Lemon Souffle Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Light, luscious and lemony. This cheesecake has a delicate yet distinct lemon flavor on top of a graham cracker crust. The lemon zest is processed with some of the sugar to break down the zest and release the lemon oils and lemon flavor, and the whipping cream adds to the luscious texture. Finally the egg whites are whipped and folded into the batter, producing a light and airy cheesecake that is magnificent.
Recipe type: Dessert | Cheesecake
Serves: 10 to 12
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 1½ cups Graham Cracker crumbs (about 11 full graham cracker sheets)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup whipping (heavy) cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Garnish (optional):
  • About 1 tablespoon confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for dusting
  • Lemon peel of 1 lemon, white pith removed
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one 9 inch round cheesecake pan or springform pan with 3-inch sides; use a pastry brush to lightly butter the pan with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
Graham Cracker Crust:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine Graham Cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly mixed and mixture is crumbly.
  2. Bake: Pour the graham cracker crumb mixture into the springform pan. Using the back of a large spoon or the flat bottom of a measuring cup or drinking glass, press the crumb mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet; bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire cooling rack to cool.
  3. When cooled, wrap bottom and sides of pan in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil to prepare for the bain marie water bath. The foil is to prevent any water from seeping into the cheesecake through the pan seams.
  4. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.
Lemon Cream Cheese Filling:
  1. In a food processor or small food grinder, process the lemon zest and ¼ cup sugar until the sugar is yellow and the zest is broken down.
  2. In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, lemon zest sugar mixture, and remaining 1¼ cups sugar; mix on medium low speed with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly and there are no lumps.
  3. Add the whipping cream, lemon juice, and vanilla; continue beating on medium low speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the egg yolks; beat until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Tip: Do not overbeat the cheesecake batter. Blend the ingredients quickly to add as few air bubbles as possible. The ingredients must be well blended, but excessive beating creates too many air pockets which can cause the cheesecake to puff up too much during baking, and then crack during the cooling process.
  5. In another large mixing bowl and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold about ¼ of the beaten egg whites into the cheesecake batter to lighten the batter, and then fold in the remaining egg whites.
  6. Let the filling rest about 5 minutes to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil to use for the bain marie water bath.
  8. Bake: Set the foil wrapped springform pan in a larger pan or roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan, and close the oven door. Bake 60 to 80 minutes. Tip: The Cheesecake is done when the edges are set but the center 2 to 3 inches are still a pool of liquid batter. The cake should look as though it has puffed a little and just barely beginning to brown. The center will still be soft and jiggly when the pan is lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon.
  9. Remove from oven, place springform pan on a wire cooling rack to cool. Immediately run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, gently pressing into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. This allows the cake to contract away from the sides of the pan as it cools, helping to prevent cracks.
  10. When cheesecake is completely cooled, cover the pan and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours before serving. Try to avoid having the covering touch the top of the cheesecake as this may mar the surface.
Garnish (optional):
  1. When ready to serve, use a fine-mesh sieve to dust the top of the cheesecake with confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Using a sharp kitchen knife, slice a lemon peel with the white pith removed into very fine threads. Toss with sugar, and sprinkle on top of the cheesecake.
Source: Geary, George, 125 Best Cheesecake Recipes, Robert Rose Inc, Ontario Canada, 2002
Recipe Notes
Pan: One 9" Round Cheesecake Pan Prep: Buttered Starting Oven Temp: 350° Method: bain marie Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

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