One of my favorite shortcuts to great cheesecake is the mini lemon cheesecakes. I love the lemon glaze and the way it compliments the tartness of the cream cheese. I also love how easy it is to make these individual portions. It’s less cook time and there is no slicing necessary. Each of the mini lemon cheesecakes are delicious, lemony and tart little masterpieces and are a favorite lemon cheesecake recipe everyone loves.
If you have never attempted a cheesecake at home before, I can help you with the steps in this recipe and some tips on other forms of cheesecake. Here I’ll share the core principles of baking a cheesecake, why I love these mini lemon cheesecakes instead of a full-sized version, and even how to make cheesecake bars.
Can You Put Lemon Curd on a Cheesecake?
You sure can and it is amazing. That’s basically what this recipe is, although the glaze is a little different in texture to traditional lemon curd. Still, the ingredients are the same. Lemon makes such an incredible component to add to a cheesecake because cheesecake already has a tanginess to it that the bright citrusy lemon flavor can latch onto and enhance.
The sugary sweetness combined with the sour of the lemon is among the most highly prized fruity dessert toppings. Traditional lemon curd tends to be sweeter as it is made with Meyer lemons which are a cross between lemons and oranges or mandarins.
Lemon curd has a distinct texture that separates it from the glaze of this recipe, although the flavors are the same. True lemon curd is a thick silky spread similar to custard. In England where lemon curd serves as a spread for scones at tea time, it is referred to as lemon cheese. Like lemon curd, my lemon glaze goes over the top of the mini cheesecakes after it has a chance to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
How to make Lemon Cheesecake
Lemon cheesecake like many other cheesecakes is a layered dessert with cheesecake making up the primary layer and another layer for the topping. Unlike other more complicated cheesecake recipes that have ribbons of flavors and other ingredients running through them, lemon cheesecake has straightforward anatomy of crust, cheesecake, and lemon glaze or curd. So, the first thing you need to do is break down what needs to be done for each of these separate components to the dish.
When you make any cheesecake you must first start with the right temperature for your dairy ingredients. You need room temperature eggs and butter or the cake is likely to crack in the oven. Typically with a cheesecake, you want to use a round springform cake pan, or a mini cheesecake pan. When you take the cake out, the springform pan is a reliable way to remove the pan from the cake rather than vice versa. It helps keep everything intact.
To bake the cake, make sure you use a water bath and protect the pan in foil. This too helps to avoid cracking. The cake is ready when the edges are browned and the center still juggles a little bit. The glossiness of the cream cheese becomes muted as well during baking.
As with my mini lemon cheesecakes, regular lemon cheesecakes get topped with a thick layer of sweet candy-like lemon glaze. The glaze and the cheesecake each need time to cool before applying the lemon. Ideally, you would make the glaze while the cheesecake cooks and chill both overnight so you can finish the lemon cheesecake when both are adequately chilled.
How are Mini Cheesecakes Different from Regular Cheesecake?
Mini cheesecakes are great for portion control, but they are also easier to make. They don’t take as long to bake as a full-size cheesecake. That’s because even heat distribution throughout the cake is important, so you have to cook it slowly.
When making mini cheesecakes, each cake has less volume to heat up and uniform cooking is much easier to control. You still want to cook it the same way and look for the same signs of doneness as you would with a larger cake.
How Long to Cook Mini Cheesecakes
A normal cheesecake would be cooked at 325 for over an hour to reach the desired temperature consistently throughout, but we are able to control the cooking time with mini cheesecakes. Set the oven to 350 instead and cook for only 16 minutes before checking. It may take an additional 2 minutes to finish cooking. The cake is done when the center is wobbly.
How to Make Mini Cheesecakes without Liners
The important thing here is a well-greased muffin tin because we don’t use papers liners in my recipe. As the cake cooks it should pull away from the sides of the muffin pan. Let the cakes cool for an hour before you remove them and transfer them to a new container. You may need to use a table knife to help it along but only do this as a last resort.
Using liners may make removing the cake from the muffin pan easier, but it will not work well removing the cake from the liners. Therefore, be liberal with the oil you use to grease the pan so that you can bake these mini lemon cheesecakes and remove them with ease.
How To Make Lemon Cheesecake Bars
As you go through your lemon cheesecake options you may consider making bars instead of the mini lemon cheesecakes. Although mini cheesecakes are quite similar to full-size ones, cheesecake bars are a different kind of beast. You can make them in a similar way to the mini cheesecakes by substituting a 9×13 inch casserole dish. But the result will be square cheesecake as opposed to a bar.
It will not hold up well if you try to eat it with your hands. Instead, you need to firm the cheesecake up to make it an appropriate handheld treat. In order to achieve a denser, firmer cheesecake for the bars, just add a couple of teaspoons of all-purpose flour to the mixture.
Ingredients to Make Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- Cream cheese
- Lemon zest
- Lemon Juice
- Graham cracker crumbs
(Actual measurements in recipe card listed below.)
How to Make Mini Lemon Cheesecakes
- Preheat oven to 350° and add cupcake liners to muffin pan, or with a non-stick cooking spray.
For the Crust
- In a medium bowl, mix graham crackers, sugar and melted butter with a fork until combined.
- Press graham cracker crust mixture into the bottom of the muffin pan.
- Place muffin pan in oven for 5 minutes, remove and set aside.
For the Lemon Cheesecakes
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. Then, add in sugar and beat until smooth.
- Add whisked eggs to cream cheese mixture and beat on low until combined.
- Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until blended.
- Scoop and pour cheesecake filling evenly into prepared muffin pan.
- Bake at 350° for 16-18 minutes. Cheesecake will be done when the center is still a bit wobbly.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour.
- Remove cheesecakes from pan and place in a container, cover, and place in refrigerator and chill for 4 hours, or overnight.
For the Lemon Glaze
- In a small saucepan, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.
- Add butter to pan, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken and will be done when glaze sticks to the back of a spoon.
- Remove from pan, pour into a small, heat-safe bowl, and let cool for 15 minutes.
- Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator until cold, or overnight.
- Add glaze to each mini cheesecake and enjoy.
- Keep refrigerated.
Try This Delicious Mini Cheesecake Recipe Today
Here are a few more delicious dessert recipes that you can find on the blog:
- Blueberry Cream Cheese Egg Rolls
- Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish
- Easy Cherry Crisp
- Blueberry Lemon Pudding Cake
- 24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1¼ cup sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2⅔ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 3 tbsp lemon zest
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350° and add cupcake liners to muffin pan, or with a non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix graham crackers, sugar and butter with a fork until combined.
Press graham cracker crust mixture into the bottom of the muffin pan.
Place muffin pan in oven for 5 minutes, remove and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. Then, add in sugar and beat until smooth.
Add whisked eggs to cream cheese mixture and beat on low speed until combined.
Stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until blended.
Scoop cheesecake filling evenly into prepared muffin pan.
Bake at 350° for 16-18 minutes. Cheesecake will be done when the center is still a bit wobbly.
Remove from oven and let cool for 1 hour.
Remove cheesecakes from pan and place in a container and cover. Place container in the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours, or overnight.
In a small saucepan, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well combined.
Add butter to pan, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken and will be done when glaze sticks to the back of a spoon.
Remove from pan, pour into a small, heat-safe bowl, and let cool for 15 minutes.
Cover bowl and place in the refrigerator until cold, or overnight.
Add glaze to each mini cheesecake and enjoy.
Here are a few more pictures that are the perfect size for pinning to Pinterest.
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