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Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

by Jamie on July 20, 2010

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Cheesecake. I love cheesecake. It is truly one of those desserts that I simply cannot resist. I’m guessing it’s the combination of the crisp, slightly salty graham crust paired with the sweet creamy texture of the cream cheese filling. Regardless of the reason, cheesecake equals bliss in my book.

Although we will pretty much nosh on any cheesecake that we come upon, we are extremely partial to the creamy and fluffy variety. You know, the kind that just sort of melts in your mouth and brings a big smile to your face. If you’re a fan of cheesecake, definitely keep reading because this is hands down the best cheesecake I have ever made. Period.

My whole family loves cheesecake (except my dad), so when I decided to go home for a visit last Sunday, I decided to bring along a cheesecake. The question was, what kind of cheesecake? I pondered on this question for a couple of hours and finally decided to keep it simple. I had an ample supply of ripe, juicy blueberries and raspberries in the fridge, so I knew they would play a role, just not sure in what capacity. I ended up establishing my game plan at the last minute; lemon scented cheesecake with a glossy berry topping. Simple, delicious and perfect for summer.

This cheesecake was a big hit; it was extremely creamy with a fresh, crisp flavor from the lemon zest and fresh berries.  Brian ate himself sick after consuming two large pieces. My mom’s boyfriend, Johnny-O, loved this cake so much she caught him scarfing it from the storage container while standing over the kitchen sink and refused to give her a bite. Personally, I’m all for sharing and spreading the love EXCEPT when it comes to cheesecake, so I totally get the selfish mentality over this dessert!

If you have read any of my previous cheesecake posts, you may remember that I am pretty vocal about my disdain for cracks. Even though you can cover them up, they still irritate me beyond words. I will tell you this cheesecake recipe has never ever cracked using my extremely scientifically proven techniques. Okay, so maybe I am exaggerating about the scientific part, but here is what works for me:

1. Make sure you use a good quality springform pan.
2. Use a water bath!
3. Wrap the bottom half of the pan tightly in heavy duty foil before baking (this helps prevent the water from leaking into the pan).
4. If you are slightly OCD like me, place the foiled pan into an oven bag for extra security.
5. Allow the baked cheesecake to cool in the oven and then on the counter before placing in the refrigerator (directions will explain this).
6. Have a back-up plan if your cake cracks…fruit acts as an excellent crack concealor or you can just embrace the cracks!


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Lemon Cheesecake with Fresh Berries

July 20th, 2010

Ingredients:

For the Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick unsalted butter; melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Cheesecake

4 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each; room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs; room temperature
3/4 cup heavy cream
zest of two lemons
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

For the Topping

2 cups of fresh berries
1/4 cup apricot preserves plus 1 tablespoon hot water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Tightly wrap a 9 inch springform pan in heavy duty foil. This step prevents leaks when using a water bath. I also take the extra step by placing the foil wrapped spring form pan inside an oven bag while baking.

2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of your pan and about 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack.

3. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

4. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, combine the sugar and lemon zest and mix until the sugar is moistened and fragrant. Add in the cream cheese and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream and vanilla and mix until smooth.

5. Pour batter into prepared crust. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.

6. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have some jiggle to it. At this point, close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. After one hour has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. Top will fresh berries and serve.

Notes:

- For glossy berries, simply add 1 tablespoon of hot water to 1/4 cup apricot preserves. Blend until combined and thinned out. Place the berries in a bowl and gently brush and toss the berries with the apricot and water mixture.
- If you are not a fan of lemon, simply omit the zest.


{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucia November 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I tried this awesome cheesecake recipe, it was amazing and so delicious, but I had a problem with the water from the water bath leaking through the pan, I double-wrapped the pan with foil but I couldn’t find big enough oven bags, how can I substitute the oven bag, since the foil isn’t enough? Can I try with puttin the pan in a silicone round cake pan instead of an oven bag or this will affect the baking and the baking time?

Reply

MBA December 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Lucia-
I’ve never personally used this method so I cannot answer for sure. I don’t believe this would change temp or cooking time, though.
-Jamie

Reply

Susan May 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I was wondering if you used the heavy duty extra wide tin foil? They have foil thats wide enough that it should cover the spring pan adequitly so that it should go up at least 4 inches up the side.of the pan. This should prevent any leaking.

Reply

Jamie Lothridge May 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Hi Susan,
I just use normal kitchen tinfoil.
– Jamie

Reply

Eliza B Warren February 8, 2013 at 6:47 pm

This was amazing – it was the first time I had ever made a cheesecake – and I was nervous. So, I researched zesting, why you give a cheesecake a bath, etc. After this, I made this recipe for my husband’s birthday because he loves cheesecake – this recipe ROCKS! I made it yesterday and there is only a quarter of it left today! It wasn’t difficult to make and it is sooo gooooood! This is definetely worth trying – thank you so much for an awesome recipe! It’s sooo appreciated!!
Lovin it in Central Fl <3

Reply

~T~ April 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm

What is it about dads and cheesecake? At least my kids’ dad likes cheesecake. I don’t think my mom ever gets to bake any.

Reply

Jan October 12, 2013 at 1:37 am

This is a perfect and easy recipe. Since I only had 2 packages of cream cheese I just couldn’t wait, so I cut the recipe in half and used 5 ramekins. I did add a couple of teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to the batter for a bit more zing. They turned out perfect, creamy and delicious. This recipe is being added to my cookbook so I will have it handy anytime I am craving a cheesecake. Thanks for sharing.

Reply

Jamie October 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

Jan-

That’s so great to hear! The extra lemon juice sounds like a great addition! Have a great day and thank you so much for following MBA!

-Jamie

Reply

Maggie January 1, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I have been making cheesecakes for years and this recipe is by far the best. Love the idea of turning oven off and leave in oven. I think this really help prevent cracking. Thanks, I will be looking for more.

Reply

Jamie January 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Maggie-

Thank you so much! I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. Thank you for following MBA and have a great day!

-Jamie

Reply

Vern May 14, 2014 at 1:48 am

Ok ladies here is a guys perspective on cheesecake. Let the cheesecake bake for 1 hour 20 min.yes do leave in oven.don’t peek leave for 2-3 hours. Now here is the kicker.use vanilla wafers in stead of graham crackers. Then use 2 tbls flour.then a pint of heavy whipping creme.this is tried and true.

Reply

Becky July 1, 2014 at 12:41 am

Hi. I am trying this recipe for the first time, and I am very excited, this is going to be a cake for a friend and my boss for her birthday :)
So far, so good, it has cooked for 55 minutes and now it is in it’s cooling process for 1 hour, then I will be taking it out of the oven to cool completely before putting into the fridge to cool for 5 hours, I hope it will be ready to leave the house in the morning at 7:25am :)
Thanks for your recipe, it looks and smells great, went exactly by the recipe, I will keep you posted to let you know how it turns out.

Reply

Jamie July 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Becky-
I hope you enjoyed the recipe as much as we did! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Jamie

Reply

Joy Menter September 10, 2014 at 2:36 pm

At what point do you loosen the sides of the springform pan?

Reply

Jamie September 11, 2014 at 10:29 am

Hi Joy,
You can loosen the sides of the springform pan after cooling and before you refrigerate. I hope this helps.

-Jamie

Reply

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