Crunchy ginger snap cookies form the base of this ultra-creamy lemon blueberry cheesecake. This cheesecake is flavored with both lemon zest and lemon juice and then swirled with homemade blueberry preserves. It's the perfect balance of sweet and tart!
This lemon blueberry cheesecake is the perfect spring dessert. In fact, I'm making it for our own Easter celebration, party of 3, thanks to coronavirus. It's perfect for a celebration as cheesecakes do take some extra care and time to achieve the best results. I'll outline all the steps you need to take to make sure you have the best tasting and prettiest cheesecake on the block.
How to make the cheesecake
This cheesecake has three components: the ginger snap crust, the lemon cheesecake filling and homemade blueberry preserves. None of these 3 are difficult to make but all will take a little time. To save time, feel free to purchase good quality blueberry preserves if desired or make ahead the blueberry preserves the day before so they are properly chilled.
- For the gingersnap crust, you will simple grind up gingersnap cookies in a food processor or pound them with a can or rolling pin in a zip top bag until they are fine crumbs. Mix the crumbs with some butter and then press them into a 9 inch springform pan. Use a measuring cup to press the crust firmly into the bottom of the pan. This crust makes enough to cover the bottom of the pan but not the sides. If you prefer the crust to go up the sides, then multiple the crust recipe by 1.5. The crust will then bake for 15 minutes before filling it with the cheesecake.
- For the lemon cheesecake filling, you start by mixing softened cream cheese and sugar together until fully combined and creamy. I use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment but you can also use a hand mixer. Then you'll add the eggs beating well after each one. Next comes the lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Mix this in and then finally add your heavy cream and beat until just combined. As with most baked goods, you want to avoid overbeating which would incorporate too much air in the cheesecake and could help cracks to form.
- For the blueberry preserves, combine blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until it thickens. You'll want to stir occasionally and use the back of the spoon to crush the blueberries. I actually used a potato masher to crush some of the blueberries which worked nicely. Once the preserves are thickened, pour them into another bowl and refrigerate at 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes before adding to the cheesecake.
How to assemble the cheesecake
After the crust has cooled slightly, pour the lemon cheesecake filling into the crust. Using chilled blueberry preserves, dollop about half of the preserves on top of the cheesecake filling leaving a little room between dollops. Using a butter knife, run the knife through the preserves swirling it into the filling until you've swirled all the dollops. Reserve the rest of the preserves for serving. Follow the steps below to wrap the cheesecake pan in foil and bake it in a water bath.
How to prevent your cheesecake from cracking on top
I think one of the intimidating things about cheesecake is that people have made them before only to have a huge crack appear on the top of the cake. While the flavor is still the same, unless you have a topping to put over the cake, that crack can be unsightly. The best way to make sure you don’t have a cracked cheesecake is to cook it in a water bath. Cracks appear in cheesecakes due to it cooking too fast or cooling too fast. A water bath will add more moisture to the oven while cooking and allows more even heat to cook the cheesecake. They are simple to do and I highly recommend cooking this cheesecake using the water bath method. You simply take 2 pieces of heavy-duty foil and place your springform pan on top of them. Carefully wrap the foil around the edge of the pan until it is about ¾ up the side of the pan, folding it down as necessary to fit. Make sure that there are no holes in the foil to allow water to seep through and get the cheesecake wet! If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, I would recommend using 3 layers of regular foil.
How to bake a cheesecake in a water bath
Then, you’ll place your foil-wrapped cheesecake pan in a larger roasting pan in the oven. You’ll pour hot water into the roasting pan until it's halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Be careful to not get it past the foil surrounding the pan. I recommend pouring the water into the pan after it’s already in the oven so you don’t slosh it around by moving it from your counter to the oven.
How to store your cheesecake
This cheesecake can be placed in the refrigerator for 3-4 days tightly wrapped. If you need your cheesecake at a later date and wanted to get a head start on making it, you can also make the entire cheesecake and then freeze it. Cool the cheesecake completely and remove it from the springform pan placing it on a cardboard round. Freeze the cheesecake for about an hour uncovered first so that it is cold enough to wrap tightly without squishing it. After an hour or so, remove the cheesecake and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. It should last for about 1 to 2 months like this. To thaw it out, place the cheesecake into the refrigerator the night before you will need to serve it. You can also slice the cake prior to freezing it and freeze individual slices of cheesecake, wrapped in the same way as a whole one.
Tips for the best cheesecake
- Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature before mixing it. If it is still cold, you will likely have little lumps of cream cheese throughout your cheesecake filling. You also want your eggs to be room temperature before adding them as well.
- To cool your cheesecake properly, when it is done cooking, turn the oven off and crack the door open. Let it cool for 1 hour in the water bath in the turned-off oven. Then, remove it and let it cool for another hour on the counter before placing it into the fridge to finish chilling for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. This will prevent it from cooling too quickly and cracking.
- When removing the cheesecake from the outer ring of the springform pan, you may want to run a sharp knife around the edge to make sure it is not sticking to the edge.
- If worse comes to worst and your cheesecake still cracks, remember that the taste should be the same so just cover it with whipped cream or more fruit and no one will know the difference!
- If you want to skip the step of making homemade blueberry preserves to save some time, you can purchase good quality blueberry preserves instead. If the purchased preserves seem too thick to swirl, microwave them for 5-10 seconds before dolloping on top of the cheesecake.
I hope these tips will help you conquer any fears of making a homemade cheesecake. The time is well worth the results! Happy Easter!
Please tag me on Instagram @tarakringlen if you make the cheesecake and leave a review below!
For more cheesecake recipes check out my:
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
- 7 oz gingersnap cookies about 1 ½ cups crushed
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 3 cups blueberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 8 oz packages cream cheese full fat, softened
- 1 ⅓ cup sugar
- 4 Eggs room temperature
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium high heat.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened and crushing some of the blueberries with the back of the spoon.
- Pour into a another bowl and then refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Crush the gingersnap cookies using a food processor or place in a zip top bag and crush them using a rolling pin.
- Combine the crushed gingersnap cookies with the melted butter, stirring until combined. Pour the crumbs into a 9 in spring from pan and press into the bottom of the pan only using fingers or the bottom of a glass to press it down tightly.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- Prepare the springform pan for a water bath. Once the crust has cooled, double wrap the springform pan with 2 layers of heavy duty foil wrapping and folding the edges ¾ up the sides of the pan (see pictures in post).
- Combine the softened cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer) and mix on medium until smooth, about 2-3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add the eggs, mixing well.
- Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix until combined, about 10 seconds
- Pour in the heavy cream and mix until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the crust.
- Dollop about half of the blueberry preserves over the top of the cheesecake batter. Use a knife to gently swirl the blueberry preserves through the cheesecake.
- Place the springform pan into a roasting pan and place in the oven. Carefully pour very hot tap water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan being careful not to get any water between the pan and the foil.
- Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees for 65 to 75 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the middle is still slightly jiggly but the edges are set. You can also use an instant read thermometer inserted into the center. The cheesecake should be about 155 degrees.
- Turn the oven off and prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon. Allow to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water and foil. Cool for another hour on a wire rack.
- Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator, covering the top with foil or plastic wrap and cool at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Serve with the remaining blueberry preserves.
- You can purchase good blueberry preserves instead of making your own.
- The cheesecake will last 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator or you can freeze it either in slices or whole, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil for 1-2 months. Thaw overnight before serving.
- See the tips in the post for preventing cracks in the cheesecake.