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Ultimate Lemon Cheesecake

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

This New York Style Lemon Cheesecake is the best cheesecake even without lemons! Try this rich cheesecake with a homemade lemon curd topping and whipped cream swirls on a hot Sommer day preferably with some (homemade) lemonade.

Deliciously smooth with bursting lemon flavor!

I think I baked this cheesecake on the spot. The top is set perfectly and the middle is still a bit soft. It took me two trials to find out the right ingredients for the cheesecake and lemon curd. Maybe the graham cracker crust could have been a bit thicker but you can adjust that on however you like!

Lemon - the perfect flavor

Lemon is the perfect summer flavor for me! This lemon cheesecake is not too sweet and deliciously refreshing! The homemade lemon curd gives this cake an amazing flavor which balances the lightly sweet graham cracker crust.

Not only for summer are these fruits great for baking but they are available the whole year round. This makes lemon cakes a perfect dessert for any occasion!

Read here my tips for a crackfree cheesecake every time!

Lemon New York Cheesecake

Ingredients for 8 or 9 inch cake

For graham cracker crust:

2 cups (250g) graham cracker crumbs

6 tbsp butter, melted

4 tbsp sugar

For the lemon cheesecake filling:

32 oz (900 g) cream cheese, softened

4 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup (240 ml) sour cream

4 eggs

1 cup (200 g) sugar, plus 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice, 1 large lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 4 lemons

For the lemon curd

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup lemon juice, 4 medium sized lemons

1 cup butter

1-2 sheets gelatin, optional (read tips)

For the whipped cream:

1 cups (240 ml) heavy cream, very cold

1/2 cup (70 g) powdered sugar

1 package whip it powder, optional


Step 1:

Preheat oven to 375 °F. In a food processor pulse graham cracker until fine crumbs form. Add melted butter and sugar. Pulse until combined. Fill in prepared 8 or 9-inch springform pan. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Step 2:

Prepare the lemon sugar with adding 1/3 of a cup of sugar and lemon zest into a food processor and pulse it until smooth and the sugar has turned pale yellow. In a large mixing bowl mix cream cheese with flour on the lowest setting of an electric mixer until smooth. Add sour cream and both sugars and mix it in. Then add lemon juice, vanilla extract and eggs and mix until smooth.

Step 3:

Fill the cheesecake batter into the graham cracker crust and smooth it out. Place the cake in the oven with a water bath on a lower rack. I like to use a large sheet pan and fill it up with hot water but you can place the cake directly into a water bath just make sure that you wrap it well with aluminum foil. Then bake at 300 °F for about 90 to 110 minutes. After baking turn off the oven without opening it and let the cheesecake cool in oven for about 20 minutes. Then remove water bath and take out the cheesecake on a wire rack. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Let cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Step 4:

While the cake is chilling, make the lemon curd. In a sauce pan add lemon juice, eggs, yolk and sugar. Whisk it until combined. Heat at medium heat until it starts boiling. Reduce heat. Let it keep boiling for about 20 minutes while whisking. It should thicken a bit. It is ready when it covers the back of a spoon or spatula. Just mix it with the spoon then take it out and run a line with a finger on the back of the spoon. If the lemon curd does not flow to the sides it is done. Add butter in cubes and mix until melted. Then strain it through a metal strainer and fill it into a clean cup or bowl. Place it in the fridge until needed. The lemon curd will be quite runny. To thicken it up you can add gelatin. Read the Pro Tips section at the end of the recipe for more information.

Step 5:

When the cake has cooled enough remove it from the baking pan and decorate it with lemon curd. Make sure that it covers the whole surface of the cake but leave some space to the edge so that it doesn't run. Place it in the fridge for about 10 minutes until set. To make the whipped cream pour heavy cream in a tall bowl or measuring cup. Add powdered sugar and whip it if used. Whisk it with a whisk attachment of the handmixer until stiff peaks form. Start with a low setting and increase the speed as the cream begins to thicken. Pipe some swirls with whipped cream on top of the cheesecake.

Enjoy cold!

**Pro Tips**

  • Another way of making graham cracker crumbs is to use a zip lock bag and a rolling pin to pulverize them into fine crumbs.

  • Tired of graham cracker crust? Use lemon flavored cookies.

  • This lemon curd is very liquid even when chilled. If you want it to be thicker I recommend adding two sheets of gelatin. Read here on how to use gelatin and powdered gelatin. Actually I added gelatin to the cake from the pictures but in the video you can see the lemon curd without gelatin.


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