I am not a baker.
Correction. I can bake. Anyone can bake. Like any forming of cooking, it takes patience and practice to get good at it. I don’t have as much practice baking because I don’t gravitate to it like I do other forms of cooking. With the exception of Yorkshire pudding, or recent experiments with a granola bar and spaetzle, I do not bake a lot.
So I decided for Easter that I should step out of my comfort zone. Since Ron handles the turkey, dressing and potatoes, and our company was bringing a vegetable and a salad, I figured I should treat everyone with a nice spring Easter treat. A lemon-lime cheesecake sounded like the perfect spring flavours for an Easter feast.
First I did some research on baking cheesecakes. After all, I did not want to spoil a great meal with a less-than-perfect dessert. I have done them in the past, but it has been several years since my son and I used to make Oreo cheesecakes – at his request. He is a natural baker!
Some tips that will help you succeed. When making a cheesecake, have your ingredients at room temperature, particularly the cheese. If it isn’t at room temperature, microwave the cheese blocks to get them to room temperature.
Get the mixture blended fully, with no lumps, before adding the eggs last. Do the eggs one at a time, and only blend until they are mixed in. Don’t over-blend at this point or air will get into the batter and result in cracks.
I used a glass baking dish, which I lined with aluminum foil so the cheesecake was very easy to cut and get out of the dish. Without the foil, I find the cake sticks to the dish.
With a glass baking dish, I recommend reducing the cooking time by by 5-10 minutes. A glass baking dish holds the heat so needs less time than other baking pans like a springform pan. I baked mine for only 30 minutes, 10 minutes less than called for in the recipe below. I also have a convection oven, which usually requires a little less time for baked goods. Over-baking can dry out the cake and also results in cracks.
Once the cake is done, cool it completely on a cooling rack before putting it in the fridge. This ensures the crust doesn’t get soggy. I then chilled it for four hours to set, before serving it.
This recipe is originally from MasterChef Canada and features light spring flavours of lemon and lime. I prefer desserts that aren’t too sweet, so this was ideal for me, and our company enjoyed it as well.
I encourage you to try it – I did! And experiment if you like, with different kinds of crumb crusts, or different flavours than lemon or lime.
Let me know how you do with a comment below, or a note on Twitter (@theardizan) or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/theardizan).
Happy Easter, and if you don’t celebrate Easter, Happy Spring Baking!
- 1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 3 pkg (250 g each) cream cheese
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp zest and 2 tbsp juice from 1 lemon
- zest and juice from 1 lime
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp flour
- 3 eggs
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter; press into parchment lined 9-inch springform pan, or 8 inch glass baking dish lined with aluminum foil.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer until blended.
- Add lemon zest and juice, lime zest and juice, and vanilla; mix well. Blend in flour. Mix until smooth.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed after each just until blended.
- Pour over crust.
- Bake 35 to 40 minutes (less if using glass baking dish) or until centre is almost set. If using a springform pan, run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake; cool before removing rim.
- Cool the cake on a cooling rack completely before refrigerating; refrigerate for four hours before serving.
Serve with whipping cream if desired.