And I Don’t Even Like Cheesecake

key lime cheesecake

Cheesecake has just never seemed worth it to me.  All those calories, and what do you get? Yeah, good New York cheesecake is creamy, but even the best tends to lack flavor, and I’m not a fan of that syrupy sweet strawberry drizzle.  As for all those crazy chocolate, cookie, peanut butter, and caramel cheesecake concoctions… well, why not just eat a peanut butter cup?

But this cheesecake is good.  I mean really, really good. 

key limeIt’s the perfect balance of creamy and tangy and sweet.  I do love key lime pie, but it can be an intense taste bud experience. This key lime cheesecake, on the other hand, is smooth and delicate with just enough tart lime flavor to balance the richness of all that wonderful fat.  If you can’t find fresh key limes, bottled key lime juice is just fine.  But I wouldn’t suggest regular (Persian) limes here. Key lime juice has a much more intense flavor which can’t be replicated with lime juice. 

key lime cheesecakeWhen I was a teenager my mom took frequent business trips to the Florida Keys.  She did her best to schedule them on school vacations and my brother and I tagged along.  During one two-week stretch in Islamorada, Evan and I decided to embark on a quest, a key lime pie quest. We must have tasted more than two dozen key lime pies, some good some bad, but Manny and Isa’s was a clear winner (sadly they have since closed). We learned that we craved the creamiest custard, and that an overload of meringue really detracted from the pure, clean flavor of the key limes.  I took these pie lessons with me when I started playing with the Key Lime Cheesecake recipe from Bon Apetit.  After a few tweaks and some pretty kiwi slices, we devoured this cake.

key lime cheesecake with kiwi

Key Lime Cheesecake

Adapted from Bon Apetit Magazine 2006

For the Lime Curd:

2 tablespoons butter

6 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar 

1/4 cup  key lime juice

2 teaspoons key lime zest or regular lime zest

For the Crust:

 2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For Filling and Topping:

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature 

3/4 cup sugar, divided

2  eggs

3 tablespoons key lime juice

1 tablespoon key lime zest or regular lime zest

1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream

2 kiwis, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

To prepare the curd, combine butter, egg yolks, sugar, juice and zest in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat.  Wisk constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and cool. 

Meanwhile, prepare the crust.  Mix together the crumbs, sugar and salt.  Stir in the melted butter.  Grease an 8 inch springform pan with three-inch sides with cooking spray. Press the crumb mixture along the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven until set, about 10 minutes.

To prepare the filling, beat the cream cheese and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar until fluffy, add in the eggs, juice and zest and beat to combine. 

Decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Spread the curd on the bottom of the prepared crust, then spread in the filling mixture.  Smooth the top of the filling and bake for 1 hour, until mostly set.  Mix the sour cream with the remaining sugar.  Remove the cake from the oven and spread the sour cream mixture over the top.  Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes until bubbles form along the edges. 

Cool 1 hour at room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.  To unmold, run a knife around the edge of the pan and then release.  Just before serving, top the cake with the kiwi slices.

Published in: on April 17, 2010 at 7:06 pm  Comments (25)  
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25 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Katie – I am impressed..really..truly..impressed. First off, you didn’t just buy the lemon curd/lime curd from stonewall kitchen. You actually fixed this with your own 2 hands..WOW!

    The Kiwi is genius..I would have never in a million years thought of incorporating these flavors in a cheesecake and your results speak for themselves.


    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    • Thanks Devaki! Curd is one of the easiest things to make – Stonewall Kitchen does have an awesome lemon curd, but why buy what you can make in 5 minutes? I actually made some extra because this curd is awesome on sourdough toast too!

  2. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this post and this recipe! You are so so talented and this key lime cheesecake just has my mouth absolutely watering!! It’s funny because I am like you in that I never had a love of cheesecake until this past year when I tried a few that I found to be out of this world decadent. I’m definitely putting this on my list of “must makes!” Thanks for always sharing a good story and an even better recipe!

  3. Say key lime and you’ve got my attention! Like you I am not such an effusive fan of cheesecake (all those calories, too!) but this one!!!! Heck yes!

  4. Your desription of this cheesecake makes me want some right now. It’s true that some cheesecakes lack terribly in flavor but I’m sure this one doesn’t.


  5. I’m not a cheesecake fan, either. However, I am a total sucker for any dessert with lemon or lime! This looks and sounds delicious!

  6. thanks for visiting chiknpastry!!

    and the cheesecake looks great – i LOVE lime curd 🙂

  7. oo, I have a softspot for Cheesecake. Thanks for this post. It looks sooo delicious.

  8. Hey Katie…I came on to see if you posted your chocolate transfer creation 🙂

    Your pie looks incredible…..Key Lime is a flavor of a limited edition Dove truffles…I have a giveaway this week :))

    • Ooh, key lime pie truffles sound great! I’ll have to stop by and see them!

  9. this looks so so so good! And I am impressed as well that you made the curd. I have been using alot lately and every time I swear I’m gonna make it from scratch, but then end up taking a short cut and buying it. Will try homemade next time!

  10. I adore key limes..and cheesecake…love the combo


  11. My husband and I love cheesecake as well as key lime pie, what a great hybrid. Gorgeous!

  12. well, i’m glad you changed your mind about cheesecake! your version looks absolutely gorgeous. i love the addition of kiwi. makes the whole cake look a bit healthier, lol. i recently made mini cheesecake bites, that way i don’t feel too guilty eating a huge slice.

    • Mini Cheesecake Bites are a great idea! A huge slice of this cake will certainly do some damage… maybe next time I’ll go for mini.

  13. Wow. Wow. Wow I love cheesecake and could seriously eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Your cheesecake looks out-of-control and is now on my must try list. Thanks so much for sharing!

  14. I always love my cheesecake on the citrus side. This is great!

  15. Hi! Thanks for your comments on A Spicy Perspective. Always glad to help. I feel the same way about cheese cake…usually not worth it. But this one looks special. We’ve got a couple family birthdays coming up. Maybe it’s time to give cheese cake a second chance!

    • Oooh, this would be a great birthday cake! How fun!

  16. so decadent looking…..
    I agree with you….it’s so hard to find good, flavorful cheesecake…

  17. Key Lime cheesecake with kiwi?! This looks unbelievable. Well, there goes my bikini diet. *trots off to grocery store for ingredients*

  18. What a beautiful cheesecake! I love the idea of combining key limes and kiwi. That sounds like a terrific flavor combination.

  19. Thanks for sending me this link! Yum! I love the kiwi on top…and the lime curd. I’ll have to give this one a try too! 🙂

  20. i second your thoughts about this phenomenon known as cheesecake–what’s the draw? meh. however, i love kiwi in every shape and form and i’m beginning to become a little obsessed with key limes, so if ever a cheesecake would be worth it to me, methinks this is it. 🙂

  21. One of my favorite memories from being a child is my mum’s cheesecake topped with kiwis, this has brought back memories of brilliant times. I will certainly be trying your recipe.

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