Lemon Cheese(cup)cakes, Oh My!
Cheesecake. The name itself instantly evokes tantalizing sensations of creamy, heavenly goodness that simply melts in your mouth. Naturally, as a cheesecake lover, I knew that one of the four cupcakes in the “Happy Birthday” series HAD to be a cheesecake cupcake or a Cheese(cup)cake. What a glorious idea!
So I turned to my trusty (and huge) library of cheesecake recipes that I’ve bookmarked in order to try “someday” and settled on this lemon cheesecake cupcake.
I’ve actually done a Horlicks (malt) flavored cheesecupcake before, but my sister isn’t a huge fan of the malt (though I loved it), so decided to go with lemon flavoring this time (she adores lemon). Plus, this recipe didn’t require a water bath for the cheesecakes (which the previous one did), making the whole process much simpler. And simplicity was an important consideration, especially since I was making four types of cupcakes!
So I set to work with a vengeance, late on a Thursday night. Personally, I simply love baking late at night (preferably after 10PM), meaning you get to eat your creation as a delicious midnight snack. Calorie-ridden (delicious!) food always tastes best late at night, doesn’t it? Though that is also the optimum time for it to send maximum impact to your hips and whatnot.
Okay, back on track again. The recipe author promised it was very difficult to screw up the recipe. Unfortunately though, I somehow managed to do so. The cheesecakes came out of the oven looking gloriously creamy and light in a perfect golden color. I was so proud of myself as I left them to cool. But then they sank. Badly. And became saggy and depressing looking. Not something I would ever want to photograph (sorry no pics of the disaster!)
Fortunately however they were baked in festive gorgeous cupcake wrappers I bought especially for the occasion. Plus I used my Wilton (reusable) cake hearts to bake a couple as well. So the edges looked wonderful, now I had to consider how to save the tops — the most important part of a cupcake for sure!
Then the answer came to me: Frosting of course! I whipped up a batch of cream cheese frosting for the Tiramisu Cupcakes (recipe coming soon) and used the same frosting to cover the cheesecakes. The two tastes (lemon cheesecake + cream cheese frosting) combined perfectly.
In terms of taste these cupcakes were wonderfully light and creamy with a great lemon tang in them. The cream cheese frosting provided a delightful sweet contrast to the slightly tangy taste (especially since the cheesecake was not all that sweet). The softness of the cheesecake + frosting were set off wonderfully by the ginger-y crust — a wonderful idea for a cheesecake base (and definitely something that can be used in other recipes as well). A great combination. I had so much of the crust leftover (I accidentally mixed up too much) that I ate a lot of it on its own. Simply delicious.
Some of my mistakes & tips to avoid them:-
(1) The cupcake liners I used. As you’ll see from the following blog entries, all the cupcakes didn’t bake up very well (by “well”, I refer to the wonderful rise in the center that all cupcakes should have). Possibly due to the cupcake liners I used which really look like muffin liners. They were very useful though as they were stiff enough for me not to have to use the cupcake tray (speeding up the baking process enormously, because I only have one tray).
(2) Skipping the mulberries (which the original recipe called for). No choice on this, as over here where I live no one even knows what a mulberry is. Possibly this is another factor that caused the Cheesecake Sink. Would have to re-experiment with different liners to be completely sure which was the problem. I considered to replace with blueberries (couldn’t get them) or strawberries (they were really sour!) and in the end decided to omit. Kind of glad they were not in there though as I’m not a huge berry fan and the cheesecake had more than enough flavor to compensate for the lack of the berries.
And of course, finally, here’s the recipe!
- 100g gingersnap or shortbread cookies (I mixed both)
- 55g ground almonds
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
Use ingredients at room temp for best creamy consistency
- 450g (1 lb) cream cheese
- 100g heavy cream (or sour cream)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 325F (165C).
- Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases and set aside (n.b. with this recipe I ended up with 11 large cupcakes and 7 small ones).
- Crush the cookies to fine crumbs and mix with ground almonds, sugar and melted butter. I prefer to do this by hand as it gets everything mixed together the best into a wonderful consistency.
- Press 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture into the base of each cupcake liners. You can use a small shotglass or the back of your spoon or even your hands to compact the mixture down. Place in the refrigerator to chill.
- Beat the cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest, beating well after each addition.
- Rap the mixer bowl hard on your counter to knock out the air bubbles trapped inside the filling.
- Spoon the mixture over the cookie bases 3/4 full.
- Bake the cheese(cup)cakes for 25-30 minutes or until the cheesecakes are puffed and starting to color.
- Cool, then chill before frosting with cream cheese frosting, recipe follows (I frosted the next day).
Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from: Becky Bakes
Makes enough to frost approx 24 cupcakes
- 1 (8oz / 225g) package cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy with hand mixer on low.
- Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and increase mixer to medium. Blend until frosting is fluffy.
- Use a spatula to cover each cupcake with frosting and decorate the frosting as you desire — I used pink diamonds and small sugar flowers as well as sugar hearts.
** This recipe is supposed to allow for piping the frosting on, but this is something I have never yet been able to achieve with ANY frosting recipe. Either I’m really bad with making the frosting, or I have a secondary theory on the high amounts of humidity where I live thereby making it impossible to make any frosting that is stiff enough to pipe on.
And that’s all! A simple recipe to have and enjoy 🙂
(Btw, I think it’s about time the word cheesecupcake entered the dictionary. It is a wonderful dessert in its own right after all!) – ❤ Sue