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Cranberry cheesecake is a traditional cheesecake usually made with the addition of cranberries or cranberry sauce as a topping. Cranberry cheesecake can also be made by swirling cranberry sauce into the creamy cake mixture to form swirls, resulting in a visually pleasing cranberry swirl cheesecake. Other bakers like to mix chopped frozen or fresh cranberries directly with the cream cheese filling. Some bakers enjoy making a variety of similar recipes that alter the final product by combining different flavors with the cranberries. Recipes exist for orange cranberry cheesecake, for example, and cranberry pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry chocolate cheesecake.
Modern cheesecake, including traditional and cranberry types as well as gourmet cheesecake varieties, have their roots in ancient Greece and Rome, when the sweet concoction was enjoyed by man and offered to the gods. The first Olympians were given cheesecake during their athletic competitions. The confection was thought to give them needed energy.
Baking cheesecake can confound even experienced bakers because of common problems that often pop up; these can occur with all varieties, including cranberry cheesecake. Bakers hoping for a beautiful outcome can be easily disheartened by cracks, especially after spending money on the ingredients and time on the preparation. Cracks can be avoided by using a water bath, which calls for placing the cheesecake pan, with the bottom covered in foil, within a slightly larger pan of water while it’s baking in the oven. This method allows the cheesecake to cook in a moister environment. Slow baking is also helpful, and successful bakers will allow the cheesecake to cool inside the oven for about an hour after the oven has been turned off.
Once it’s out of the oven, further cooling on a rack is recommended, away from any drafts. The goal is to allow a cheesecake to cool slowly, avoiding cracking. If cracks still occur, using a topping to create a cranberry cheesecake or another type of berry cheesecake will help camouflage the problem.
Another common problem when making cheesecake occurs when it's time to judge whether it is fully cooked. Novices may be led to overbake because the middle of the finished cheesecake will still look a bit wobbly. When the cheesecake is removed from the oven and allowed to cool, the consistency will even out. Additional damage can be avoided by taking a necessary step prior to baking, thoroughly greasing the sides of the pan to allow easier separation when the cheesecake shrinks as it cools.
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