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Layered Cheesecake – A New Take On Layer Cake

Lime Layered Cheesecake is the perfect slice of creamy, tangy dessert heaven. This is a true layer cake made with cheesecake layers instead of regular cake layers.

a slice of lime layered cheesecake on a white plate

As I’ve confessed before, despite the fact that I ran a successful custom cake business for 10 years, and I know exactly how to create the best cake recipes, cake is probably my least favorite dessert.

It’s not that I don’t think cake tastes good, I do, especially a good scratch-baked cake. I enjoy a slice of Bundt or pound cake with a cup of tea. But I will always choose a pie, tart, custard or cheesecake before a slice of layer cake.

Over the decade that I baked cakes for a living, I went out of my way to include non-traditional fillings and layers to make my cakes less cake-like. I put a giant cookie at the bottom of my Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake to make it better. Some of my other popular flavors had mousses, brownies, curds and cheesecake between the layers. 

How I invented Layered Cheesecake:

One of my personal favorite flavors from my cake business was the “Key Lime Cake“. That cake is made with layers of vanilla cake, lime cheesecake, graham cracker crunch and lime curd. With this Lime Cheesecake recipe I’ve taken that concept one step further and eliminated the “cake” all together.

I love the contrast of tangy lime curd with creamy cheesecake. By adding a graham cracker crust to one of the layers we also have a nice crunchy element as well.

Is Layered Cheesecake really tricky to make?

Nope! It’s surprisingly easy to make as long as you follow the directions. This is one of those times when an idea I had in my head actually works exactly as I imagined. Believe me, that’s not always the case.

Tips for making a Lime Layered Cheesecake:

  • Don’t skip the step where you line the pans with parchment rounds. This makes getting the frozen cheesecake layer out of the pan much, much easier.
  • The cheesecake should be baked all the way through to the center. Because these layers are much thinner than a regular cheesecake they won’t continue to bake after coming out of the oven.
  • You’ll need to work with the layers while they’re frozen so you can build the cake without smooshing the layers.
  • The lime curd  is made with just enough gelatin so it will hold it’s shape when the cake is cut. When you pour soft lime curd between the frozen cheesecake layers it will set quite quickly and adhere to the cheesecake layers for a seamlessly layered cake.
a lime layered cheesecake on a glass cake stand
a partially cut lime layered cheesecake on a glass cake stand

Just when you thought cheesecake couldn’t get any better, it does.

If you want to make another cheesecake that breaks all the cheesecake rules check out this recipe for San Sebastian Cheesecake

Watch the recipe video to see how-to put together this stunning Lime Layered Cheesecake:

If you love this recipe, please consider giving it 5 stars.

a slice of lime layered cheesecake

Layered Cheesecake

Yield: 12-14 servings
Prep Time: 1 hour
Baking Time: 20 minutes
Freezing Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 20 minutes

Lime Layered Cheesecake is the perfect slice of creamy, tangy dessert heaven. This is a true layer cake made with cheesecake layers instead of regular cake layers.

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 84g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups (8 oz, 224g) graham cracker crumbs (about 13 crackers)
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz, 56g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cheesecake batter

  • 2 cups (16oz, 450g) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (8 oz, 224g) granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest from 1 large lime
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz, 168g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 yolk, room temperature, whisked together
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 large lime)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Assembly

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two 9" pans with parchment paper. Don't skip the parchment liner or it will be almost impossible to handle the cheesecake layers later.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and toss to combine. Dump the crumbs into ONE of the prepared pans and pat down to an even layer.
  3. Bake the crust about 10 minutes until fragrant and just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.

Make the Cheesecake batter

  1. In a large mixer bowl or stand mixer bowl, use the beater attachment to cream the cream cheese until soft and smooth. You're not trying to add air, just soften the cream cheese. Keep the mixer on low speed. Scrape the bowl and the beater.
  2. Add the granulated sugar and lime zest, mix until no lumps of cream cheese remain. Scrape the bowl and paddle attachment again. Add the sour cream, scrape the bowl and paddle attachment again.
  3. With the mixer running on low speed add the eggs/yolk in 2 batches, Scrape the bowl and paddle attachment between batches. Add the vanilla and lime juice and mix until combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Set the pans into slightly larger pans and pour an inch of warm water into the larger pan.
  5. Bake until the center of the cheesecake is set (see note), about 15 minutes for the layer with no crust and about 20-25 minutes for the layer with the crust.
  6. Allow the layers to cool to room temperature then place the pans in the freezer several hours or overnight. The layers should be frozen solid.
  7. To remove the cheesecakes from the pans dip the bottom of the pan in a bowl of very hot water, run a knife or spatula around the sides of the cake and flip it out onto a flat plate. Alternately, you can flip the pan over and run a propane torch across the bottom of the pan. Remove the parchment round from the bottom and flip right side up. If not assembling the cake immediately, wrap the cheesecake layers and freeze until ready to use.

Assemble the Cake

  1. Warm the curd in the microwave and set it aside until it is room temperature but still soft and pourable.
  2. Place the frozen cheesecake layer with the graham cracker crust onto a serving platter, crust side down. Fill a piping bag with cream cheese frosting. Pipe a 1 inch "dam" of cream cheese frosting around the edge of the cheesecake layer.
  3. Pour 1 1/4 cups of lime curd onto the cake and spread evenly. The cream cheese "dam" will hold the curd in place until it sets.
  4. Set the other frozen cheesecake layer onto the curd filling. Ice the sides of the cake with cream cheese frosting. Press graham cracker crumbs onto the sides.
  5. Pipe a border around the top edge of the cake. Pour the remaining lime curd onto the cake and spread to a smooth finish.
  6. Refrigerate until the curd is set. Serve chilled.

Notes

The layers must be baked until they are set all the way to the center. Do not take them out of the oven while the middle is still soft.

The cheesecake layers can be made ahead, wrapped and frozen until ready to assemble. The lime curd can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days or frozen for several months. The cream cheese frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated. Bring the frosting back to room temperature and re-whip before using.

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