Cheesecake is one of the trickiest desserts to cut into and pull out a picture-perfect piece. Cakes and pies present their own challenges, of course, but cheesecakes present many challenges. They are dense and creamy, with a very moist/wet interior that loves to stick to knives and come away from the rest of the cheesecake in unattractive chunks. Fortunately, if you take a few seconds to do a little bit of prep work, you will get those perfect slices every time.
First, you need a knife that has a straight blade, not a serrated one. Cheesecakes cut the most cleanly when you can simply press down with your knife, without having to “saw” with a serrated blade. Next, run the knife under hot water (or dip it in a large cup of hot water) and wipe the blade dry. Immediately insert the tip of the blade at the center of your cheesecake and press the knife in and down. Wipe the blade clean on a paper towel if there are any pieces of cheesecake or crust on the blade, then transfer your slice to a plate. You should repeat the process of running the knife under hot water and wiping the blade dry before cutting each slice.
Heating up the blade of the knife slightly helps to prevent the cheesecake from sticking to it, since any bits of cold cheesecake melt slightly when they touch the blade. It is best to use a dry knife – although a wet one will go through the cake easily – so that your slices are clean, not wet looking, and you don’t get unattractive drops of water on the top of the cheesecake.