That’s right, you didn’t misread the title, “Limoncello Cheesecake!” Sure, you can bake a lemon cheesecake, but if you want to make someone feel really special, bake them a Limoncello Cheesecake instead!
This has been my go-to recipe for birthdays this year. I created this recipe for Nena’s best friend, Sonora, who requested a lemon cheesecake for her birthday. Nena suggested the shortbread crust.
Being the rebel that I am, I decided to add limoncello. Sonora said it was the best cheesecake she’d ever had.
Fast-forward to last week, when we got to celebrate Scott’s cousin’s 80th birthday. I know, she doesn’t look a day over 60, does she? Marguerite loves my Limoncello, so it only made sense to bake her a Limoncello Cheesecake too.
Limoncello Cheesecake or not?
So what if you don’t have limoncello, or you don’t consume alcohol? How can you make the proper adjustments so that you can still enjoy this recipe? Glad you asked!
A very simple substitution would be to replace the amount of Limoncello used in this recipe with an equal amount of freshly squeezed lemon juice. That way you still have the lemony flavor but without the alcohol.
Cheesecake Substitution Ideas
I always like to provide other ideas for you to play around with. Obviously, you can stick with my original recipe. But if you want to try different variations, read on!
Limoncello Cheesecake Batter Mix-Ins.
I also baked this cheesecake for Scott for Father’s day this year. Scott asked if I could incorporate lemon cookies into the cheesecake. I
I crumbled up some of the cookies and added them to the batter before baking the cheesecake. It was a really nice twist. The cookies soften during the cooking process and just melt in your mouth!
If you want your cheesecake to look more lemony, try adding a few drops of yellow food coloring. To boost the lemony flavor, try adding a teaspoon of lemon extract.
Other Cheesecake Crust Options
Although my latest kick has been shortbread crusts, there are other options you can use instead. For starters, you can stick with a graham cracker crust (made with graham cracker crumbs mixed with melted butter).
Another yummy idea is to use a brownie crust, like the one used in my Kahlua Coffee Cheesecake recipe.
If these three ideas don’t leave you excited, sheesh you’re hard to please. But seriously, you can make a crust with your favorite cookies (just mix the crushed cookies with melted butter and press into the Springform Pan). Here’s the pan I recommend. Lemon cookies would be perfect to use in this recipe!
Decorating and Topping Suggestions
If you decide to mix lemon cookies in the batter, use some of the cookies to decorate the edges of the cake.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not very talented when it comes to decorating cakes. I think it has something to do with my lack of patience. Using cookies is a great way to embellish the cake.
Another idea is to use edible flowers (like the Nasturtiums I used to decorate Sonora’s cake). I once used Pineapple Chips to decorate my friend Rose’s birthday carrot cake. She was so impressed that I felt guilty!
Of course, you can skip the embellishments altogether since the lemon curd is gorgeous enough!
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Creamy, rich, and deliriously delicious Limoncello Cheesecake
- ½ cup Butter softened
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 cup flour
- 3 (8 oz) cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 T. lemon zest
- 3 large eggs
- 3 T. limoncello
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 T. limoncello
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. lemon zest
- 3 T. butter
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Using an electric mixer, cream softened butter, then mix in sugar until blended.
Add lemon zest until combined.
Finally, add flour, and mix until blended.
Press shortbread dough into a 9″ springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden around the edges.
Meanwhile, clean mixing bowl, then add softened and cubed cream cheese. Mix until creamy.
Add sugar, and zest, and mix to incorporate.
Mix in one egg at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Add limoncello and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
When ready, remove shortbread crust from the oven. Pour the cheesecake filling into the pan. Gently tap on the counter a few times to settle the filling.
Fill a pie tin with some water and place on the bottom shelf of the oven to create steam while the cheesecake cooks. This helps to keep the cheesecake from cracking.
Place cheesecake on the middle rack and bake at 350-degrees F. for approximately one hour, or until the cake has fully risen, and there is no indent in the center of the cheesecake. Sometimes it's necessary to turn off the heat and leave the cheesecake in the oven so that the center is fully cooked.
Remove cheesecake from the oven and leave on the counter (uncovered) until completely cool.
While the cheesecake is baking, add all lemon curd ingredients (except butter) into a small saucepan. Whisk over low heat until smooth.
Add butter and continue to whisk over low to medium heat until the lemon curd thickens. Allow to cool.
When the cake has cooled off, spread lemon curd over it and smooth it out.
Chill in the refrigerator for approximately four hours or overnight before serving.