Lemon Bar Cheesecake

June 30, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 10 to 12, maybe more
Author Notes

A tart, sun-yellow topping hovers over several inches of a milky, tangy, and skimmable custard that is the texture of thick pudding, just barely bolstered by a couple tablespoons of flour. It's what you like about panna cotta or flan—how responsive it is to your fork's every move—with none of the weird gelatinous jigglyness.

Developed for Fine Cooking from Abigail Johnson Dodge: http://www.finecooking...Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • For the crust:
  • 8 ounces vanilla wafers, crushed (2 cups crumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the filling:
  • three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • Table salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the vanilla wafer crumbs and granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are all moist and clump together slightly when you press them.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and use the bottom of a glass or a measuring cup to press it evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan. (You can also dump in the crumbs, cover them with plastic wrap, and use the pads of your fingers to press them down.)
  4. Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darker, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack and lower the oven temperature to 300° F.
  5. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, ricotta, flour, and a pinch of salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese is lump-free.
  6. Add the sugar and continue beating until fully blended and smooth.
  7. Add the lemon zest and vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just blended. Be careful not to overbeat the eggs—it can cause the cheesecake to puff too much and result in cracks across its surface.
  8. Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top. Bake at 300° F until the center jiggles when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake should be a little puffy around the edges and moist in the center.
  9. Set on a rack and cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. At this point, you can also freeze the cake for up to 1 month. To freeze, unmold the cooled cake and place it on a baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm, Wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  10. When ready to serve, unclasp the springform pan and remove the side. Run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. (Or, do as I do, and leave the cake on the springform base.)
  11. Spread lemon curd evenly over the top of the cheesecake. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.
  12. Keep in the refrigerator, covered loosely with plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Janene Donelson
    Janene Donelson
  • Nancy Henderson
    Nancy Henderson
  • Amelia
  • Donna
  • catharina

18 Reviews

Janene D. July 23, 2022
Any adjustments for high altitude??
DC's P. October 5, 2021
Made this easy-to-make cheesecake on Sunday for a dinner last night (Monday), and it was a delicious delight. I will definitely make the cake again - it's too good not to repeat!

(I used the Alice Medrich curd to top the cake that Nancy H. mentioned below and that was also a winner.)
DocSharc April 29, 2019
I'm a cheesecake snob. About 10 years ago, I perfected my recipe for a classic NY style cheesecake and that's the only one I've made since then. Til this weekend, when I wanted to make a quick, easy, lemon-y dessert for a cookout and came across this one.

It's so good I ended up making it AGAIN the next day. It's just a perfect cheesecake. Soft and velvety, but with enough structure. The lemon flavor is just delightful with all the creaminess. I highly recommend this one. Great recipe! :)
Nancy H. December 29, 2018
Thanks for this Sarah J. Another success from Food 52 post!
Not a crack on it - and tasted beautiful. And I listened to Alice Medrich & made the easiest (and best!) lemon curd ever - - was a big hit!! and I'm staring down a leftover piece in my fridge this morning... not sure how long I can resist :)
Amelia January 10, 2017
I can't even begin to express how much I LOVE this cake! I have made it twice now and I think it's a life long keeper. Lighter and more fluffy than a regular cheesecake but still extremely smooth. I use Food In Jars Meyer lemon curd for topping as it is my favorite. Thanks for the recipe!
Sarah J. January 10, 2017
So glad you like it!! It's so dreamy!
Amelia January 11, 2017
Yes, dreamy is the perfect descriptor! Also forgot to say I subbed ginger snaps for the nilla wafers and it paired well! I usually try to not change much the first time I make a recipe but I had ginger snaps on hand 😊
Donna November 24, 2015
Does using a combination of cream cheese and ricotta in a cheese cake make for a lighter consistency and creamy texture generally? Can you substitute 8oz of ricotta for the same amount of cream cheese if your looking to make a lighter texture and creaminess? I have a recipe I'd like to tryout , just asking if you have done the swap with success . By the way, this recipe sounds wonderful!! Thanks !!
Jonathan July 17, 2015
I just finished mine, unfortunately during the cooling process it developed some massive cracks in it. My oven must be too hot as my cook time was only 52 minutes. Was I supposed to add a water bath or use a butter knife around the edge after removing it from the oven?
Linda July 12, 2015
Will lower fat cream cheese and ricotta work?
catharina July 11, 2015
so far, so good. now the hardest part: wait for the thing to chill properly...
Petite F. July 3, 2015
Thank you CakePeg. I just peeked into it and it looks fab with no cracks in the middle :)
Jennifer G. July 3, 2015
I don't see where you add the flour?
Sarah J. July 3, 2015
It goes in with the cream cheese and the ricotta! Sorry about that. All fixed :)
CakePeg July 3, 2015
@Petite Fee
The traditional cake testing method doesn't work for cheesecakes. Cheesecake will always be moist. The test is if the sides look fairly puffed and dry with moist in the middle, it should be done. The chilling is crucial. That is when the whole thing sets.
Petite F. July 3, 2015
p.s. I live in high altitude...and I don't bake much typically. Want to take this to a party. Hoping it will turn out fine, but don't I am afraid the middle might be too moist? Or will it solidify more once it chills?
Petite F. July 3, 2015
How moist should the middle be? The sides have puffed up considerably, but when I insert a knife in the middle, the knife comes out with wet batter.
Thank you..
Cristina S. July 2, 2015
This is officially on my list.