Raspberry and Lemon Baked Cheesecake

cakefaveThose of you who are regular readers of this blog would know that I’m a very instinctual cook. I disregard both measurements and recipes, and tend to rescue my food from the oven by sight, smell and touch rather than adherence to cooking times. I used to view this ‘freestyle’ cooking ability as a strength; something born of experience and personal creativity. Last Friday, I definitively changed my mind.

Let me take you on a little trip down ‘memory lane': it was 11:00am on a cold-but-clear Friday morning. The sun was high in the sky, casting shadows across the coffee table as I tapped out answers to emails on my laptop.  I coughed, watching steam rise from my coffee cup as my eyes flickered absently across the computer screen. In approximately 19 hours, four men would be arriving at my door to eat a pork belly roast in honour of William, a friend of ours who’s leaving Australia for good this coming Thursday. I wanted to create something delicious for dessert; something meaningful, indulgent and worthy of the occasion. For some reason I decided upon cheesecake. Specifically, lemon cheesecake, as a tribute to William’s uncanny ability to eat three of my glazed lemon muffins in two minutes (yep, true).

sccheesemontAs you can probably imagine, I’ve got my own ideas about making cheesecake. I’ve made quite a few before, all successful, but… well, as I was seeking perfection I made the unusual decision to follow a recipe.

After a few clicks through various websites, I chose this one from taste.com.au. Now, if you inspect the link you’ll see that this recipe isn’t actually for lemon cheesecake; however, I was sold by the convincing user reviews. I figured I could add in some homemade lemon curd and all would be dandy, right? So, I set to work: snap, melt, blend, press. Refrigerate crust. Check recipe. Shake, measure, blend, stir. Fill chilled crust. Looking good. Now, lemon; let’s dollop in some lemon curd. Raspberries? Yeah. Top up with vanilla filling. Check recipe. Oh no.

I stared at the beautiful, glistening cheesecake on the bench top. It looked perfect; dense and creamy, with a crisp biscuit crust and smooth vanilla filling. But… I’d forgotten the eggs. And the recipe called for three.

Darn it.

lemonrindmontI stared dismally at the cheesecake, my brain ticking over possible solutions to the ‘egg problem’. The preheated oven creaked menacingly as I mentally berated my poor ability to follow recipes. Any sane cook would have placed the cheesecake in the refrigerator to firm up overnight, as without eggs, it would have worked perfectly in its unbaked form.

Me? Hah. Well, my stubbornness kicked in. I rummaged through a drawer for a flat, wide spoon before attempting to skim off the top layer of vanilla filling. I chucked it back into the blender, cracked in an egg and… soon it resembled a vanilla milkshake. I added in a little more sour cream then poured it back over the cheesecake base. I hoped for the best.

Oven opened. Cake went in. Heart sank. I waited, hoping that my cheesecake might at least be a little bit better than my husband’s favourite packet abomination from White Wings.

raspstrawbmontFast forward three hours. The cheesecake had baked and cooled for two hours before emerging from the oven. It looked fine. Good, even. The milkshake layer had set nicely; it was glossy and crack-free with the slightest bit of wobble in the centre. The crust had a lovely golden hue.

But still… I had no idea how the egg-free layer turned out. I placed the tin in the refrigerator, covered, to set overnight. I then washed up, broke a glass, lost a hairpin in the remaining sour cream and saturated my shirt. I decided that I should just go back to bed. So I did.

The next day, the cheesecake emerged. It was decorated, served and eaten. Yes, you’ll get to see how the cake turned out… after reading the recipe. I’ve posted in full as it should have been; my modifications are mostly in italics, including the addition of lemon curd, fresh berries and dollops of frustration.

cakeRaspberry and Lemon Baked Cheesecake

Serves 12 (adapted from New York Baked Cheesecake by Katrina Woodman, at taste.com.au)

  • 250g packet plain sweet biscuits (I used Arnott’s Marie)
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 x 250g packets of full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup white caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 eggs (I used one)
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup raspberry conserve
  • 200g (about 3/4 punnet) fresh strawberries, washed
  • 200g fresh raspberries (not frozen, or they’ll leak juice all over your cake)
  • mint, to serve (optional)

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C (320 degrees f. If you have a fan-forced oven, use 140 degrees C/280 degrees f). Grease and line a round 22cm springform cake pan with baking paper, then set aside.

