BEST LEMON CHEESECAKE
written by @juliarecipes
When life gives you lemons, then make a Lemon Cheesecake. As a huge fan of cheesecakes, I realized, that haven’t share much of cheesecake recipes lately here on my blog. And I am asking myself, why is that so? The simple answer is, that i wanted to always keep the best cheesecake recipe for myself & never to share with anybody…bahaha this is obviously a joke guys 🙂
I am going to gladly share this simple recipe for really one of the Best Lemon Cheesecakes. This cheesecake is a base for creamy and rich New York cheesecake, with classic graham breadcrumbs. Topped with fresh and creamy sour cream and covered in lemon glaze, made from real lemons.
This lemon cheesecake is a winner on parties, especially during summer season. It is refreshing, tangy, rich and cream. I am sure the whole family will love it!
WHAT WILL I NEED FOR LEMON CHEESECAKE
Obviously cream cheese! Yes you got this one…I am using local farmer’s market cream cheese to achieve the fluffiest and creamiest texture of the cheesecake. But you can achieve this also by beating the egg whites until stiff peaks and then slowly incorporate into your cream cheese mixture. The egg whites will create the fluffiness needed for the cheesecake.
Graham crumbs…I rather buy the graham crackers and pulse them in my food processor for few seconds, because honestly sometimes graham crumbs might not be as fresh as the crackers itself. So definitely, I would recommend to buy graham crackers and make your own graham crumbs 🙂
Eggs are best used in room temperature, when baking. Make sure you let them warm up in room for about 1 hour. Same thing with the sour cream and cream cheese.
HOW TO PREVENT CRACKS IN CHEESECAKE
Always use room temperature cream cheese, eggs, sour cream. Cold cream cheese is impossible to mix until smooth and will typically leave lumps. Make sure to mix the cream cheese with sugar very well, you can also mix it in food processor with blade attachment, this will remove any possible lumps in the cream cheese.
Room temperature eggs will assure no cracks in the cheesecake. Also do not over-mix the eggs, add them as the last ingredient in cream cheese mixture. Try to beat the cream cheese until perfectly smooth and then add additional ingredients. Do not open oven when baking cheesecake, any draft might cause a change in a temperature and that might cause cracking in your cheesecake.
Do not over-bake your cheesecake! This will cause cracking in your beloved cheesecake. How to know when the cheesecake is done? When the cheesecake still have it’s center wobbly 2-3 inches. Looking like not really properly baked in the center, then it’s done. Also the edges will be slightly puffed.
NO NO for water bath! Some people say that water bath is a must to prevent cracks from the cheesecake. Sorry, but not in my case…I have tried the water bath for 4 times precisely and it was a fail every time. First, cake cracked at every singly time I baked it with water bath and the water always found it’s way to my graham crumb base :-(. I have always used 9″ springform pan and unfortunately the bottom was always humid, almost wet, so I stopped using the water bath. So I do not recommend using water bath when baking cheesecake.
COOLING & CHILLING CHEESECAKE
This is the most important step when making cheesecake! You have to leave the cheesecake to chill for long long long time to achieve the creaminess and the fluffiness. We start the first chilling in the oven, for about 1 hour. Turn the oven off and open it, just at first crack, meaning 1/4 opened door. And let it aerate for 1 hour. Take it out from the oven, be careful, it will still be quiet warm.
Let it cool on the kitchen counter top for another 30 minutes or so and then you can continue adding the toppings or additional glazes, fruits etc. If you are preparing plain cheesecake, just cover the springform pan with food foil and let chill for another 4-6 hours in the refrigerator. Best is overnight chilling. It is well worth the wait, the cheesecake will be creamy, luscious and smooth.
In this recipe I am adding extra layer of sour cream and thin layer of lemon glaze for extra refreshing zing taste:-)
FREEZING THE CHEESECAKE
Yes, you can totally freeze this cheesecake, or any other cheesecake. Definitely yes, this cheesecake can be made in advance and frozen. If you are thinking to prepare any kind of cheesecake in advance, let’s say a week before or even month before, you can. You can freeze it in the springform pan directly. Make sure once it’s well cooled off, to cover it with few layers of food wrap. Then cover it with aluminium foil and pop it in the freezer.
If you wish to remove it from springform pan, make sure the cheesecake is completely cold. Run a sharp knife underneath the crust to release it from the bottom of the pan. And slide it either in large tupperware (cover with plastic top & pop it in freezer) or slide it on parchment paper or piece of cardboard and wrap it all in with few layers of food foil, then add final layer of aluminum foil. Freeze the cheesecake for up to 2 – 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
All right, so let’s make this amazing lemon cheesecake recipe. YUM! 🙂
BEST LEMON CHEESECAKE
Preparation time: 45 minutes⭐baking time: 1 hour⭐servings: 12 pieces⭐chilling time: 4-6 hours
- 2 cups of graham crumbs (or 25 graham crackers)
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- 2 tbsp of melted butter
- 3 pkg/ 750 g of soft cream cheese (room temperature for 1 hour)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- Zest from 1 large lemon
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
- ½ cup of sour cream
- 4 large eggs
SOUR CREAM TOPPING
- 1 & 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- juice from 1 large lemon
- drop or two of yellow food coloring
- Place the oven rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 350°F/177 C.
- Place the graham crackers and sugar in a food processor and pulse until they are fine crumbs. Add melted butter in and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together.
- Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. (Make sure to put parchment paper on the botton of springform pan). Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- To make the filling, place room temperature cream cheese in large bowl of standing mixer and mix until perfectly soft. Add 1 cup of the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and sour cream and mix until combined together. Add in 4 eggs and shortly mix, just to incorporate the eggs into the mixture. Do not over mix. If you decide to separate the egg whites to make stiff peaks, do it at this stage (add egg yolks first in the cream cheese mixture, mix well and then add the beaten egg whites. Make sure your egg whites have stiff peaks to achieve fluffier cheesecake). In between each mixing, scrape down the bowl to make sure everything has been incorporated.
- Pour the cream cheese mixture in 9″ springform pan and bake until the center is slightly wobbly, about 55-60 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door at first crack (1/4 opened door) and allow the cake to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a small paring knife around the edges of the cake, let it sit for 1 hour on kitchen counter.
- When the cheesecake is cooling, mix in medium bowl, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract and pour it over the cheesecake. Even the sour cream topping with spatula or knife. Cover the cheesecake with food foil and place it in the refrigerator.
- In the meanwhile, prepare lemon glaze. Combine all the ingredients in small saucepan and simmer over medium low heat for 1 minute. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and pour the glaze over the cheesecake immediately & even the glaze with spatula.
- Cover the cheesecake again with plastic food foil and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, ideally overnight.
- Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean and dip into warm water between each slice.
- Enjoy it with good cup of coffee or tea! You can store leftover in the refrigerator up to 5 day. This has actually never happened to me, because we eat the whole cheesecake in one day 🙂
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