A cheesecake is done is determined by shaking the cake. The center is supposedly "jiggle", but not be liquid. I can never judge this accurately. While the outside is firm and creamy, the inside is always thin and runny.
Most recipes suggest the use of a spring form pan, so I invested in one. That's a two-piece baking pan, with removable sides. When the cheesecake is done, it is supposedly to "spring" away from the sides, so the cake is undamaged. That's easier said than done.
Chunks, large and small, stick to the sides when the spring is sprung. The first time that I used one, I found out that it leaks. That created quite a mess in the oven and set off the smoke detector.
I did not give up though. I have a passion for food and I have learned over the years that "practice makes perfect". The first time you use a new recipe, it almost never turns out right. But, after a few tries, you are rewarded with a practical masterpiece.
I experimented with all of the American styles; New York, Chicago, Pennsylvania Dutch and Philadelphia. I learned that the French Neufchatel was originally used for cheesecake and since I used Philadelphia cream cheese in the first several tries, I thought I'd give the more expensive cheese a try.
Neufchatel, which is also called "farmers' cheese", is similar to camembert, but the taste reminds me of mushrooms. I thought I may have made a mistake when I noticed the taste. One of my sons absolutely hates mushrooms. And, of course, one of the reasons that I love to cook is that he enjoys eating.
But, I thought that maybe the mushroom flavor would disappear after I added the other ingredients and baked it. When it was done, the cake was beautiful. Maybe because of the consistency of the cheese, the texture was> perfect. Nothing even stuck to the pan! The only problem was the taste.
Some people might like it, but it was not the flavor that we were used to. After everyone had a sample, the whole thing went in the trash.
Finally, after many failed attempts, I gave up. Occasionally, I learned that I can order cheesecake online, and have it delivered the next day, for less than the cost of the ingredients. I thread away my expensive spring-form pan. It simply was not practical for other desserts that I make.
So, even if you're a great cook. My advice is to leave this one to the experts. Avoid the frustration, the wasted efforts and the additional expense.