MariecookieIn a food processor, process the biscuits until they reach breadcrumb consistency. Add in the melted butter and process until just combined. Press the mixture over the base and sides of the pan, leaving a 2cm gap from the top. Use the base of a glass to press over the base and sides of the pan for a firm, smooth consistency. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

crustAdd the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, vanilla and lemon rind to your food processor bowl. Process until smooth*.

bowlofcheeseAdd the eggs, one at a time, processing until just combined (omit this step if you are Laura). Pour half of the cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan. Top with half of the lemon curd and a few teaspoons of raspberry jam. Swirl to create an even distribution.

layer2cakePour over the rest of your cheesecake mixture (then scrape it off, blend it with an egg, add another dollop of sour cream and pour it back on – see the bubbles? Milkshakey, eggy goodness).

topBake for 60-65 minutes (40-50 minutes if you’ve made the two layers as I did; the base cheesecake layer doesn’t need baking) or until just set (the centre should still wobble slightly). Allow the cake to cool in the oven for two hours with the door ajar. When sufficiently cooled, cover and refrigerate overnight.

To serve:

Release the sides of the springform tin. Carefully lift your cake from the base and remove the baking paper. Transfer to a serving plate.

curd.likeWarm your remaining lemon curd in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or until it’s spreadable.  Carefully cover the surface of your cake with the remaining lemon curd (emphasis on carefully, as the surface of the cake may be a little delicate). Refrigerate whilst you prepare the berries.

berryjammontSlice your strawberries into quarters, then place them in a bowl. Melt the rest of the raspberry jam (until slightly warm and pourable, not hot and bubbling) then combine it with the berries, stirring until each piece of strawberry is coated and glistening. Pile the strawberries onto the centre of the cake, adding the fresh raspberries and mint, if desired.

cakebench2So. The verdict: absolute, unexpected, gloriously delicious success! The cake was creamy, smooth and perfectly set, with a gorgeous layer of fresh lemon curd and raspberry jam in the centre. The textural difference between the top and bottom layers of cheesecake filling actually worked well; the upper layer was pillowy soft and light whilst the bottom layer was dense, creamy and decadent.

cakeslicemontThe boys who tasted it said that it was reminiscent of a lemon meringue pie mixed with a cheesecake and a Victoria sponge. Strange but entirely accurate. William was altogether pleased (he laughed when we recalled the muffin story. Ah, memories).

I love it when disasters redeem themselves (but I still need to learn how to read recipes).

jamjar*If you’d like to reproduce my accidental cheesecake triumph at home, I’d suggest dividing your whipped (eggless) cheesecake filling into two halves. Pour one half over your refrigerated crust, then top with lemon curd and raspberry jam. Return the other half to the blender with one egg. Blend until just combined, then pour over the rest of the filling. Bake as instructed.

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98 responses

  1. yay! glad it all worked out! :)
    ooo i love the sound of this being like ‘lemon meringue pie mixed with a cheesecake and a Victoria sponge’ yummm! :)

    • Thanks so much lovely. It definitely worked out way better than I would have expected! My husband loves cheesecake. I’ve never been a huge fan myself but I did love this one (I think it was the lemon and berries!) xx

    • Ah dear, I’m laughing myself now… after the fact! I was so worried that I’d need to make dessert all over again (disaster averted, just!!). So lovely to hear from you Andrea xxx

    • Haha, thanks so much Caroline! I thought I was being so methodical but it almost ended up in disaster! Everyone loved the cake though. So happy that things worked out in the end:) Thanks for the lovely comment xx

      • I think it shows a lot about you… It takes some skill and attention to detail to follow a recipe, a lot of skill to create new recipes, but it takes a true master to save a ship on the course of disaster ;)

      • Oh, you are too lovely Caroline! Thanks so much. I have made the decision to try and work my way through a recipe book for the rest of the year though… I’ll try and get that attention to detail mastered! xx

  2. Haha, this sounds exactly like something I would do! I’m glad your cake worked out- it looks and sounds delicious. If you hadn’t told us about the milkshake-y layer, I’m sure none of us would have figured it out by the looks of the finished cake. Yum!

