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Cutting Your Cheesecake

Cutting a cheesecake can be messy. The moist cake has a tendency to cling to the knife, building up cake on the knife with each cut, so making neat slices can be quite a challenge. Since cheesecake is soft inside the trick is to keeping the knife clean and smooth while cutting it into slices. There are several methods to overcome this problem.

  • A cold, well set cheesecake is easier to cut than a warm one. Always use a long, very sharp and thin knife and keep it warm and clean.
  • Run the knife under hot water after each slice is made. This keeps the knife clean, and the warm knife slices neatly through each piece. Be sure to shake as much water off the knife as possible before making the slice.
  • If you're cutting the cheesecake at the table, running the knife under hot water won't work. Instead, use two knives, one to cut the cheesecake and the other to scrape the knife clean after each slice.
  • Fill a tall container with hot tap water deep enough to cover the blade of your knife. then wipe it on a clean towel before making every cut. Try to press down and pull the knife down at the bottom of each slice, do not "saw" back and forth. The constant dipping and cleaning will prevent chunks of cake from the previous slice from depositing on top of the next slice.
  • A great trick for cutting a cheesecake is to use unflavored waxed dental floss or heavy thread. Cut a piece of floss the diameter of the cake, plus enough to wrap around your fingers. For example, for a 10-inch cheesecake, cut the dental floss about 18-inch long. Wrap the floss tightly around one finger on each hand. Then, simple pull the thread taut between your hands and press it down all the way through the cake until you reach the bottom of the pan. Release the thread in one hand and pull it out with the other. Repeat, cutting the cake like the spokes of a wheel. As soon as the floss gets sticky, it will not work, so you will need to use a new piece.
  • Many professionals add a little unflavored gelatin to their recipe to give the cake more body, specifically to make it cut more cleanly.

    To add gelatin to a cheesecake recipe, put a tablespoon of water in a small saucepan and sprinkle a half teaspoon or a teaspoon of gelatin over the surface. Let it soften for 5 minutes. Over low heat, stir the gelatin until dissolved. Let is cool a bit, then add it to your cheesecake batter toward the end of the mixing process.

The first cut should always be made to cut the cheesecake in half. Then cut into quarters and then each quarter into thirds. This will yield 12 even slices. For 16 even slices, cut the cheesecake in half, then into quarters. Cut each quarter in half, then in each eighth in half. Before removing the first slice, run a knife or spatula between the crust and the pan lifting the first slice upward, outward and place on a serving plate.