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I was excited to present this creamy cranberry lemon cheesecake with a sour cream topping and festive sugared cranberries at my husband’s Christmas party. Even with ten other, yes, ten other desserts, it was one of the most popular. I’m sure those sugared cranberries got people’s attention. This cheesecake is a lemon cheesecake with cranberries inside. Who can pass up a creamy cranberry lemon cheesecake with a beautiful presentation?
I will warn you that this cheesecake, as shown, is a little time consuming to prepare but, you can certainly modify the recipe to lessen the preparation time. You can omit the sour cream topping and sugared cranberries or just add plain whole cranberries on top of the cake. It is a very festive cake as pictured and is perfect for Christmas parties or any party during the holidays.
I always whip the cream cheese to get the cheesecake to be creamy. It makes a difference so I would take the time to mix just the cream cheese a bit longer to get the creaminess in the cake.
Making the graham cracker crust is simple. Just buy the graham cracker crumbs, add some sugar and melted butter and I just mix it right in the 9″ spring form pan and press it down into the bottom and sides. It then goes into the oven for 10 minutes to bake. Meanwhile, you can start the cheesecake filling which isn’t time consuming. Just mix a few ingredients and then pour it into the crust and bake it for about an hour.
To make the sugared cranberries, just make a simple syrup which is one part water to one part sugar heated on the stove just until the sugar is dissolved but, before it begins to boil. Add the whole cranberries to the simple syrup and let them sit about an hour. Drain the syrup from the cranberries and coat them in sugar. This is the part that can take some time.
The sour cream topping is very easy. It is just sour cream mixed with powdered sugar. Easy but, it is another bowl to wash. This is when a dishwasher is nice to have.
If you want to save time, you can just put the whole cranberries on the cheesecake and not sugarcoat them. You can also omit the sour cream topping but, I like to make this topping sometimes to hide imperfections in the cheesecake such as cracking and browning. It also gives it a more appealing overall look but, it is not necessary to include. I just love the look of the sugared cranberries! They can be made a day or two ahead too and used to garnish a cocktail or cupcakes.
This cheesecake can also be made smaller. Just cut the recipe ingredients in half and use a Keebler 10″ graham cracker pie crust.
Cranberry Lemon Cheesecake
- 4- 8 oz. packages of Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
- 2 tbs of fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp of lemon zest
- 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbs of sugar
- 3 tbs of butter, melted
- 8 oz of sour cream
- ½ cup of powdered sugar
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of fresh whole cranberries
- Zest of lemon for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325.In a 9" spring form pan, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 3 tbs of sugar. Stir until the crumbs are coated in butter, about two-three minutes. With a spoon, pat down the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom and sides of the pan until about 1 1/2" up the sides. Bake on 325 for 10 minutes. Let cool before filling.
- In a large mixing bowl, add cream cheese and mix for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until blended.
- Add one egg at a time, mixing after each egg.
- Stir in 1 cup of whole cranberries.
- Pour cream cheese filling into graham cracker crust and bake at 325 for 1 hour to 1 hour and five minutes. Cheesecake is done when a toothpick comes out almost clean. Middle of cheesecake should be firm. You may add a water bath (a pan filled with water on a rack under the cheesecake to help prevent cracking.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, add sour cream and powdered sugar. Mix until well blended (about one minute.) When cheesecake is cool, spread sour cream topping on the cheesecake.
- In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add water and sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the simple syrup that forms is clear but, not yet boiling. Let it cool 5-10 minutes.
- Add the whole cranberries and mix them to coat them in the syrup. Let them sit in the syrup for an hour.
- Drain the cranberries from the simple syrup and begin rolling them in sugar. Add the sugared cranberries on top of the cheesecake and garnish with lemon zest.