Citrus Cheesecake Recipe

by Alice Currah on September 10, 2010

Happy Friday everyone! I have a very special recipe for you today prepared by my good friend, Aimée Bourque. Aimée is a devoted mom and food writer, editor for Simple Bites.  Today she shares with us one of her most popular recipes – citrus cheesecake.  I thank you in advance Aimée for what I know will be one of the best cheesecakes, ever!

Citrus Cheesecake- Guest Post by Aimée Bourque

At the age of seventeen, I was working my first restaurant job as the “salad and dessert” girl.  I was always the first to get slammed with orders, and later in the shift, as the minutes ticked towards midnight, and the chef was already enjoying a cold beer, I would always have more desserts to plate, even though my feet were ready to call it a night.  In between tossing Caesar salads and scooping sorbet, I had the most important job in the house, that’s right, washing dishes.

A professional kitchen is a tough environment for anyone, let alone a sheltered teenager. Still, night after night, I just ducked my head and worked as hard as I possibly could; after all, there was an occasional slice of The Cheesecake to hold out for.

Although I never made the revered citrus cheesecake at the restaurant, as I arrived at work only for the evening rush, I managed to secure the coveted recipe when I moved on to “pursue other interests”, i.e. a certain boy in Montreal – which turned out to be really handy for getting his attention.  Since I ended up marrying him, getting that recipe was probably the smartest move of my entire teenage years.

Now, I’ve probably made this cheesecake 75 times over the past 15 years.  It has graced the sweet table at baby showers, church luncheons, graduation celebrations and birthday parties galore.  No matter the event, it is always a suitable dessert, and no matter the company, no one can resist a slice.

Here are my tips for the best cheesecake:

Have all ingredients at room temperature. The cream cheese must be whipped into submission, and the best way to do that is to let it sit on the counter for a few hours before you start making this cake.  Having room temperature ingredients ensures that the cheesecake will cook evenly, plus it cuts down on the cooking time.

Do not overbeat after the eggs are added. Yes, the eggs need to be fully incorporated, but with a light hand!

Use a paddle attachment to mix the filling. A beater will incorporate too much air, causing cracks later in the cheesecake. Your best choice is a paddle.

Don’t overdo the crust, and pack it well. A cheesecake that is one-third crust is no fun. I keep it fairly thin, but sturdy, and do not push the crust up the sides of the cheesecake. For a simple way to tamp the crust down, I use the flat bottom of a water tumbler.

Do not over bake. Don’t worry if the center is still slightly wobbly when you take it out of the oven; it will firm up if allowed to set for the suggested time. Don’t worry about cracks, browning, blisters or any of it; the sour cream topping will hide a multitude of imperfections.<

Cool at room temperature, and then chill. And chill well! Ideally, refrigerate the cheesecake overnight before serving.

Use a hot knife to cut the cheesecake. To get a pretty and tidy slice, run a sharp knife under hot water, give it a quick wipe with a clean tea towel, and then slice the cheesecake. Repeat process for each cut.

This cheesecake needs no embellishment, but should you wish to dress it up, it pairs beautifully with fresh berries, or, my favorite, homemade blueberry syrup.

Recipe: Citrus Cheesecake

Makes a 9-inch round, serves between 8 and 16, depending on how generous you are.



1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted


675 grams (24 oz) cream cheese (not quite 3 packages)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of one lemon (wash before zesting)
Zest and juice of one orange (wash before zesting)
5 large eggs, room temperature


1 1/2 cups sour cream
Zest and juice of one orange
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F.
For the crust:
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and mix with a spatula until butter is evenly distributed. Dump into a nine-inch spring-form pan. Shake the pan to distribute the damp crumbs evenly, and then pack down well.
Bake crust for about 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Cool.

For the filling:

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream, citrus zest and citrus juice. Mix well.

Add eggs, one at a time, combining after each addition, but not too vigorously. Pour filling over crumb crust and bake for about 50-60 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly,

Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring. Cool for 15 minutes on the counter.

Meanwhile, prepare topping.

For the topping:

Combine sour cream, citrus zest, citrus juice and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour over slightly cooled cheesecake and let stand for half an hour at room temperature.
Cover cheesecake pan tightly with plastic wrap, taking care not to disturb the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.

To serve:

Remove plastic wrap and lift off the outer edge of the spring form pan. If desired, side a sharp knife under the crust and slide the cheesecake off the spring form base and onto a cake stand or serving platter.

Using a hot knife, as suggested above, slice the cheesecake into portions and serve. Enjoy!


Cooking has always been Aimée’s preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she traded her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters, cloth diapers and a laptop. On her blog, Simple Bites, she loves nurturing others in the kitchen, to help elevate cooking from chore to muse. She writes from the gastronomical hotspot of Montréal, Canada, where she lives with her husband Danny and sons, Noah and Mateo.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Fabio September 10, 2010 at 5:08 am

Wow… seems very good! I’ll try it as soon as possible!


Jessica @ How Sweet September 10, 2010 at 6:35 am

These are awesome tips – I have only made cheesecake once and it was kind of a disaster!


