Cream cheese is your best choice because it has lower water content than Neufchatel (60%), cottage cheese (78%), or ricotta (72%). This fact combined with its higher butterfat content produces a creamier texture.
For best results when using chocolate, use high quality chocolate. Semisweet chocolate is made of pure chocolate, cocoa butter and sugar. Milk chocolate is made of pure chocolate, cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids. It is the most popular eating chocolate, and gives cheesecakes a light chocolate flavor. German chocolate is a sweet cooking chocolate made of pure chocolate, cocoa butter and sugar and is sweeter than semisweet. White chocolate is known as confectioners' coating, and is a chocolate-like product that has cocoa butter, but no cocoa solids.
To prevent cracks, avoid over beating when adding eggs to your cheesecake.
Thickeners - I use cornstarch or flour. I like cornstarch better because it gives the cheesecake a finer texture.
If you want a cheesecake with a creamy consistency, have all ingredients at room temperature before starting.
To bring cream cheese to room temperature quickly, warm in a 200 F oven for 10 minutes, or remove from foil wrapper and nuke it on 50% power for 2-3 minutes.
To make crusts crisper, chill them, uncovered in refrigerator. While preparing filling you can bring eggs to room temperature by submerging them in warm water for 5-10 minutes.
Some cheesecakes leak during baking. Avoid the mess by placing Springform pan on a non-shiny baking sheet while baking.
Cheesecake is done when center looks firm. If the surface has a wet or shiny look in the center, leave it in the oven a little longer.
Remove cake from oven and run a knife around the inside edge of pan to prevent the cake from cracking while it firms up. Then turn off the oven and return the cake to the oven for additional 30-minutes to 2 hours or until center is firm.
Cool cheesecake to room temperature and then refrigerator overnight, uncovered, before adding any toppings or garnishes. Storing it uncovered prevents moisture from forming on the surface.
Cheesecakes often crack. Reduce the chances by not over beating the batter when adding the eggs; not beating too long at high speed.
Do not bake cheesecake at too high temperatures. Check temp with an oven thermometer.
Over baking causes “Grand Canyon” cracks.
Don't despair…should your cake develop cracks.
First, be sure to run a knife around the edge of the cake to separate cheesecake from the pan, so when cake is cooling, it won't develop cracks.
Should your cake have cracks, after it cools smooth away cracks and flaws with a hot, wet, sharp knife. Simply dip the knife in hot water and make the repairs.
When repairing cracks in chocolate cheesecakes, use a hot, DRY knife, because water will discolor the chocolate. Dip knife in water, quickly dry it off and repair!
Plan ahead…makes the cheesecake a day in advance to allow the flavors to ripen/blend/mellow.
The richer the cheesecake, the better it freezes.
If I'm going to freeze the cheesecake, I do not put the topping on it.
When the cake is cooled, I put it on a cookie sheet, uncovered and put into freezer; leave there approximately 4-6 hours until firm; then take it out and wrap it in foil, or put in large freezer bag and return to the freezer; this will keep for several months.
When I want to serve the cake, I remove from freezer, thaw uncovered in refrigerator overnight, or at room temp for 2-3 hours. I put any toppings on it, just before serving.