Cheesecake is a mysterious yet delectable dessert, but how long does cheesecake last? This chilled and flourless cake can be found on restaurant menus, but it is also popular in grocery store freezer sections and on home kitchen countertops. It’s undeniably delicious, but when it comes to preparing and storing this classic guilty pleasure, confusion sets in. We intend to make recommendations for best practices for cheesecake enjoyment.
What You Should Know About Cheesecakes
Basic cheesecake recipes are fairly straightforward. Softened cream cheese, eggs, sour cream, and desired flavorings, such as lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, or peanut butter, should be combined. Bake and chill this creamy mixture in a cookie crust (typically made of graham crackers). Cooking evenly is critical for this luscious cake (no one wants watery, undercooked cheesecake! ), so it is typically baked in a water bath. An electric pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot, can also be used to make perfectly cooked cheesecake.
Unlike many other cakes, cheesecake tastes best after it has been chilled. After baking, the cake must be allowed to cool slightly on the counter before being transferred to the refrigerator to cool completely – a process that can take at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Once chilled, cheesecake can be topped with virtually any combination of ingredients. Fresh seasonal fruit, chocolate ganache, fruit syrups, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, and even cookies and candy are popular toppings.
Preparation and Storage
Cheesecake batter should be made with room temperature ingredients for the best results. However, perishable foods such as cream cheese and sour cream should not be left out at room temperature for extended periods of time because potentially harmful food-borne bacteria can easily multiply. As a general rule, cream cheese should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours to soften.
How Long Does Cheesecake Last?
Soft cheeses, such as cream cheese, are susceptible to a bacteria known as listeria. Listeria monocytogenes is a particularly dangerous strain that can cause severe foodborne illness in those who are exposed, especially if you have a weakened immune system. When pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people on immunosuppressive drugs consume contaminated foods, they are more likely to become infected. Listeria infection can cause everything from flu-like symptoms to miscarriages in pregnant women. Once exposed, symptoms can appear quickly (the same day) or take up to 70 days for someone to become ill.
Listeria outbreaks from soft cheeses are on the rise, according to a 2018 report. According to FoodSafetyNews.com, soft cheese made from “raw” (aka unpasteurized) cheese is especially dangerous, increasing the risk of contamination by 160 times.
Home cooks should be wary of more than just listeria bacterial contamination. Following reports of a salmonella outbreak, the FDA issued a recall of Hy-Vee supermarket chain cheesecakes in January 2019.
So, what should a cheesecake fan do? When serving homemade or prepared cheesecake, play it safe by following this rule. Cheesecake that has been stored above 40 degrees F for more than 2 hours must be tossed, according to Foodsafety.gov, if a power outage renders your refrigerator inoperable. When serving cheesecake to guests at home, use the same logic: once the cake is out of the refrigerator and at room temperature, you have 2 hours! Read more about How Long Does Cheesecake Last in the Fridge on our blog.
When the 2 hours are up, it’s time to put the cake back in the fridge or toss it. If the temperature exceeds 90 degrees F, it should be discarded after 1 hour. According to USDA food safety guidelines, prepared cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. We recommend storing it in an airtight container to avoid absorbing any fridge odors.
Is it possible to freeze cheesecake?
So, how long is cheesecake good for? As you might expect, the cheesecake in the fridge only lasts a few days. So, if you want to keep it for a longer period of time, freeze it. And cheesecake is one of the cakes that freezes well, and many bakeries advise customers to freeze any leftovers.
Obviously, the way your cheesecake freezes is determined by the ingredients and the recipe you or your bakery use. In other words, not all cheesecakes are created equal when it comes to freezing. However, as a general rule, dense cheesecakes without delicate toppings usually freeze very well.
To achieve the best results, freeze the cake without any topping and add it just before serving the goodie.
The method for freezing the cake is extremely simple.
Basically, you need to wrap the cake in something freezer-safe to prevent it from drying out or getting freezer burn. An airtight container, a freezer bag, or a double layer of aluminum foil can all be used. Just be careful not to squash the pieces when wrapping.
Put the cake in the fridge the night before you want to serve it to thaw. At the very least, a few hours before you need it.
Last but not least, you can refreeze the cheesecake after it has thawed in the fridge.
Cheesecake is also an excellent way to use up frozen cottage cheese or ricotta that has been sitting in your freezer for months. Yes, ricotta (which freezes well) and cottage cheese can be frozen (which freezes okay).