Is cheesecake a pie or a cake?

Is cheesecake a pie or a cake?

Cheesecake is a sweet dessert and many people like to eat it. Depending on the ingredients and mixing procedures employed, the texture can range from light and airy to dense and rich to smooth and creamy. When considering cheesecake, for decades, there has been a major argument taking place in kitchens all around the world about what it really is? Is cheesecake a pie or a cake? Let’s find out.

According to the thoughts of various people, they have different types of ideas about cheesecakes. Some people said that it is pie because of the crust. Some people said that it is a cake because it’s not baked in a pie crust. Also, there is another idea according to the region that in the United States, it is probably a pie and in Europe, it is a cake because it doesn’t have a crust and a filling but is rather a batter made from quark, eggs, and other ingredients which are baked in a cake tin. Not only those but also some said that it’s naked custard. According to all these, we all are confused. So, let’s get a clear idea about a pie and a cake first.

What is a pie?

A pie is a baked dish. It is usually made of a pastry dough casing and filled with a variety of sweet or savory ingredients. The pie is baked until the crust is crisp and the filling is cooked through, and then topped with a top crust. 

Since colonial times, pies have been popular in the United States, and apple pie has become associated with traditional American home cooking. Pecan pie, lemon pie, pumpkin custard pie, and shoofly pie are some examples of American pies. Since the Middle Ages, meat, game, and fish pies have been popular in the United Kingdom. Pies come in a variety of sizes, from small bite sizes to large multi-serving pies.

What is a cake?

The cake is a baked sweet food made from flour, sugar, and other ingredients such as eggs, butter, or oil, or margarine, and a leavening ingredient such as baking soda or baking powder. Cakes originated as bread modifications, but nowadays cover a wide range of simple to elaborate preparations that share characteristics with other sweets such as pastries, meringues, custards, and pies. It might be as thin and flat as a plate or as fluffy as a cloud.

After getting some brief idea about a cake and a pie, now you can easily understand the confusion about cheesecakes.

Is cheesecake a pie or a cake?

Now you know the difference between a cake and a pie. When considering a cheesecake, it has all the right ingredients like cheese, sugar, butter, vanilla, and graham crackers crust. Ricotta, cream cheese, or Neufchatel cheese are commonly used in cheesecakes. Even though “cake” is in the name, it is clear that a cheesecake is not a cake. Some of the key elements that make a cake are missing from cheesecake. The main custard-like mixture, for example, contains no flour, baking powder, or soda. For starters, it is not produced from a batter, it is not bread-like and soft in the end, and the filling is encased in a crust or shell. Therefore, now that we know it’s not a cake, we’re left to wonder what category this soft and tasty treat should be classified under.

Most professional and internationally recognized chefs agree that cheesecakes belong in the pie or tart category. According to many sources, cheesecakes, like pies, contain a bottom crust or pastry shell in which something can be held. After that, you place the filling in the pastry shell or crust.

A cheesecake, like a pie, must be baked to come together, but the sweet filling remains soft after it has been removed from the oven. A cheesecake’s structure strongly suggests that it is more like a cake than a pie. However, it is considered as a pie according to the explanation. I hope now you can agree with that.

How to make cheesecakes?

Is cheesecake a pie or a cake? After getting a clear idea about it, let’s try to make something delicious. There are various recipes for cheesecakes and here I’m going to consider one of them and you can go through this link for further facts.


For the crust:

  • 1 ¾ cups (230g) Graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon unsalted butter

For the filling:

  • 900g cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 ⅓ cups (270g) sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅔ cup (160 mL) sour cream
  • ⅔ cup heavy cream

For the sour cream topping:

  • 2 cups (475 mL) sour cream
  • ⅓ cup (35g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 350°F

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the rack in the lower third of the oven.

Process graham crackers by mixing with sugar, salt, and butter

In a food processor or blender, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. In a large mixing basin, combine the sugar and salt. Add the melted butter next. Then mix well.

Press the above-processed crumbs into the pan

A 9″ x 2-3/4″ round springform pan should be used. Gently press down on the crumbs with your fingers until they form a beautiful even layer at the bottom of the pan, with a slight rise around the interior edges.

Bake the crust

Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350°F. Allow to cool it after removing it from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°Ft (160°C). You can start working on the filling while the crust is cooling. In the next step, wrap the pan in foil when the crust has cooled.

Triple wrap pan in heavy-duty foil

Make sure the springform pan doesn’t leak any water during the cooking process. On a flat surface, place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil. In the center of the foil, place the springform pan. Fold the foil up the sides of the pan gently. If you don’t want to cause any holes in the foil, make sure you do it softly. If there are any gaps in the crust, water will leak into the pan and spoil it.

Wrap the foil around the pan’s edges. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan and repeat the process, gently folding the foil up the edges around the pan and pressing it against the pan. Repeat with the third layer of heavy-duty foil to be extra safe. Gently crimp the foil sheets’ top edges around the pan’s top edge.

Beat cream cheese, then add sugar and beat to make the cheesecake

This is the starting step for making the cheesecake that we can discuss under the topic of “Is cheesecake a pie or a cake?”

Cut the cream cheese into pieces. And then put in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Until smooth, soft, and creamy, mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Add the sugar and continue to beat for another 4 minutes.

Then add salt, vanilla, eggs, and then sour cream

Mix in the salt and vanilla extract until just combined. One at a time, add the eggs, mixing on low for 30 seconds after each addition. Then add sour cream and mix on medium speed until it is well blended.

Add the heavy cream

Add cream and mix at low speed until it is all incorporated. Scrape down the edges of the bowl, as well as any heavier cream cheese particles that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer and that the paddle attachment has failed to incorporate.

Prepare the pan and boiling water

In a large, high-sided roasting pan, place the foil-wrapped springform pan. Then prepare 2 quarts of boiling water.

Pour filling into the pan

Over the graham cracker bottom layer, pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan. With a rubber spatula, smooth the top.

Place in the oven

Place the roasting pan on the bottom rack of the oven with the springform pan inside.

Pour the hot water into the pan

Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to make a water bath for the cheesecake without touching the hot oven. Pour until the water comes halfway up the side of the springform pan (about 1 1/4 inches).

Bake in preheated oven

Bake at 325°F for 1 1/2 hours.

Turn off the oven and let it cool

Turn off the oven and crack the oven door about 1 inch. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for another hour while the oven cools. This slow cooling will help keep the surface of the cheesecake from crumbling.

Chill the cheesecake in the fridge

Cover the top of the cheesecake with foil, making sure it does not come into contact with the cheesecake. Cool for at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Prepare the sour cream topping

This is the step for making sour cream topping that we can discuss under the topic of “Is cheesecake a pie or a cake?”

In a medium mixing bowl, mix and stir the sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until the mixture is smooth. Chill until you’re ready to serve it.

Prepare the cheesecake to serve

Take the cheesecake out of the fridge. Place the cake on the cake serving dish after removing the foil from the sides of the pan. Between the edge of the cake and the pan, run the side of a blunt knife. Open the springform latch and carefully raise up the sides of the pan. Spread the sour cream mixture on top. You can serve simply with any sauce of your choice drizzled on individual pieces.


Is cheesecake a pie or a cake? Now you know that we can consider it as a pie. According to the above explanation, I hope you agree with me because here you can see the difference between a pie and a cake too. Also, there is a very interesting recipe I have included for cheesecake making and you can try it and feel the taste. Not only cheesecake but also there are many food items all around the world and there may be various confusions. Let’s dig deep and find out the truth behind the real situation. So, stay with us and consider following us on Facebook and Instagram to surf the food world.

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