Lemon Almond Cheesecake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    10 to 12

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 50 minutes (55 minutes if using a silicone pan with the water bath), plus 1 hour with the oven off

The Golden Lemon Almond Cake from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes is my favorite non-chocolate cake in the book, and I can never resist licking the beater, because the creamy batter is so luscious. This gave me the idea to make a cheesecake version that would maintain a creamy texture after baking. Adding ground almonds contributes an appealingly fluffy texture to the cake; here, toasted almonds are also added to the sponge cake base.

Plan Ahead Make the cheesecake at least 1 day ahead.

Ingredients

Almond Lemon Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
blanched sliced almonds . 2.3 ounces 66 grams
turbinado sugar, preferably Sugar in the Raw 1 cup, divided 7 ounces 200 grams
cream cheese (65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C) cups 1 pound 454 grams
fine sea salt ¼ teaspoon . 1.5 grams
8 (to 12) large egg yolks, at room temperature ½ cup plus 4 teaspoons (138 ml) 5.2 ounces 149 grams
lemon zest, finely grated (from 3 to 5 lemons) 2 tablespoons, loosely packed . 12 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed 2 tablespoons (30 ml) 1.1 ounces 32 grams
pure almond extract 2 teaspoons (10 ml) . .
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . .
pure lemon oil, preferably Boyajian teaspoon (1.5 ml) . .
sour cream 3 cups 25.6 ounces 726 grams

Special Equipment

For the cake base: Two 9½ by 1 inch tart pans, or two 10 by 2 inch round cake pans, bottoms coated with shortening, topped with parchment rounds, then coated with baking spray with flour | Two wire racks | Two wire racks, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray

For the cheesecake: One 9 by 3 inch or 2¾ inch high springform pan, lightly 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

Method

Make the Cake Base

See recipe.

Unmold and Cool the Cake Bases

If necessary, loosen the sides with the tip of a sharp knife. Unmold the cakes at once. Invert the pans onto the coated wire racks and lift off the pans. Leaving the parchment in place, reinvert onto the uncoated wire racks. Let the cakes cool completely. Reinvert the cakes onto the coated wire racks and peel off the parchment.

Trim the Cake Base

Set the base of the springform pan or a 9 inch cardboard round on top of one of the cake base layers. Use scissors to trim the base to fit snugly within the springform pan. (Wrap the extra cake base tightly in plastic wrap and reserve for another use.)

Line the Cake Pan

Set the cake base on the bottom of the pan, or cut off the rounded edges of the ladyfingers and arrange them on the bottom of the pan, placing them, crust sides down, and cutting or tearing smaller pieces to fit into any gaps. Cover the pan with plastic wrap while making the filling.

Optional

Thinner Cake Base The biscuit layer will be a little more than ½ inch high. The biscuit as a base will compress to about ¼ inch by the weight of the cheesecake filling. If you prefer a thinner layer, split it in half, using a long serrated knife held horizontally to make a shallow cut halfway down the sides all the way around. Using this cut as a track for the knife, with a sawing motion, slice from one side all the way through to the other. As you proceed, be sure to check that the far end of the blade has stayed in the groove.

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.

Toast and Grind the Almonds

Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Cool completely, and then process until fairly fine. Add ¼ cup/1.8 ounces/50 grams of the sugar and process until very fine.

Bake the Cake

Set the 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 25 minutes (30 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 the cake 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 4 hours or overnight. (The filling needs to be very firm before you pour on the topping.) Remove the cake from the refrigerator and remove the plate, paper towel, and silicone pan or foil before making the lemon curd topping.

Make the Filling

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the cream cheese, the remaining ¾ cup of sugar, and the salt 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 zest, lemon juice, almond extract, vanilla, and lemon oil and beat until incorporated. Add the sour cream and the almond mixture, and 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 pan and smooth the surface evenly with an offset spatula.

Make the Lemon Curd Glaze

See recipe.

Apply the Glaze

For the smoothest topping, use the glaze immediately by pouring it quickly onto the chilled cheesecake. Shake the pan from side to side to even the topping. If necessary, smooth the topping with a small offset spatula. Let it sit for 15 minutes to allow the steam to escape from the topping.

Refrigerate the cheesecake, covered again with a paper towel, curved side down, and plate, for at least 2 hours before unmolding.

Unmold the Cake

Remove the plate and paper towel. 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. If the sides of the cheesecake are uneven, run a small metal spatula under hot water, dry it, and use it to smooth them.

Store

Airtight: refrigerated, 5 days. Do not freeze, because the texture will become less smooth.

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