Fourth of July Cheesecake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 18 to 25 minutes for the red velvet cake base; 45 minutes (50 minutes if using a silicone pan with the water bath), plus 1 hour with the oven off, for the cheesecake

What could be a more perfect celebration cake than a layer of red velvet cake topped with tangy, creamy cheesecake, encased in a complementary white chocolate cream cheese frosting and gilded with juicy fresh blueberries? The filling is a basic cheesecake recipe that can also be used interchangeably with different crusts and toppings.

Plan Ahead Make the cheesecake at least 1 day ahead of serving.


Cheesecake Filling

cream cheese (65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C) cups 1 pound 454 grams
granulated sugar 1 cup 7 ounces 200 grams
8 (to 12) large egg yolks, at room temperature ½ cup plus 4 teaspoons (138 ml) 5.2 ounces 149 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed 3 tablespoons (44 ml) 1.7 ounces 47 grams
pure vanilla extract ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml) . .
fine sea salt ¼ teaspoon . 1.5 grams
sour cream 3 cups 25.6 ounces 726 grams

Raspberry Preserves Coating

seedless raspberry preserves ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons 4.2 ounces 118 grams

Fresh Blueberry Topping

fresh blueberries cups 12 ounces 340 grams
arrowroot or cornstarch 1 tablespoon . 9 grams
granulated sugar ¼ cup 1.8 ounces 50 grams
water ½ cup (118 ml) 4.2 ounces 118 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed ½ tablespoon (7.5 ml) . 8 grams

Special Equipment

For the red velvet cake and composing: One 10 by 2 inch round cake pan, encircled with a cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment round, then coated with baking spray with flour | One 9 by 2 inch round cake pan for composing the cake | A small pastry bag fitted with a ¼ inch open star decorating tip (number 22) | A single-edge razor blade or thin sharp knife

For the cheesecake: One 9 by 2½ inch or higher springform pan, bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment round, then coated with nonstick cooking spray, set in a slightly larger silicone pan or wrapped with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil to prevent seepage | One 12 inch round cake pan or a roasting pan to serve as a water bath


Make the Red Velvet Cake Base

See recipe.

Bake the Cake

Bake for 18 to 25 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cake

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and then invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Reinvert so that the top side is up. Cool completely.

Make the Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

See recipe.

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Make the Filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the egg yolks, beating until smooth and scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. On medium-low speed, add the lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and beat until incorporated. Add the sour cream. Continue beating just until fully blended, about 20 to 30 seconds. Detach the whisk beater and use it to reach down and whisk in any mixture that has settled to the bottom of the bowl.

Using a silicone spatula, scrape the filling into the prepared springform pan and smooth the surface evenly with an offset spatula.

Bake the Cake

Set the springform pan into the larger pan and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Bake for 25 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around. Continue baking for 20 minutes (25 minutes if using the silicone pan). Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cake cool for 1 hour. When the pan is moved, the center will jiggle slightly.

Chill the Cake

Remove the pan from the water bath, but leave the silicone pan or foil in place to catch any liquid that may seep from the cake. Set it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature or just until warm, about 1 to 2 hours. To absorb condensation, place a paper towel, curved side down, over the pan with the ends overhanging. Place an inverted plate, larger than the springform pan, on top of the paper towel.

Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6 hours or overnight. (The filling needs to be very firm before you complete the assembly of the cake.)

Compose the Cake

If serving the cake the same day, you can leave the sides unfrosted to reveal the beautiful layers. Alternatively, frosting the sides of the cake will keep it moist for longer storage.

Place a piece of plastic wrap, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, on top of the cheesecake. Set the 9 inch cake pan, bottom side down, on top of the cake. Invert the cake together with the pan and set the pan on a counter. Remove the springform pan bottom and the parchment and blot any moisture from the cake with a paper towel. Wash and dry the pan bottom.

Using a small offset spatula, spread about 3 tablespoons of the raspberry preserves onto the bottom of the cheesecake.

Transfer the red velvet cake, top side up, to a cutting board. If the cake is not perfectly flat, use a long serrated knife to level it to ¾ inch high. Place the springform pan bottom on top as a guide. Using the single-edge razor blade, trim the cake to a 9 inch disc. Begin by lightly scoring the top of the cake and then score the cake a little deeper each time, keeping the blade straight up and down, not angled, until you cut completely through the cake.

Reinvert the cake and, using the removable bottom of a tart pan lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, or two large pancake turners, set the red velvet cake on top of the cheesecake. Position the cake so that its sides are flush with the cheesecake’s sides. Place a serving plate on top of the cake. Slip the palm of your hand under the 9 inch cake pan and, holding the bottom of the serving plate with your other hand, quickly reinvert the cake.

Slide a few wide strips of parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Carefully spread as much of the remaining raspberry preserves as necessary onto the sides of the red velvet cake to seal in the crumbs. Slide out the parchment strips and use a paper towel to wipe any preserves from the serving plate. Slide a clean set of parchment strips under the cake and carefully apply a thin layer of the buttercream to the red velvet cake as an undercoat. Wipe off any red-tinted frosting from the spatula before frosting the rest of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes to firm up the undercoat. Reserve ¾ cup/5.7 ounces/162 grams of the buttercream for piping, if desired. Use the remainder of the buttercream to frost the top and sides of the cake. (You will have about 1 cup left over, which can be refrigerated or frozen for future use.) Work quickly because the cold cheesecake will cause the buttercream to set. Slowly slide the parchment strips out from under the cake.

If desired, pipe a border of stars or shells around the top edge of the cake.

Refrigerate the cake for a minimum of 20 minutes to firm up the buttercream. Up to 6 hours before serving, make the blueberry topping.

Make the Frosting

In a food processor, process the cream cheese, butter, and crème fraîche for a few seconds until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cooled melted chocolate and pulse several times until it is smoothly incorporated. Add the vanilla and pulse it in.

Make the Raspberry Preserves Coating

Heat the raspberry preserves in a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a whisk every 15 seconds (or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly), until the preserves are smooth and fluid. Using a spoon or silicone spatula, press them through a strainer into a small bowl. If necessary, whisk in a tiny bit of water so that they are fluid.

Unmold the Cheesecake

Remove the plate, paper towel, and silicone pan or foil. Use a small torch or wipe the sides of the pan with a dish towel that has been run under hot water and wrung out. Release the sides of the springform pan.

Make the Blueberry Topping

Have ready a strainer or colander large enough to hold the berries suspended over a medium bowl.

Rinse the berries and dry well with paper towels. Place them in a bowl.

In a small saucepan, mix the arrowroot and sugar. Stir in the water and lemon juice and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until clear and thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and add the blueberries, tossing until coated.

Transfer the coated berries to the strainer, drain, and discard any glaze not clinging to the berries. Let the berries cool until no longer warm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Carefully spoon them onto the top of the cake and arrange them in a single layer.

Refrigerate the cake until about 40 minutes before serving time. Run a knife blade under hot water and wipe it dry between each cut. This makes it possible to cut through the firm buttercream and keeps the red from the red velvet cake from staining the ivory color of the cheesecake. Let the slices soften for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.


Airtight: refrigerated, 5 days without the blueberry topping (3 days with the blueberry topping). Do not freeze, because the texture of the cheesecake will become less smooth.

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