A lemon curd cheesecake recipe that’ll delight lemon and cheesecake lovers alike: creamy vanilla bean cheesecake is mixed with fresh lemon curd for a sharp, sweet & very lemony taste. A layer of lemon curd on top of this lemon curd cheesecake really drives home the bright citrus flavor.
This lemon curd has inspired a lot of recipes this year: Lemon Meringue Bars, Lemon Curd Stuffed Cookies, an encore of Lemon Meringue Strawberry Shortcakes and now this wonderful cheesecake. I didn’t just want some curd on top, I wanted this cheesecake to explode with both creamy vanilla cheesecake and sharp, lush curd at once, so I mixed them together. The result is unreal.
Ever wondered how to make a cheesecake more lemony? The answer, I discovered, is to drop a full cup of fresh lemon curd right into the filling. And then add some more on top. It’s the lemoniest cheesecake, unmatched by any other.
Key Ingredients for Lemon Curd Cheesecake
Lemon Curd: You’ll find my recipe for lemon curd on this page . It’s a bright, sharp, very, very lemony curd and comes through wonderfully here. You could only make half if you wanted only enough for this cheesecake.
Cream Cheese: Two bricks of firm cream cheese (not the softened one in tubs). It’s super important that the cream cheese is at room temperature and softened before making the filling so that
Digestive biscuits: These are a crumbly, semi-sweet cookies that are on the dry side and they make a wonderful base for tarts and cheesecakes. I find them in the ‘international’ section of the grocery store (or at world market). Alternatively use graham crackers or vanilla wafers. An oreo crust would work well too (but omit the cream!).
Eggs: Large eggs, bring them to room temperature first. You can do this quickly by placing them in a bowl of warm water before cracking.
Vanilla Bean: You’ll see speckles in my filling, they are the seeds of a freshly scraped vanilla bean. It brings such wonderful flavor and sweetness. You can use vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract instead (2 teaspoons).
Best Practices to make a cheesecake that doesn’t sink and doesn’t crack
- Mix the cheesecake batter carefully once the eggs are in: overbeaten, overmixed eggs will cause the cheesecake to rise, sink and crack. We want a steady rise for the custard so the eggs are mixed to just combine.
- Bake in water: I use a cake pan that sits directly in a bigger cake pan for a water bath. The hot water is what the custard is baking in, rather than the straight on the oven rack. This helps it bake slowly.
- Cool slowly: If you move the cheesecake straight from the oven to a colder place it will sink. Instead, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and shut it off, allow the cheesecake to cool along with the oven.
Preparing a pan for baking cheesecake
Because I bake directly in a water bath, and can’t be fussed with wrapping a springform pan (I have a lot of distrust issues from previous experiences), I use a tall metal cake pan: 8 or 9” round and 3” tall (the height more important if you are using the 8”), grease it slightly then place a sheet of parchment paper inside.
You’ll crease it as you get it to fit into the pan, use metal clips to hold it in place. The edges will be craggy and imperfect but the whole cake that much more charming because of it.
Lemon Curd Cheesecake Recipe
Lemon Curd Cheesecake
- 8 or 9" cake pan
- parchment paper and metal clips
- 13x9" cake pan for water bath
- 270 g digestive cookies or graham crackers
- 113 g butter
- 2 packages cream cheese 452g
- ½ cup sugar 100g
- Two large eggs
- 1 cup lemon curd 280g
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 vanilla bean scraped
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Make the lemon curd.
- A few hours before making the cheesecake: take eggs and cream cheese out of the fridge to come to room temperature.
Make the crust:
- Grease and line an 8” round cake pan with parchment paper. Use metal clips to hold the paper in place. Don’t worry about making it perfect, creases are fine.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Pulse the cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Melt the butter in a heatproof bowl and stir it with the cookie crumbs. Press the cookie crumbs up the sides of the pan and into an even layer on the bottom. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press it tightly.
- Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Allow to chill while making the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F.
Make the filling:
- Beat the cream cheese with the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Scrape down as needed to ensure all the cream cheese is smooth and there’s no lumps.
- Scrape a fresh vanilla bean and add the seeds to the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle in some sea salt and beat to combine.
- Add the lemon curd and mix until combined. Add the eggs and while they are mixing, add the flour. Beat until you have a smooth filling - but don’t overdo it.
- If you have some lumps, use a sieve to pour the filling into the crust. Scrape the bottom of the sieve to get every last bit of filling.
- Fill a sheet cake pan, 13 x 9” with water. Set the cheesecake in the pan and bake it for 1 hour. It’s done when you can jiggle it and the sides are set. Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for at least 30 minutes before removing. Transfer to the countertop and let cool for an additional 30 before refrigerating for at least 8 hours.
- If you have leftover lemon curd, you have the option to bake a layer on on top: preheat the oven to 350 and spread about ½ cup lemon curd on top of the cheesecake. Bake for 10 minutes. Return the cake to the fridge to chill for about an hour.