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Lemon Cheesecake

It has been quite a while since my last post and I have no excuse other than it is summer and sitting inside on a computer when not absolutely necessary just seems unnatural.  But I could not let the entire summer pass without letting others in on my decadent cheesecake secret.

This is the lightest and yet somehow creamiest cheesecake I have ever had (much less made).  It is exactly what I want to end a perfect summer meal, the brightness of the lemon makes you feel a little less sinful having a second piece.  It also goes perfectly with fresh summer fruit - any reason to eat another juicy peach before their painfully short season is over.



This recipe does require some advanced planning because if you don't allow the cheesecake to fully set, you may find yourself serving it out of a bowl instead of from a cake platter (as I did earlier this summer...see below photo evidence).

I was making the recipe for the second night in a row, a somewhat last minute impulse of a lazy saturday afternoon.  As I cut into my beautiful masterpiece, half of the cake began a slow-motion landslide of creamy sludge, heading for the edge of the cake platter.  I managed to get a bowl under it just as the rest of the cake gave way, oozing in every direction and causing a chaotic scramble to get every morsel off the counter and into a bowl.

Let me just say, looks are not everything.  Once I let my OCD horror go and took a few deep, cleansing breaths, I fully embraced the delicious disaster. I don't know if I would recommend this method of preparation but if you are pressed for time, it is still worth making... just have some bowls at the ready.


Lemon Cheesecake

Serves:

1 10" cheesecake

Ingredients

8 tbl unsalted butter

10 oz graham crackers (about 18 whole crackers)

8 oz cream cheese (1 cup)

16 oz mascarpone cheese (2 cups)

½ cup sugar

4 eggs

2 lemons (zest and juice)

1 cup heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

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Preparation

Preheat oven to 350˚F and prepare the pan: wrap a 10inch spring-form cake pan with foil, using two pieces to make sure the sides and bottom are sealed.

Melt the butter and crush graham crackers into a fine powder – you can do this in a food processor or by putting them into a Ziploc bag and smashing them with a rolling pin.

Press butter and graham mixture into the bottom of the pan and place in the freezer to firm up while you prepare the rest of the cake.

Beat the cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar, and zest of the two lemons in a mixer with the paddle attachment, until light a fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix in the lemon juice, cream, and vanilla very slowly, scraping down the sides to make sure everything is incorporated.

Pour mixture over the graham crackers and set inside a larger roasting pan. Pour enough very hot water into the larger pan to come halfway up the side of the cheesecake and carefully place in the oven.

Bake for 1 hour (until the center is just set – meaning it jiggles like jello when nudged and does not ripple like water). Turn the oven off and let the cake rest for another 30 minutes. Cool the cake in the fridge for several hours (at least 2), allowing it to set.

Serve cool or at room temperature.

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