1. We used the recipe for Chantal's New York Cheesecake.
A note about using cream cheese: Do not substitute spreadable or reduced-fat cream cheese for the solid block of cream cheese; your cheesecake might not set properly.
2. Cream the cheese with an electric mixer until it is soft and contains no lumps. If you don't have an electric mixer, use a wooden spoon.
3. Whisk the flour and sugar together to prevent flour lumps. If the recipe you are following calls for additional dry ingredients (such as salt or cocoa powder), stir them into the sugar and flour mixture as well. Pour this mixture into the cream cheese and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to incorporate the ingredients and prevent lumps from forming.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in flavorings and any other liquids. The mixer should be on a low speed to limit the amount of air incorporated into the mixture.
5. If too much air is whipped into the mixture, the cheesecake will puff up while baking and sink in the center, the texture may be grainy, and air bubbles will mar the surface of the cheesecake.
6. The texture of the finished batter should be smooth and glossy. Carefully remove the bowl from the mixer. Don't scrape batter on the mixer's paddle into the smooth filling: batter on the paddle and at the very bottom of the bowl may contain lumps of cream cheese. If your filling does contain lumps, you can pass it through a sieve or pulse it in a food processor to smooth the batter.
7. Fold in candies, chocolate pieces, or fruit with a spatula or wooden spoon before pouring the mixture into the prepared pan. Pour the batter into a springform pan lined with a crumb crust, or into muffin tins lined with foil or paper liners for individual cheesecakes. To make a marble filling, pour a fruit or chocolate sauce over the cheesecake filling in a spiral pattern. Use the tip of a paring knife or a wooden skewer to pull lines out from the center like spokes on a wheel, or create a free-form swirl pattern.
8. Bake the cheesecake as directed. For instructions on baking cheesecakes in a water bath, see Baking Cheesecake, Step by Step. For more information and cheesecake recipes, see our Perfect Cheesecakes article.