    • Bahaa… thanks Gen! It looked exactly like a milkshake. I was so, so worried that I’d wasted all that time and all of the ingredients! I guess we all have our bad days in the kitchen. Thanks so much for the lovely comment xx

    • Thank you so much lovely! Haha, it all came together in the end. Missing you so much, I’m cooking dinner for May at your place today (watching ‘The Life of Pi’ together)! Take care xxx <3

  3. This sounds *so* like me in the kitchen. I’m glad it worked out well, the cheesecake looks so silky and lush.

    I’ve just baked to empty the pantry before going on holidays, and it was my imagined version of blondies (with, oh, all kinds of surprises) topped with a coconut macaroon layer. No measurement, just add all the butter and chocolates, etc, and it turned out!! :-)

    • Haha, yay… I’m glad I’m not the only one! I love the fact that you created an ‘empty the pantry’ version of blondies. The coconut macaroon layer sounds absolutely delicious, mmmm! I’m guessing that the recipe isn’t up on your blog (as it was created sans measurements?) but I wish it was!! Sounds delicious! xx

  4. You have underestimate yourself my friend. You are 10 times more creative and 10 times more capable then what you think you are. This is a wonderful cake which to me it’s scary to create. I don’t even dare to take the challenge. You did it so great!

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Danny. I did doubt myself a little too much, I think… and all worked beautifully in the end. Whew! In regards to the ‘challenge’, I am sure that you’d create an amazing cheesecake! They’re actually not that hard to make. Much easier than bread, methinks! By the way, I just read your advertising award announcement, I am smiling from ear to ear! So happy for you! Congratulations again! :)

      • Thanks again my friend. I will gather all courage to take up the challenge on a cheesecake…. I should. Keep creating! You are really awesome! :-) Sincerely.

    • Aw, thanks Paula! You are entirely right, there are much worse omissions than eggs in a cheesecake. I was lucky that everything seemed to work out fine in this case (I think that the sour cream must’ve added necessary moisture to the bottom layer to prevent shrinkage! Thanks again for the encouragement lovely. I appreciate you! xx

  5. I am shocked and amazed, how wonderful that everything turned out so beautifully. I love the changes you made to the recipe i.e. lemon curd etc…. No eggs and it turned out so well so amazing. I have often thought eggs would be the culprit so many times when a cheesecake cracks. I am going to try it your way, it’s gorgeous. I fall into the same category as you many times. making changes, going by instinct as to when something is done most of the time it works sometimes not so much. What a glorious result here!

    • Thanks so much Suzanne! Haha, I was completely amazed too, I thought I was going to have something embarrassingly inedible to present to everyone. It was such a relief when I cut into it! :) I’ve never been sure why a cheesecake cracks. I think that you may be right about the eggs… I’ve had a few people tell me that a water bath can insulate the cake from direct oven heat and prevent cracking, but I’ve never tried it myself. This method seemed to work fantastically. No cracks, clean layers, really great texture. I hope it’ll work for you the same way! Thanks again lovely xx

      • FYI my cheesecakes crack even in a water bath. Someone told me that you have to be careful not over beat the eggs, i like your method with no eggs. Such a beautiful cake.

      • Oh, really? Hm. Well, I won’t be trying the water bath then! In terms of the final product, this cake had only one egg overall. The top layer was really milky when I added it, but it cooked beautifully, like a crack-free custard. The texture worked out well also. Definitely try this. It was a complete mistake but it turned out wonderfully :)

  6. In addition to leaving an ingredient out (which I seem to do for the same reasons you do), I also find myself going shopping to get all the ingredients, let’s say, for a chicken dish. I return home with bags full of groceries only to discover that I never bought the chicken. If half my disasters came out looking as beautiful and tasty as yours, I would be a very happy man! I love these flavors combined and I will definitely your version over the original!

