The Absolute Best Way To Tell When Your Cheesecake Is Done

Cheesecake is special. But you didn't need us to tell you that! From the creamy richness of the bake to its fluffy top and the graham cracker crust, the cheesecake really is like no other. Whether you enjoy the dark basque style, the classic creamy New York version, or even the no-bake cheesecake, all seem — from the outside — deceptively simple to make. Most recipes use a basic combination of cheese, eggs, and sugar for the filling of their cake, which sounds easy enough to mix together and pour into your crust, but in practice, this cake is a lot more difficult to perfect.

From properly mixing all the ingredients together at the correct temperature to baking in a bain-marie, there are a lot of ways a cheesecake can go wrong (via Southern Living). They are notorious for cracked tops, collapsing mid-bake, or leaking out the sides of your spring-form, but one of the worst things that can happen is that you pull out what looks to be a perfect cheesecake, only to discover that it's raw in the middle. Now, don't go using the toothpick test to try and solve this problem. Reaching into a hot oven to poke a hole in the top of your cheesecake won't prove whether the bake is done or not. Instead, it will cause your cake to crack! Thankfully, there is a gentle way to check if your cheesecake is ready to come out of the oven without destroying it.

You have to jiggle it!

The safest way to tell if your cheesecake is ready to take out of the oven is the jiggle test! The best way to conduct this test is to reach into the oven and gently shake the cheesecake. But it is important that you are careful while doing so. The bain-marie you use while baking this particular cake will have released boiling hot steam into the oven which can — and will — burn you, so make sure to wear gloves, and consider using a wooden spoon to tap the baking pan instead of using your hand to jiggle it (via Taste of Home).

You should be looking for just the right amount of movement. Better Homes & Gardens claims that if your cheesecake is firm except for a small jiggling circle in the middle, then the cake can be safely removed. The center will continue to cook outside of the oven. But be wary of using this method with cheesecakes made mostly of sour cream; they will jiggle quite a bit more and the soft spot in the center will be bigger. Remember to refrain from opening the oven as much as you can during the baking process, as the temperature change can cause the cake to crack (via Sally's Baking Addiction). Instead, only do the jiggle test after the recommended baking time is done.