Catherine September 10, 2010 at 8:55 am

This is my first visit to Savory Sweet Life and now I have to check out Simple Bites too. That’s what I love about guest posts – two new blogs!
Wow, this cheesecake looks and sounds delicious. I love your story about working at the restaurant.
I have never made cheesecake before but with your pointers and this recipe I think I will give it a try!


Barbara Bakes September 10, 2010 at 9:22 am

What a fabulous recipe. I’m so glad she shared it with you and your readers.


Christy Denney September 10, 2010 at 9:57 am

This looks so yummy. I will have to give it a go for sure.


Heather (Heather's Dish) September 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

i feel like i can taste this already!


Elita September 10, 2010 at 11:16 am

I love cheesecake! I make a to-die-for pumpkin cheesecake, but honestly citrus sounds pretty delicious as well. Yum yum.


Cody September 10, 2010 at 11:19 am

Oh, that sounds heavenly. Thanks to Aimee for the tips, I’m still largely intimidated by cheesecake, but I really want to master it.


Eliana September 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Thanks for all the cheesecake making tips and tricks. Your cheesecake looks like it turned out picture perfect.


Michelle September 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Looks wonderful. Thanks for the great tip on using a hot knife to cut the cheesecake. I’d never thought of doing that and my slices never look the way I want. I’ll definitely try it next time.


Maria September 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Lovely cheesecake! Thanks for sharing!


SouffleBombay September 10, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Man that cheesecake looks good! I am just a so so fan of cheesecake and often make them for others w/pot taking a bite…..The citrus in this one has me though! I think I need to make this AND have the first slice!!!
Thanks for the great recipe Aimee (and cool story to go with it) Thanks for sharing Alice!!!!


Vanessa Yu September 11, 2010 at 9:51 am

Yum, this cheesecake looks and sounds delicious. I will have to try this one for my husband’s birthday that is right around the corner. Do I have to use a cheesecake pan? or can I get away with using something else?


Aimee @ Simple Bites September 11, 2010 at 11:26 am

Vanessa, you really do need the spring form pan. It’s a great investment, or if you know you won’t be making cheesecake often, borrow on from a friend. Enjoy!


Aimee @ Simple Bites September 11, 2010 at 11:26 am

Vanessa, you really do need the pan, think of it as an investment, or borrow one from a friend! Enjoy!


sara September 11, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Mmmm, this cheesecake looks SO decadent and delicious. I love citrus-y cheesecakes…the creamy texture goes so well with slightly sour flavors!


marla {family fresh cooking} September 12, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks for all these great cheesecake tips, sounds like it was well worth holding out for on those busy restaurant nights!


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. September 12, 2010 at 11:27 am

This looks amazing and I love all of the great information you included. Awesome photo too!


Miss@Miss in the Kitchen September 12, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Cheesecake is my favorite and this one looks amazing. Great tips for baking cheesecakes!


Shaina September 13, 2010 at 10:41 am

This looks lovely, Aimee! I am a huge fan of the citrus and sour cream topping. I can’t wait to make it for my neighbor, the cheesecake addict.


Maris September 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

Yum! Feel free to smuggle some of this on the plane to BlogHer Food :)


Elizabeth September 13, 2010 at 11:34 am

Yum yum yum Aimee! Tis does sound mighty delicious and since no matter what I do it always cracks, I love hat there is a topping to cover it all up! Yay!

I feel ya on being salad and dessert girl. I had the same job at around 17 (having worked my way up from dish pig, thank you very much) and it always amazed me that I was first in the kitchen and last one out! It was a great experience though and I know we both treasure that time…:)


Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles September 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I love to make cheesecake. And I love to eat it even more. This looks so lovely, can’t wait to try it!


Joe @ Eden Kitchen September 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm

yum, I love a good cheesecake. this one looks absolutely delicious! thanks :)


Haute Muslimah September 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm

There’s only one cheesecake I’ve ever liked, but I think this might be the second! The tips in the beginning are so helpful.


Tickled Red September 14, 2010 at 8:30 am

Nummy!! I adore cheesecake, but then again I’m cheesy :) I can’t wait to give this one a try. I like the orange along with the lemon.


Rita Reyes September 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Congratulations on making one of the top food blogs!

Gluten Free


Delishhh September 14, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Fabulous! I am always curious about cheesecakes and the temperature of the oven. I have made cheesecake in 500F degree oven and then 200, or just simply in 350 degree oven. For me they turn out the same. Know the difference?


Cherine September 15, 2010 at 2:59 am

The cheesecake looks fabulous!


Jen @ How To: Simplify September 17, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Cheesecake is definitely my weakness! I would love a huge slice of this right now!


Kristen September 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I love Aimee & cheesecake! What a wonderful combination of flavors.


Corinna July 26, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Baking a cheesecake reminds me of my mother-in-law’s famous recipe. Hers also calls for the cake to be baked in a spring form pan, but it also calls for it to be baked in a warm bath. Is that not necessary with yours?

Also, I do not own a stand mixer. Should I invest in one? Can I not use an electric hand mixer to achieve the same result?


BENARO January 24, 2012 at 1:30 am



Martin January 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

How much in grams are the Graham cracker crumbs, for us non americans?


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