    • Aw, thank you David! Haha, yes I have done exactly the same thing when shopping, whether it be for recipe ingredients or just a general shop. I’ve gone to the supermarket to get ‘milk’ dozens of times, then I return with ten other items and no milk!! :) I can’t imagine you having kitchen disasters. Everything you make looks impeccable in presentation; absolutely delicious and perfect! Thanks for the encouragement though. I guess all of us have bad days in the kitchen. I was really pleased in the end though!

    • Thank you lovely! It was actually delicious… I wouldn’t have even known there were any problems with the ingredients/filling consistency if I hadn’t made it myself! I appreciate your kind words. I was pretty pleased with the photographs also :) x

    • Thanks so much lovely. I appreciate the encouragement! Haha… I was so worried that my efforts were going to result in complete disaster. It was wonderful when I cut into it – complete sighs of relief! xx

    • Thanks so much Anna! I am just so relieved that my strategy worked (I couldn’t bring myself to make it all over again!). I do need to have more faith in myself (but mostly, I just need to learn how to follow recipes!) xx

  7. Yum, Laura! I am so impressed by your ability to improvise, adapt and overcome, AND do it so wonderfully ;) In the end, another resounding success. And your creativity and approach in the kitchen: creative and truly fabulous. Big hugs, foodie sister, thanks for sharing your brilliance =) xo!

    • Christina! Hello lovely! Haha… I didn’t think it was going to work out as well as it did. When I pulled it out of the oven and shoved it into the fridge, I said to Aaron, “Hm, so we’ve got a questionable cheesecake for dessert”. He responded, “No question baby. I know it’s going to be delicious, as everything you make is”. Naw! Yay for supportive husbands! Thanks so much for the comment lovely, hugs back and big love! xx

  8. Great story! I have kitchen disasters all the time – it’s when you learn to cope that you know you’re becoming a decent cook. Great recipe too – this looks wonderful! And lemon is one of my fave flavors, so of course I’m interested in this. ;-)

    • Haha, thanks so much John. I’m not used to kitchen disasters so I wasn’t sure if I’d coped well with it or not! Thankfully, all seemed to work out fine in the end :) The lemon flavour shone through beautifully, and the texture of the cake itself was deliciously creamy! Thanks for the encouragement. I appreciate it hugely :)

  9. This is soo not my cooking style, Laura. I’m not much of a baker to begin with, so, the idea of winging it when I make yet another error is far outside my realm of possibilites. You, on the other hand, soldiered on, creating a new dessert in the process, one that was well-liked and devoured. Hat’s off to you, Laura!

    • Haha. Yes, everyone is different with cooking. My way definitely creates a whole lot of uncertainty but it’s also fun when things turn out beautifully. For some reason, I’ve never had a real catastrophe which may have instilled a false sense of security whilst winging it! Oh well. I love your style though John. Methodical and assured of the same result every time!!

    • I wasn’t particularly confident with my decision to re-whip the first layer, but it all turned out in the end (such a relief!). The double layers were delicious. Loved the homemade lemon curd in the centre (I always make my lemon curd really tangy so it was a good contrast against the sweet creamy cheese filling). Oh, and this one kinda has a biscuit base… I avoided digestives but I still think you’d hate it!

      • I’d just have to make you a special cheesecake with no base (if you came over for dinner; I know this is unlikely but it’d be nice!). But… with quiche!!! I love pastry! I always look forward to eating the pastry on my quiches, pies and sausage rolls. Buttery, flaky goodness :)

  10. I love both cheese cake and lemon curd, so this recipe immediately caught my eye. With your experienced creative kitchen genius, you basically created a baked topping with a no bake filling that was baked anyway! :) Sounds and looks delicious! How lucky and wonderful that you were able to save the day. :) Ingredients can be costly. I once made a new brownie recipe with all kinds of costly chopped chocolate. The batter seemed a bit loose to me when I poured it in the pan but I went with it. Twenty minutes into the baking I discovered the bowl containing the flour mixture that I had left out of the “brownies”. It might have turned into a reasonable hot fudge sauce had I not, in a panic, tried adding the flour to the baked goo. Sigh, lesson learned. I hope. :)

