Creamy Lemon Cheesecake

This is a simple lemon cheesecake with a whipped cream topping.

So many of you have requested a baked cheesecake, that I really wanted to make one and share.

This is my go to lemon cheesecake which always garners lots of praise and deep sighs as you take a bit into it. Cheesecakes are actually not that difficult to make, save for the fact that it can sometimes crack in the middle.

The cracking does not affect the taste, just the appearance. If you prefer it not to crack I suggest baking it in a water bath. Otherwise, just top with whipped cream. Nobody will even know 🙂

Just follow the detailed steps in the recipe and you cannot go wrong!

If you make this recipe, please share it with me by tagging me on Instagram @adventureswithsugar or on Facebook at Adventures with Sugar.

HOW TO PREVENT MY CHEESECAKE FROM CRACKING?

Before I provide some tips on how to avoid a crack-free cheesecake, let me say that there have been times when I have done all of the steps and still had a little crack or two – that’s baking I guess! Nothin a little whipped cream, as a topping, cannot solve, however.

  • Room temperature ingredients – a cheesecake is not like a normal cake, where you want to beat butter and sugar, for example, to get in as much air as possible. Too much air can cause your cheesecake to rise too quickly and then collapse. You therefore want all ingredients, especially the cream cheese, to be easy enough to beat, without have to risk overmixing the batter.
  • Do not overmix ingredients – this bares repeating. The aim is to ensure everything is well mixed, but you do not benefit from incorporating more air into the mixture. Also, the batter is quite liquid, but sets up in the oven, so do not think you need to continue beating it so that it thickens up.
  • Add in the eggs last – I like to stir in the eggs last so that they are not overmixed and cause the cheesecake to souffle when baked.
  • Bake on a lower heat – baking the cheesecake on a lower heat will ensure a more gradual set and not “shock” the batter in terms of changes in temperature. I find using an oven themometer is useful to ensure your oven is at the correct temperature.
  • Bake on a lower shelf – I usually bake all my cakes in the middle shelf, but found that to allow for a better bake on the cheesecake, adjust the rack to the bottom shelf to allow for a slower bake.
  • Do not overbake – you want to edges of the cheesecake to be set, but the center still wobbly, overbaking can result in cracks.
  • Cooling in the oven once baked – once the cheesecake is baked, you want to let it cool in a switched off oven with the door slightly ajar. This helps to ensure that the cheesecake does not go from too warm to too cool a temperature, quickly.
  • Bake in a waterbath – I have had varying success with this. I do this as an extra precaution, but you want to ensure that your tin does not leak or you will end up with a soggy crust.
  • Be patient – the batter comes together super quickly, the cheesecake does take a while to bake however, then cool in a switched off oven, then cool to room temperature, then chill in the fridge – it’s worth it, I promise!

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHEESECAKE DOES CRACK?

Well, one of the obvious answers is to do nothing. A cracked cheesecake does not taste bad, it may just not look as showstopping as you would want it to. No matter how good something looks, it is taste that is most important, however!

Alternatively, add some whipped cream, which is described in the recipe below. You could also pile the cheesecake high with fresh fruit. Adding some fresh lemon curd, granadilla pulp or berry coulis is also another way to disguise ugly cracks.

The recipes which promise perfect cheesecakes every time are a lie, in my honest opinion. We have all experienced cracked cheesecakes at some point. We learn to roll with the punches and improvise 😉

CHEESECAKE CRUST

  • 230g Tennis Buiscuits
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 1/8 tsp salt

*The quantities above form a decently thick crust on just the base. If you want to have a crust around the sides as well then make one and a half times the recipe above.

METHOD

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease and line the bottom of a 23cm springform pan with baking paper. Wrap the outside of the tin with foil as the cheesecake will be baked in a waterbath.
  2. Place the biscuits in a large Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin.
  3. Then add the sugar and give it a shake to mix it all in.
  4. Lastly, pour in the melted butter and shake to combine – no dishes!
  5. Tip the mixture into your tin and press it down firmly and evenly. Use the base of a flat bottomed glass if you want to level it out.
  6. Bake the base for around 10 minutes until just firm and set. Then set aside to cool as you make the filling.

LEMON CHEESECAKE

  • 1 kg full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 270g castor sugar
  • 160g sour cream
  • 160ml whipping cream, unwhipped
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (clear is best, otherwise it tints the cheesecake slightly)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 60ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

METHOD

  1. Reduce the oven to 160 degrees Celcius, and move the oven rack from the middle of the oven to the last rack. I find that baking the cheesecake on a lower shelf helps it from cracking.
  2. Put a full kettle of water on to boil, for the water bath. (This step is not essential. I found that it does not affect the texture of the cheesecake but prevents it from cracking).
  3. Add the cream cheese to your mixer and beat until smooth. It is important not to overbeat.
  4. Then add in the sugar and continue to beat.
  5. Add in the vanilla, sour cream and whipping cream and continue to beat. Again, the aim here is to just incorporate, you do not want to incorporate more air in the batter (like you would do for cake).
  6. Follow this by the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  7. Lastly beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just mixed in. If you over beat the eggs, the cheesecake will souffle – rising initially, but will then collapse. This is why I do this last.
  8. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  9. Pour the filling into the tin with the crust. Place the cake tin in a large roasting pan and fill with boiling water until the water comes up halfway. (Again, the water bath is not essential, but will help with a crack free cheesecake).
  10. Bake in the oven for around 1 hour, 30 minutes. It may sometimes need a bit longer. If the cheesecake is getting too brown on the top, just place a piece of foil over it.
  11. The cheesecake is cooked when you knock the side of the tin with a wooden spoon. The center should still jiggle a bit but the sides will be set. The filling should not slosh around in the tin and feel liquid.
  12. Once the cheesecake is set, turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar to let the cheesecake reduce gradually in temperature.
  13. After an hour remove, and let cool to room temperature, before setting in the fridge to chill overnight.
  14. Release the cheesecake from the springform pan and top with whipped cream.

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 1 Tbs icing sugar

METHOD

  1. Whip the cream until soft waves form.
  2. Then sift in the icing sugar.
  3. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over whip.
  4. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cooled cheesecake and decorate with fresh fruit, serve with a coulis, or just enjoy as is 🙂

Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com

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