You can make a bakery-worthy cheesecake -- even your first time out. Follow these tips for making a nice, even crust and keeping the top smooth and crack-free.

Here are some helpful tips for making cheesecake. We'll start with the crust. Here's an easy way to press it into place, using the bottom and side of a measuring cup to tamp down and form the crust to the pan. You'll want the crust to cover not only the bottom of the pan but about 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Now, for the cake. Let your ingredients come to room temperature. This will help ensure a smooth texture to the filling. Make sure to scrape the side and bottom of the bowl as needed. Blanch cheese and sugar thoroughly before adding anything else. This is the time to make sure the batter thins. It will be difficult later to smooth out any lumps. Try to avoid overbeating especially after adding the eggs. Overbeating incorporates too much air causing the cake to pull then fall and crack. Also try not to overbake. An over-baked cheesecake is dry and cracked. So, check for doneness at the minimum baking time. Cheesecake is done when the center appears nearly set. The very center will jiggle slightly when the cake is done. It will firm up as the cake cools. You don't need to do a knife or toothpick test in the cake center. That will only make it crack.