This Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake is perfect for this time of year, where citrus season ends and berry season begins! This beauty is the perfect mashup of winter and spring, and it's pink lemonade vibes are perfect for summer, too!
This Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake is a dream of textures and flavors! The lemon cheesecake is swirled with a homemade raspberry sauce, all in a classic graham cracker crust!
Here's everything you need to make this beauty! Measurements for each of the ingredients are included in the recipe card, below.
Raspberry Sauce Ingredients
- Raspberries - For lovely flavor. I used fresh berries. If you use frozen, the sauce may be a little thinner, which may require you to cook the sauce for a bit longer to get the appropriate consistency.
- Sugar - For sweetness.
- Lemon Juice - The acidity of the lemon juice helps to balance the sweetness, and enhances the taste of the berries.
- Lemon Zest - For flavor. You only want to include the yellow part of the rind, none of the bitter white pith!
- Graham Cracker Crumbs - For flavor and structure for the crust. You will need two cups of crumbs. If you're crushing whole graham crackers, you will need about 15 of them.
- Sugar - For sweetness, and to help the crust hold together.
- Unsalted Butter, Melted - To bind the graham cracker crumbs together. Also imparts buttery flavor to the crust.
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Lemon Cheesecake Ingredients
- Cream Cheese - For the dominant flavor and texture of the cheesecake! I use full-fat cream cheese.
- Sugar - For sweetness.
- Eggs - For thickening and structure for the cheesecake. The eggs also lend the cheesecake an extra smooth and rich texture.
- Sour Cream - Softens the texture of the cheesecake and adds moisture. I use full-fat sour cream.
- Heavy (Whipping) Cream - Softens the texture of the cheesecakes and adds moisture, and gives you the creamiest cheesecake!
- Lemon Zest - For flavor.
- Lemon Extract Paste - For a punch of lemon flavor without adding much liquid! If you'd like, you can substitute with an equal measure of lemon extract and/or additional lemon zest.
Whipped Cream Ingredients
- Heavy (Whipping) Cream - Can't make whipped cream without it! 😀
- Powdered Sugar - For sweetness. I prefer using powdered sugar because it dissolves so well, and because the small amount of cornstarch in powdered sugar helps the whipped cream to hold its shape for longer.
- Vanilla Bean Paste - For amazing flavor! I also love the little black flecks that it leaves in the whipped cream. If you'd rather substitute, you can use an equal measure of vanilla extract.
Here are step-by-step instructions for this cheesecake! More detailed instructions are included in the recipe card, below.
Making the Raspberry Sauce
The fresh raspberry sauce cooks low and slow for the best flavor!Just combine all the raspberry sauce ingredients in a saucepan and cook until the mixture starts to thicken. Allow to cool slightly.
Hint: If you'd rather not make the raspberry sauce yourself, you can use 1-1.5 cups of the raspberry jam of your choice. Depending on the consistency of the jam, you may need to warm the jam and/or thin it with a little water so that you can swirl it into the cheesecake
Making the Graham Cracker Crust
To make the crust:
- Combine graham crackers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely ground.
- Add melted butter and pulse to incorporate. Press the mixture into a greased springform pan.
Making the Lemon Cheesecake
This cheesecake bakes in a water bath to ensure gentle, even baking and to help to avoid cracks in the top of your cheesecake. Definitely check out the recipe notes for details on baking in a water bath! To make the cheesecake:
- Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a stand mixer and mix to release the oils from the zest.
- Add cream cheese and mix until smooth and creamy. Next, add eggs one at a time and mix to incorporate.
- Add sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon extract paste. Mix to incorporate.
- Pour half the filling into the crust and top with half the raspberry sauce. Pour in the remaining cheesecake filling, and dollop with the remaining raspberry sauce. Swirl the raspberry sauce throughout the cheesecake.
- Wrap the pan in foil and place in a water bath. Bake until cheesecake is just set, but still wobbly in the center. Turn off the oven. With the oven door slightly ajar, leave the cheesecake to slowly cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool on a rack to room temperature. Once at room temperature, chill the cheesecake for at least 4 hours.
Once the cheesecake is chilled, you can prepare the whipped cream and finish the cheesecake! I garnished mine with lemon slices, fresh raspberries, and mint leaves.
Here are a few easy substitutions you can make to this recipe if you prefer:
- Instead of Sugar in the Raspberry Sauce - If you'd like you can replace the sugar in the raspberry sauce with honey for a more floral flavor.
