Delightfully lemony, super creamy, and pretty to boot, this Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake is sure to please. Even beginners can make this easy dessert!
Riffing on recipes
I’m not one to create recipes…I leave that up to the professionals. Oh, I can riff on existing recipes to be sure (with decidedly mixed results), but coming up with and relentlessly testing new ideas? No, thanks. Luckily for me there are many high quality food websites and blogs that I’ve come to rely on…King Arthur Flour, Epicurious, Sally’s Baking Addiction, Smitten Kitchen, and Dessert for Two are but a few sites that I‘ve used repeatedly (and quoted on this blog).
With that said, I do like to adapt recipes to fit my whims. So what to do when I come across two similar-but-different recipes? Well…I’ve mentioned before that there are monthly challenges put forth on Sally’s Baking Addiction. Remember those chocolate cake pops? That was her February challenge. Last month’s challenge was croissants (I wrote about the adventure making those on this Outlander Cast post). This month it’s Classic Cheesecake…lovely, silky, smooth, decadently rich cheesecake (wiping the drool off the keyboard). Sally, in her usual thorough style, gave many tips and tricks to insure success. Coincidentally, another recipe for cheesecake came across my screen, Epicurious’ Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake. I love lemon curd and it’s so easy to make, so that’s the version of cheesecake I wanted to try. However, these two recipes differed in some ingredient amounts and directions. Since I had bought the ingredients to fit the Epicurious version, I decided that I would take up the gauntlet and bake Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake, but using Sally’s method. Challenge Accepted!
Working your way up
A good cheesecake starts with a good base. Use a food processor to make graham cracker crumbs (or get your aggressions out, put them in a ziplock bag, and
beat the hell out of them crush them with a rolling pin). Press the graham cracker mixture firmly on the bottoms and sides of a 9- or 10-in springform pan…that will insure your crust will hold together.
Tips for better cheesecake
An important tip to keep in mind is to beat the filling ingredients until they’re just combined. You’re trying to not beat too much air into the batter, because air bubbles will cause the cheesecake to crack upon cooling. Indeed, after you pour the filling into the springform pan, tap it on the counter a couple of times to try and get out any trapped air bubbles.
You’ll need to bake your cheesecake in a water bath to keep the sides for over browning while the center of the filling sets. If you don’t have a pan big enough to hold your springform pan (as I didn’t), another method is to place the largest roasting pan in the oven on the rack just below where you’ll be baking the cheesecake. Make sure it’s filled at least halfway with tepid water…you can put the pan in the oven and fill it with water before you turn the oven on. Warming the oven will warm the water, so you don’t have to try and pour boiling water into the pan and transfer it to the oven. Don’t open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking…you don’t want to loose the steam you’ve created.
Finally, it helps to leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door open for 1 hour after it’s finished baking. This will allow the cheesecake to cool slowly, also to minimize cracking. After an hour has passed, taketh cheesecake out of the oven and cool it on the counter until it’s room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator. Voilá…perfect cheesecake!
How’d I do?
Ok, so I didn’t follow my own advice. As I mentioned above, I didn’t have a big enough roasting pan to use as a water bath, so I put the biggest one I had in the oven with water. Unfortunately, I didn’t put enough water in the pan, so my cheesecake’s sides got overly brown. I also had some cracks in the top (maybe I overwhipped the batter?). Luckily, I had a few blueberries on had to fill the cracks, and no one was the wiser.
This Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake was just what I wanted…rich, dense (in a good way), not overly sweet with a lovely balance of tang from the lemon curd. The crust was perfect (packing it down really helped!), and it held up without being soggy. I brought the cheesecake to work to share and it was devoured in about 15 minutes (I managed to snag a piece to share with my family later). Even though the two recipes differed in minor ways, this “Franken-recipe” produced a finished product that was so yummy, I’m calling it a win. If you decide to go for cheesecake bliss, just tell me when to come over…I’ll bring the forks!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Lemon Curd Marbled Cheesecake
- food processor
- stand mixer with paddle attachment or hand mixer
- 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan
- large roasting pan
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (5-1/4 oz, 150g), about 10 full sheet graham crackers
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter (2-1/2 oz, 70g), melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (1-3/4 oz, 50g)
- 3 blocks cream cheese, full-fat (24 oz, 678g), room temperature (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (7 oz, 200g)
- 3/4 cup sour cream, full-fat (6-1/4 oz, 180g) , room temperature (see Recipe Notes)
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup lemon curd (8 oz, 227g), preferably homemade (see Recipe Notes)
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Check to see if your 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan fits in a large roasting pan (to use for the water bath). Don't worry if your roasting pan isn't big enough, just use Method 2 to create steam below.
For the crust
- Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into crumbs. Add the sugar, pulse again, then pour in the melted butter and pulse until just combined (the mixture will be sandy).
- Press the graham cracker mixture firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan (you don't have to grease the pan first). You can use the bottom of a measuring cup or a straight sided glass tumbler to pack the crust down tightly.
- Pre-bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hot pan on a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil will wrap around the pan for the water bath. Allow crust to slightly cool as you prepare the filling. You can skip the aluminum foil step if you're not going to be putting the pan directly into the water.
For the water bath
- Method 1: If your springform pan fits in the roasting pan, boil a pot of water. You'll need 1 inch of water in the roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan.
- Method 2: If you don't have a large enough roasting pan to fit your springform pan, just place the biggest roasting pan you have on the bottom rack in your oven (beneath the rack where you'll put the cheesecake), and fill it up to 1-inch with water. Let the water heat in the oven while you make the filling.
For the filling
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream and vanilla extract, then beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. You don't want to over-beat the mixture to help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools.
- Pour two thirds of cream cheese filling into crust, then spoon half of lemon curd over filling and swirl curd into filling with a small knife (avoid touching crust with knife to prevent crumbs getting into filling). Repeat with remaining filling and curd. Tap the pan gently on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
- If you're using the springform-pan-in roasting-pan method, place the springform pan inside the roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. Otherwise, place the springform pan directly above the roasting pan that's been heating in the oven.
- Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. If you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking. When it's done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan.
- Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven as it cools down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely to room temperature. Then refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Use a knife to loosen the 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. Serve cheesecake with desired toppings.
- Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- For fresh raspberry sauce: Combine 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (do not thaw if using frozen), 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir the mixture as it begins to cook, breaking up some of the raspberries as you stir. Once simmering, continue to stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and press through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Allow the thin raspberry sauce to cool completely before using. Store for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Why is everything at room temperature? Bring all cold ingredients to room temperature before beginning. Room temperature ingredients combine quickly and evenly, so you won't risk over-mixing. Also, beating cold ingredients together will result in a chunky cheesecake batter, hardly the way you want to begin!
- Non-US readers: With the help of Sally's other non-US readers who do not have access to graham crackers, here is a basic crust recipe you can follow for a 9-inch springform pan: 250g digestive biscuits + 100g butter + no sugar. Grind the digestive biscuits into crumbs, melt the butter, and mix with the crumbs. Press into pan and pre-bake as directed in step 2. Also, spreadable cream cheese sold in a tub in countries outside of the US is a little different from the spreadable cream cheese in the US. It's thicker, sturdier, and more solid and should be OK to make cheesecake.