    • Oh no!! I guess we panic a bit under those circumstances… instinct cuts in, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse! I’m lucky that my ‘almost catastrophe’ turned out fine in the end. I know what you mean about expensive ingredients – I felt the same about my cake (mostly because I’d used up all the cream cheese and my homemade lemon curd) and I desperately wanted to save it. So sorry that your beautiful chocolate goo ended up being unsalvageable :(
      Definitely try this cake though – either the traditional way, or my ‘baked and unbaked’ way. I took Version II to work yesterday (baked the same way! It worked!) and it was positively inhaled. The lemon curd works beautifully with the cheesecake filling xx

    • Hahahaa! Well, I guess that’s what it’s there for! :) I love eating it too. I’ve put it on pavlovas, toast, pancakes, crumpets… and now this cheesecake! Lucky for me, I’ve had a lot of citrus delivered recently so my lemon curd stash looks quite healthy. Definitely try your next batch of lemon curd with cheesecake. It’s wonderful! xx

  11. Hi Laura
    I write my own blog and my hubby takes the photos – we both agree that a food photograph really succeeds when you want to pick up a spoon and eat the page because it looks so good. A quick iPhoto doesn’t always cut it for me I’m afraid! Your photo of the cheesecake is truly luscious and I can almost taste the cheesecake as I’m reading it!! I shall definitely try this one out! Have a nice day, Sarah-Jane.

    • Hello Sarah-Jane! Thanks so much for the beautiful comment. Yes, you’re right – I do think that a good photo of food should make you want to dive right into the screen! Thanks for the kind words on my photography. I’m a novice really, but I enjoy the process of taking my own photos (I think my fine arts background helps a bit but I still ask my husband for tips every now and then!). I do hope you try the cheesecake. It was such a beautiful success! xx

    • Thank you so much lovely! And yes, you’re completely right… it’s a wonderful surprise when a potential catastrophe ends up tasting even better than you’d imagined! I wish I had some of your baking expertise though. Everything you make is absolutely mouthwatering xx

    • Thank you so much lovely Claudia!! I appreciate your kind words. It was definitely much better than I could have imagined. So good when potential disasters surprise you! xx

  12. Oh my god I need that cheesecake, like, NOW. That’s no disaster, that’s a new recipe! And I love the jam filling. All good things have jam fillings (Gateau Basque, doughnuts, a jar of jam…). xxx

    • Hahaha, a jar of jam has the BEST jam filling (especially if it’s Tiptree’s “Little Scarlet”, the best strawberry jam in the world. James Bond thinks so. Don’t argue). I did love the combination of the smooth vanilla cheesecake and the lemon curd/jammy filling. So good. I was so relieved when I pulled it out of the oven. I feared that the boys would be eating Cadbury’s for dessert! Hugs xx

  13. This cake seems wonderful! I am a big lemon curd fan (really must learn to make it myself), and of berries. Then the mint leaves you put are the perfect bonus!

    • Thank you so much beautiful Sofia! I appreciate your kind words. Lemon curd really is delicious, isn’t it? I can just eat spoonfuls by itself! The cake turned out brilliantly. Such a surprise, in a good way! xx

  14. This looks beautiful, Laura. I’ve had my fair share of similar recipe mishaps. I’m so glad you were able to save the cheesecake & share the lovely recipe with the rest of us!

    • Thank you Melissa! Argh, this was my first recipe ‘mishap’ but I panicked a little bit irrationally. I’ve set myself a goal to cook my way through a recipe book over the next six months… hopefully to train my brain to follow a recipe methodically! Thanks for taking the time to comment xx

  15. Absolutely gorgeous Laura! And I love how you were mentally checking off all the ways to incorporate eggs into the filling mixture – I would have done the same exact thing! Almost like our food survival instincts kick in! :) It looks like it came out beautifully and I am sure it was equally tasty! Lovely post. xoxo

  16. Looks so delicious! Besides the frustrating breaking of a glass and losing a hairpin; I probably would have gone back to bed as well. I rarely have cheesecake but when I do it’s not around for very long!

