Refrigerating and Freezing Cheesecakes
You can store a cheesecake either in the refrigerator or for an extended period of time, in the freezer. If you are making cheesecakes for a wedding or for gift giving, you may want to make them ahead of time, then freeze them to avoid the hassle of making them at the last minute. Whether a cheesecake is stored in the refrigerator or freezer, it should only be garnished just before serving.
Cover the cheesecake either by placing in a container or covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Freezing a whole cheesecake
To maintain the creamy texture it is important to properly freeze and thaw the cheesecake.
Before freezing, the cheesecake needs to be baked and cooled normally. The cheesecake can be chilled at least 4 hours before freezing or frozen when the cheesecake is at room temperature. Remove the sides of the springform pan. Either leave the cheesecake on the bottom plate of the springform pan or place on a round cardboard cake board or on a piece of cut cardboard. When using either a cake board or cardboard, wrap the board with aluminum foil or cover the board with contact paper. Transfer the cheesecake to a baking sheet and place unwrapped in the freezer until firm. Remove from the freezer and completely wrap in plastic wrap, then wrap in aluminum foil. Label and date then place the cheesecake in the freezer. Cheesecakes can be frozen for up to 2 months in the freezer.
Thawing a whole cheesecake
To thaw, place the wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator. This will prevent condensation from forming on top of the cheesecake. Once thawed, remove the aluminum and plastic wrap and transfer to a serving plate. Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before serving -- about 30 minutes. Garnish as desired.
Freezing individual cheesecake slices
Individual slices of cheesecake can also be frozen. Once the cheesecake has been properly cooled and chilled, slice the cheesecake using a thin, steel knife. Fill a tall drinking glass with hot water. Dip the knife in the glass and make a long diagonal slice across the cheesecake. Wipe the blade on a clean paper towel. Dip the knife in the hot water and cut the remaining cheesecake in the same manner -- cut in quarters, then cut the quarters in half, then the eighths in half, dipping the knife in hot water and wiping the blade after each cut.
Cut pieces of wax paper into squares that are wider and large enough to cover the sides of a slice. Place a slice of cheesecake on one piece of wax paper and bring up the sides of the wax paper to cover the cut portion of the slice. Return the piece to the whole cheesecake. Repeat for each slice.
Once each individual slice is separated by wax paper, place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and freeze until firm. Once firm, wrap the entire cheesecake in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil. Label and date, then return the cheesecake to the freezer for up to 2 months.
Thawing individual cheesecake slices
To thaw an individual cheesecake slice, place it on a microwaveable plate. Place in the microwave and select Defrost (30% power) for 45 to 60 seconds. Let stand about 5 minutes until thawed. Garnish as desired.