Saturday, March 28, 2015

Triple-layer lemon cheesecake

This is a recipe I've been super excited to share and have been waiting for just the right moment.  Well, the time has finally arrived, as it was my husband's birthday recently.  It is my family's ultimate, hands-down favorite and most-requested birthday/special occasion dessert...the Famous Maggiore Triple Layer Lemon Cheesecake.  I inherited this recipe from my mom.  I'm not sure where she originally found it, but a huge thank you to the initial source, wherever you are!

If you've never made a cheesecake, don't be daunted.  It's really quite easy and straightforward.  Over the years of making this particular recipe and scores of other cheesecakes for food styling jobs, I've amassed a few basic tips that make baking foolproof and prevent cracking:

Cheesecake baking tips:

1 - Always use room temperature ingredients - cream cheese, eggs, and in this case, sour cream.

2 - Mix your ingredients gently, on the lowest mixer setting, until just combined, so as not to whip air into it, which can cause cracking.

3 - Always place a source of moisture in your oven under the cheesecake while baking...I heat up a kettle of boiling water and the pour it into a 9 x 13 baking dish set on the lowest rack of my oven right before I put the cake in.  This keeps it nice and steamy in there!

4 - Do not over bake your cheesecake.  Follow the recommended baking time.  The center of your cheesecake will be quite jiggly & wobbly while still hot, but that is ok as it will firm up as it cools.

5 - When the recommended baking time has expired, turn off the heat and prop open the oven door (I use a couple folded hot pads).  Cool for at least an hour (or completely) this way before removing and cooling the rest of the way.

serves 12-16

2 1/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
6 T. melted butter

cream cheese layer:

3, 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
3 T. lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1 t. vanilla

sour cream layer:
1 pint sour cream, room temperature
3 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla

1/2 c. sugar
1T. + 1 t. cornstarch
1/2 c. water
2 T. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On the lowest rack of oven, place a 9 x 13 baking pan of hot, steaming water - this will keep the oven moist while baking and help prevent cracking.

Combine graham crumbs, sugar & melted butter & stir to combine.  Press crumbs into bottom and up the sides of a 10” spring form pan.  Bake crust for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar and beat on low with the paddle attachment until just combined and there are no lumps.  Add eggs one at a time, again, using a low setting.  You don’t want to whip air into the mixture so don’t use a high setting on your mixer!  Add zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix until smooth and combined.  Pour into crust and bake 35 minutes.

Mix sour cream, sugar & vanilla together in a bowl.  Gently pour sour cream later over cream cheese layer and spread evenly.  Bake another 15 minutes.

Turn off oven but do not remove cheesecake.  Prop the oven door open and allow the cake to sit in the slowly cooling oven for at least an hour.  Remove and cool to room temperature.

To make the glaze, add 1/2 c. sugar to a small saucepan.  Mix cornstarch into water and add to the sugar in the pan.  Add lemon juice.  Heat until boiling and cook for 2-3 minutes, until thickened and clear.  Cool.  Spread evenly over room temperature or cooled cheesecake.  Cool in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.


  1. My son cooked this for girlfriend's birthday. He added about 1TB more lemon jiuce to cheesecake layer, because the lemon flavor was to light for our taste. He was really impressed at how easy it was to make. He took strips of lemon skin and rolled into flower buds and put a few mint leaves with as garnish. She loved it! Went from worst birthday ever to the best birthday ever.Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. Hi, i want try this cheesecake. I am from the netherlands and we dont use oz. For this cheesecake we need 3.8 oz. When i calculate it is about 107 gram. Is that not a small amount for 12-16 people? Thank you

    1. That would be THREE 8oz packages of cream cheese.