The Unexpected Method That Will Majorly Upgrade Your Cherry Cheesecake

If you're a fan of cheesecake — and, more specifically, cherry cheesecake — you know that there's nothing worse than a crack in your perfect dessert. But did you know that there's a simple way to prevent those cracks from developing? And better yet, you probably already have everything you need to make a pristine, crack-free cheesecake at home.

Before we dive into the method, why does cheesecake crack in the first place? Most of the time, this happens when the dessert is overcooked or if it cools too quickly. Cheesecake is temperature-sensitive, so if it spends too much time in a hot oven or experiences an overly abrupt cooling process, its surface will break. Fortunately, Mashed recipe developer Jessica Morone's classic cherry cheesecake recipe not only offers tips about how to whip up a smooth cheesecake, but also how to fix the dessert if it does end up cracking.

Follow these two tips for a smooth cheesecake

The first key to a crack-free cheesecake is all in the baking method. Morone recommends using a steam bath, which is a technique where you place the cheesecake pan on a higher oven rack and a separate pan of hot water on a lower rack. The water creates steam as it heats up, which "makes the environment in the oven humid, similar to if you use a water bath," explains Morone. This promotes a gentler cooking process that "prevents the top of the cheesecake from setting too quickly and cracking."

A second and equally important path to a smooth cheesecake is to allow your dessert to cool slowly. After the baking time is up, Morone recommends cracking the oven door slightly (you can prop it open with a wooden spoon) and leaving the cake in the turned-off oven for about an hour. "Letting the cheesecake cool completely in the oven before removing it also helps to keep the cheesecake from cooling too quickly and cracking," advises Marone.

Finally, if your cherry cheesecake does crack, don't worry — there's still hope for your dessert! It's all thanks to that decadent cherry topping, which Marone says not only tastes tart and sweet, but can also "cover up any imperfections so it will still look beautiful."