Cheesecake cracks on the INSIDE!
Posted: 09 December 2013 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey y’all,
I made Miette’s cheesecake today. It’s a 6-inch cake [1 pound cream cheese, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup cream, some sugar etc] and it was baked for 80 minutes at a water bathed 350. The recipe said to bake for 90 minutes but I was afraid that 1.5 hours for such a small cake is way too much, and it looked set & barely jiggles, as the recipe says, at 80 minutes.
As I cut the cake, I noticed that there’s a visible crack INSIDE! the top was not cracked BTW.
Did this ever happen to anyone? Could it be that I underbaked it?
[It was perfectly sliceable and not overbakedm at least in my mind]
I added a picture of the sliced cake.
[It was a birthday-cheesecake!]

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Posted: 09 December 2013 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It is illegal to verbify “water bath”; we’ll have to report you to somebody.

The interesting thing about the crack is that it’s horizontal, rather than vertical, which is what you get on the top. The top crack happens because there is tension applied to the surface and the crack starts at a point of weakness and propagates until the stress is relieved.

The fact that your crack is horizontal suggests that the stress is top to bottom, rather than side to side. Perhaps it started when the cake was chilling in the fridge and the bottom got cold faster than the top. There appears to be a larger opening on the left side of the crack where perhaps there was an air bubble. The stress concentration probably happened at the edge of the bubble and propagated from there.

You may remember the several Comet airliners that exploded in flight in the 1950’s. The problem was the square windows and the stress of pressurization produced stress at the sharp corners of the windows and they eventually gave way to cracks in the fuselage. The same thing happens in a cake. I generated cracks in the top once when I poked a hole in the top to take its temperature. And this is why a balloon explodes when you poke it with a needle.

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Posted: 09 December 2013 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Oh goodness that makes total sense [except for the Comet explosions; I was born about 30 years later so any recollections I have of said explosions are literally supernatural!], because actually I put the cake in the fridge when it was a bit warm [uncovered] and not room-temp cool so maybe that caused the tension!
Also, before I put the cake in the fridge I poured the sour cream topping [according to the recipe it should be spread right before putting it in the fridge], and again, the cake wasn’t completely cool so maybe that had anything to do with it? Maybe because the structure wasn’t completely set yet, so when I poured the sour cream on top it weighed down and the part that wasn’t set “collapsed”? [I have no idea if that even makes sense, scientifically].

I guess I should have another slice before the linguistic police comes!

Edit: Oh, and Thanks!

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Posted: 09 December 2013 04:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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McBrownie - 09 December 2013 02:41 PM

Maybe because the structure wasn’t completely set yet, so when I poured the sour cream on top it weighed down and the part that wasn’t set “collapsed”?

Cracks form more easily in things that are brittle, rather than soft, which is why hitting a glass jar will shatter it, but will only dent a metal can, or at worst, a small hole. Most metals are not brittle.

It is possible, though, your crack isn’t a crack, but a separation of two layers, but it does look like a crack and the fact that it begins at what looks to be an air pocket is suggestive. An oddly shaped air pocket could produce a stress concentration at a point where there is a sharp corner like the window of the Comet.

A big temperature gradient within an object can produce stress (drop a frozen glass jar into a pot of hot water), so I agree that putting it in the refrigerator warm might have been part of the contributing cause.

If that is an air pocket on the left, then a firm rap of the pan on the counter might have eliminated it and gotten rid of the stress concentration that led to the crack. I believe that many cheese cake recipes recommend that procedure, do they not?

 

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Posted: 09 December 2013 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Smart answer Charles! (I was thinking air pocket too). The cheesecake looks delicious btw smile

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Posted: 09 December 2013 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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CharlesT - 09 December 2013 04:20 PM

If that is an air pocket on the left, then a firm rap of the pan on the counter might have eliminated it and gotten rid of the stress concentration that led to the crack. I believe that many cheese cake recipes recommend that procedure, do they not?

I have never seen it - but I will do it from now on!
Thanks!

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Posted: 09 December 2013 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Matthew - 09 December 2013 04:24 PM

The cheesecake looks delicious btw smile

Thanks Matthew! It was really good, and the crust really crisp. It is made from Miette’s graham crackers- just ground up and pressed into the pan, without additional butter! I wonder how it will hold up after a night in fridge, though.

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