- Instead of Lemon Extract Paste - If you'd like, you can substitute with an equal measure of lemon extract and/or additional lemon zest.
- Instead of Raspberries - A delicious option to vary this flavor, and totally in keeping with the pink lemonade vibe, would be to use strawberries instead of raspberries!
- Instead of Vanilla Bean Paste - I love the kick of vanilla flavor and the beautiful vanilla bean flecks from vanilla bean paste! If you'd prefer, you can substitute with an equal measure of vanilla extract.
Here are a few things you'll need to make this recipe:
- Food Processor - While not entirely necessary to grind the graham crackers, it is much easier! If you don't have a food processor, just smash them as finely as possible with a rolling pin.
- 9" Springform Pan - I used a 9" springform pan for this recipe. You could try to use a regular 9" round cake pan, but the cheesecake will be much harder to slice and serve!
- Microplane Zester - Most people already have a grater/zester of some kind, but this is my favorite one.
- Large Roasting Pan - You will need a pan large enough to place the springform pan down inside of for the water bath. Without one, you can place a smaller pan of water on the rack beneath the cheesecake in the oven, but it doesn't provide the same security for creamy cheesecake with no cracks as a water bath.
Once complete and garnished, the covered cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for about five days (if it lasts that long).
For long-term storage, wrap the plain cheesecake (with no whipped cream/berries) well and store in the freezer for up to three months! To thaw, just place in the refrigerator 8-12 hours before you plan to serve it.
Yes! If you'd rather not make the raspberry sauce yourself, you can use 1-1.5 cups of the raspberry jam of your choice. Depending on the consistency of the jam, you may need to thin it with a little water so that you can swirl it into the cheesecake.
You can use whatever lemons you prefer! This recipe was inspired by the "pink" lemons that you see in the photos, but it would still be delicious with regular lemons! For a sweeter, less tart lemon kick, try meyer lemons!
If you want the cheesecake to turn out like mine--super creamy with no cracks--then yes! The water bath method does take additional time, but the result is outstanding!
The flavors and textures of this cheesecake are to die for! I would have eaten the entire thing if left unattended. I hope that you'll try this recipe, and...there's no need to share if you don't want to. 😉
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Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake
- 8 oz raspberries (about 2 cups; see note)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 15 whole crackers)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 7 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Garnish (if desired)
- lemon slices
For Raspberry Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries start to fall apart and the mixture starts to thicken, 15-20 minutes. You want the sauce to be thin enough to swirl into the cheesecake, but not runny. If it gets too thick, you can thin it out with a little water. Allow to cool slightly.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9" springform pan (see note) and set aside.
- Combine graham crackers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground.
- Add melted butter and pulse to incorporate, making sure the mixture is completely coated in butter. Press the mixture into the bottom and 1-2 inches up the sides of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- Combine the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Run the mixer on low for a few minutes to release the flavor from the zest into the sugar.
- Add the cream cheese and mix on low speed at first, then increase to medium until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add eggs, one at a time, allowing the first egg to incorporate before adding the second. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon extract paste (see note). Mix to incorporate.
- Pour half the filling into the prepared crust and top with dollops of half the raspberry sauce. Pour in the remaining cheesecake filling, and dollop the top with the remaining raspberry sauce. With a thin knife, swirl the raspberry sauce throughout the cheesecake. Make sure that your knife is deep enough in the cheesecake to swirl throughout, but not so deep as to disturb the crust.
- Wrap the bottom and up the sides of the pan in at least two layers of heavy-duty foil to keep the water bath out of the cheesecake (see note on springform pan).
- Place the cheesecake in a water bath (see notes) in the preheated oven. Bake until cheesecake is just set, but still wobbly in the center, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven. With the oven door slightly ajar, leave the cheesecake to slowly cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the pan from the oven and run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake to be sure it is released from the pan. Allow the cheesecake to cool on a rack to room temperature. Once at room temperature, chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
For Whipped Cream:
- Place cold heavy cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until the cream thickens and forms peaks. Add vanilla bean paste (see note), and mix to incorporate.
- Pipe or dollop the whipped cream onto the chilled cheesecake. Garnish with lemon slices and raspberries, if desired.
- Once complete and garnished, the covered cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for about five days (if it lasts that long).For long-term storage, wrap the plain cheesecake (with no whipped cream/berries) well and store in the freezer for up to three months! To thaw, just place in the refrigerator 8-12 hours before you plan to serve it.Enjoy!
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate.