well done. If it jiggles too much, the cake is undercooked, and you should cook it for longer. If it doesn’t wobble at all, the cake is overcooked.
The pressure test is another simple method of checking if cheesecake is done.
To use this test, wash your hands with soap and warm water and dry them thoroughly. Use two fingers to press on the center of the cake gently.
The cheesecake is well done if the center feels firm but gives a little. If your fingers sink into the cake, it is undercooked and requires more time in the oven.
The toothpick test is the simplest way to check if cheesecake is done. It is an ideal option if you don’t have an instant thermometer on hand.
Use the toothpick to poke the center of your cheesecake. If you remove it and it still has batter, the cake is undercooked. If the cheesecake is perfectly cooked, the toothpick will be completely dry.
Note that this method is not 100% accurate.
How to fix it
Here are a few ways to fix cheesecake that didn’t set.
Refrigerate for a few hours
Typically, recipes require refrigerating your cheesecake for a few hours before serving. This step is crucial because it makes the cake set correctly.
If your cheesecake has not set the way you want it to, let it sit in your refrigerator overnight. The cooling period allows the cake to set as it should. It will become firmer in the middle without you having to put it back in the oven.
If your cheesecake is thick, you may have to refrigerate it for much longer. It may be tempting to eat it right away, but be patient. It will be worth the wait in the end.
Put it back in the oven
If your cheesecake doesn’t set even after refrigerating it, you can put it back in the oven.
Set your oven to a low temperature and let the cake slow-cook to the right temperature. Be sure to check on the cake every 6 minutes to ensure it doesn’t overcook or burn. The entire process should take approximately 20 minutes.
Contrary to what most people believe, it would be best not to wait for the top of the cake to turn brown before removing it from the oven. Ideally, the top part of the cheesecake should remain pale. If it turns golden or brown, you have overcooked the cake, and it won’t be pleasant to eat.
While using this method to fix cheesecake that didn’t set, pay close attention to the cake to ensure it doesn’t overcook. No one likes overcooked cheesecake.
Use a water bath
Most people use the water bath baking method to pervert breaking of the surface of desserts and allow them to bake more evenly.
To use the water bath baking method, pour about an inch of hot water into a large pan, then wrap your baking pan in foil and put it in the pan.
The foil ensures no water leaks to the cake, so don’t skip that step even if your baking dish is leak-proof. Additionally, you shouldn’t use too much hot water since it will rise when placing the baking dish in the pan.
You can use the water bath method to fix cheesecake that didn’t set. Remove the cake from your fridge and let it sit on your kitchen counter until it reaches room temperature.
Once it does, prepare your water bath and set your oven temperature to low. It would be best to use low temperature to prevent the cheesecake from overcooking.
To check if the cheesecake is done, use an instant thermometer. The temperature should read 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the oven, refrigerate it for a few hours, then serve.
Convert it to a frozen dessert
If you have tried any of the methods above, but the cheesecake fails to set, your best option would be to convert it to a frozen dessert.
Freeze the cake, then slice it before serving. Frozen cheesecake still makes for a tasty dessert.
If you want to make it more enjoyable, add toppings like fruits or dip them into a chocolate shell.
You can get as creative as you want since frozen cheesecake is pretty versatile. Your guests will love it.
Tips on making the best cheesecake every time
Follow these tips to make the perfect cheesecake every time.
Strictly follow your recipe
Cheesecake often doesn’t set because you did not follow the recipe. The key to making the perfect cheesecake is to follow the recipe strictly.
Pay close attention to the ingredients and measurements. Sometimes, using the wrong ingredients or measurements may make your cheesecake not set.
Additionally, you should pay close attention to the mixing and baking instructions. Add the ingredients in the proper order and mix the way you are supposed to. It would be best if you also baked the cake at the required temperature,
Don’t overmix the batter
Overmixing batter is a common mistake in baking. Although you need to be thorough when mixing cheesecake ingredients, you shouldn’t overdo it.
Overmixing cheesecake batter may result in it not setting the way it should. Additionally, the cheesecake may crack.
To avoid overmixing the batter, I suggest letting your cream cheese sit at room temperature before using it in your batter. Cream cheese tends to be hard to mix when it’s cold, and it may make you overmix your batter.
Don’t bake for too long
If you bake your cheesecake for longer than you should, it may not set properly. To avoid this, strictly follow the baking recommendations.
It would help to set a timer that will alert you to remove the cake from the oven on time. You can use your phone’s timer since you are more likely to have it with you. This way, you can remove the cake from the oven before the egg proteins overcook.
Your cheesecake should be jiggly and soft when you remove it from the oven. Place it in your fridge for 4-5 hours to set properly.
Refrigerate the cheesecake before eating
As discussed above, you should always refrigerate your cheesecake before eating. Doing so gives it ample time to set and makes the middle of the cake firmer.
It may be runny in the middle if you don’t refrigerate your cheesecake before eating.
Cheesecake fails to set when you make mistakes during baking. Avoid the errors discussed above for your cheesecake to set as it should.
If your cheesecake still fails to set, you can fix it by refrigerating, putting it back in the oven, using a water bath, or converting it to a frozen dessert.
I hope this article answered your question on fixing cheesecake that didn’t set.