    • Veronica! Thanks for the comment lovely. Argh, yep I was very much frustrated that afternoon. It’s weird how some days, everything seems to go completely smoothly in the kitchen and then the next day it all comes crashing down. Sleep tends to cure most frustrations though. As does a nice cup of tea! xx

    • Thanks Erin! Definitely agree, the flavours are a match made in heaven. Like broccoli and strawberries, I have come to realise (I bought a head of broccoli and made a version of your salad with grilled meat and potatoes tonight. It was really good! Thanks lovely!) xx

    • Hello lovely! Haha, yep it’s a Yvonne Cake, lots of layers of complexity, but each as beautiful as the next! ;) It was definitely delicious. If you love the flavours already, I’d encourage you to give the recipe a go! xx

  17. You always make such lovely creations. I love the base, the top, the lemon curd and raspberry jam centre. Overall, the cake is very beautiful and I can even visualize the taste. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

    • Hi Liz! Thank you so much for the beautiful words of encouragement. I appreciate you so much, both as a blogging friend and as a fellow (very talented!) baker. The layers really did work well. I’d happily make this cake again! xx

  18. Oh, what a cooking adventure! Have got to love it when you think something is a disaster, but it turns out better than you thought. So happy to see how amazing it turned out to be. Once again Laura, I loved reading your post. Something about your writing just draws me in, and I love all of your beautiful photos!

    • Hello lovely! Thanks for your beautifully kind words, as per usual. Hope that you’ve been well! I’ve been doing very little blogging over the past couple of weeks. Life in winter has strangely been even more crazy than in summer! I need to head over to update myself on some of Carla’s culinary (and real life!) sweetness!! xx

  19. Oh I have DONE this sort of thing, much to my chagrin! But it turned out looking delicious. I’m not usually a fan of extra “stuff” on or in my cheesecake, but I make an exception for lemon curd – just the perfect squinch of tartness to go with the creamy/crumbly cheese.
    Just found your site through a serious of random blog connections, and I’m so happy I did. Can’t wait to come back and see what other beautiful things you bake up.

    • Hi Chelsea! I’m so glad that you found my blog also, so that I could find your beautiful tumble of recipes and words over at ‘Blackberry eating’. I’ve been reading through your Bittman project – what a massive achievement. I think I would’ve given up half way through! Anyway, I definitely understand the preference for ‘unadulterated cheesecake’. I usually like plain vanilla cheesecake also, but the lemon curd? Well, I could eat lemon curd with anything. Probably even roast pork. Possibly not carrots. That would exceed my normally acceptable level of strangeness! Thanks again xx

  20. GREAT POST:)Your blog is so lovely.

    If you want some cute swedish decor inspiration…check out my blog:)

    Have a great day dear

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis.se
    (sweden)

    • Hello lovely. Thanks for the kind words. I am definitely a big fan of Swedish decor, my cousins live in Malmo so I have a lot of love for your country :) I’ll take a look at your blog. Thanks xx

    • Haha, you can definitely have half (or more!) of a slice lovely Liz! It was definitely delicious, but I feel the same in regards to cheesecakes… they contain so many calories, but they’re so delicious. It’s a terrible dilemma! xx

  21. Well you make disaster look really good :P I too have a disability to follow a recipe. I also forget to write recipes which is pretty much why my blog started. I am not a massive fan of cheese cakes.. I prefer my cream cheese on bagels but I made my first one a few months back :P Mile stones!

    • Hahahaa… I started my blog for exactly the same reason. To actually force myself to write out recipes so that I could recreate the same thing twice (and yep, I’ve checked my own blog for recipe measurements before! It’s working!). I’m not a big cheesecake fan either, but my husband loves them so I’ve ventured into cheesecake land a few times. I love bagels and cream cheese. I eat them all the time (especially the blueberry or other fruit ones. Yum!) xx

    • Hello lovely! Yep it was definitely a redeeming moment in more ways than one (actually, it turned out to be one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever made. Seriously). Thanks for the kind words Kelly! xx

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