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.
As I’ve confessed before, despite the fact that I ran a successful custom cake business for 10 years, cake is probably my least favorite dessert, especially layer cake. 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. You’ll see plenty of non-traditional layer cakes in future posts.
One of my personal favorite flavors from my cake business was the “Key Lime Cake”. That cake was made with layers of vanilla cake, lime cheesecake, graham cracker crunch and lime curd. With this Layered Cheesecake recipe I’ve taken that concept one step further and eliminated the cake all together.
This is a layer cake using cheesecake layers rather than normal cake layers. 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.
Layered Cheesecake must be really tricky to make, right?
Nope! Layered Cheesecake is surprisingly easy to make. 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.
Just a few things to keep in mind for making a successful Layered Cheesecake. First of all, 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 also 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.
Just when you thought cheesecake couldn’t get any better, it does.
Watch the recipe video to see how-to put together this stunning Lime Layered Cheesecake:
Graham Cracker Crust
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz, 90g) butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups (8oz, 225g) graham cracker crumbs (about 13 crackers)
- 1/4 cup (2 oz, 60g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1lb (16oz, 450g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz (1 cup, 225g) granulated sugar
- 6 oz (3/4 cup, 185g) sour cream, room temperature
- Zest and juice (about 2 tablespoons) from 1 large lime
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs plus 1 yolk, room temperature
- Line two 9" pans with parchment paper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Make the Graham Cracker Crust
- Combine the 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
- Bake the crust about 10 minutes until fragrant and just beginning to brown.
Make the Cheesecake batter
- With the paddle attached to the mixer, soften the cream cheese
- Scrape the bowl and paddle attachment
- Add the granulated sugar and lime zest, mix until no lumps of cream cheese remain
- Scrape the bowl and paddle attachment
- Add the sour cream, scrape the bowl and paddle attachment
- With the mixer running on low speed add the eggs in 2 batches, Scrape the bowl and paddle attachment between batches
- Add the vanilla and lime juice
- 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
- Bake in the water bath until the center of the cheesecake is set (see note)
- Bake about 15 minutes for the layer with no crust
- Bake about 20-25 minutes for the layer with the crust
- 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.
- 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.
Assemble the Cake
- Place the cheesecake layer with the crust onto a serving platter.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip with cream cheese frosting
- Pipe a "dam" of cream cheese frosting around the edge of the cheesecake
- Pour 1 1/4 cups of lime curd onto the cake and spread evenly. The cream cheese "dam" will hold the curd in place.
- Set the other cheesecake layer onto the curd filling
- Ice the sides of the cake with cream cheese frosting. Press graham cracker crumbs onto the sides.
- Pipe a border around the top edge of the cake
- Pour the remaining lime curd onto the cake and spread to a smooth finish
- Refrigerate until the curd is set.
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 frozen.
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