1. We used a plain cheesecake to demonstrate. The best tip for cutting a cake cleanly is to use a hot knife for each cut. To do this, fill a tall container--a pitcher or vase works well--with hot tap water deep enough to cover the entire blade of your knife. Dip the knife into the hot water, and wipe it dry on a clean towel before making a cut. The constant dipping and cleaning will keep pieces of cake or smears of frosting from the previous slice from marring the next slice. Some people cut cheesecakes using cheese wire or dental floss; these cutting tools also work very well.
2. Depending on the size of your cake, you might choose to cut it into 12 or 16 slices. If cutting the cake into 12 even slices, begin by cutting the cake into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds. Pull the knife out from the side of the cake, rather than lifting it through the top, for a smooth cut.
3. To yield 16 slices, cut the cake into quarters, cut each quarter in half, and cut each half in half again. For twelve slices, use the numbers on a clock as your guide. For odd-numbered servings or to cut the cake in 10 slices, lightly score the surface of the cake before slicing to gauge the size of the pieces. If your knife isn't long enough to reach across the cake, start from the center and work outwards.
4. The first slice is the hardest to remove. Run a knife or spatula along the bottom of the cake between the crust and the pan before lifting the first slice upward, outward, and onto a serving plate.
5. If you're serving a plain cheesecake, you might want to garnish the slices individually. Chocolate sauces or berry purees are always popular. We placed a small amount of sour cream underneath the cake, and a dollop of good-quality strawberry preserves on top. The sweet jam and the sour cream make a delicious blend with the creamy cheesecake.
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