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. Who can pass up a creamy cranberry lemon cheesecake with a beautiful presentation?
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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.
It’s hard to choose which festive desserts to make around the holidays. Easy Peppermint Pretzel Bark is delicious too and doesn’t take long to prepare. It looks so cute in a Christmas tin with red tissue paper.
Baking with your kids is a wonderful way to spend quality time together. Our little boys love dumping flour and sugar into a bowl and helping mommy make a cake. Here some the Best Gift Ideas for Aspiring Little Boy Chefs.
How to Make Festive Cranberry Lemon Cheesecake
The full recipe is at the bottom of this post.
Make the Graham Cracker Crust
First, I make the graham cracker crust which, is simple. Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter right in the 9″ spring form pan and press it down into the bottom and sides. Bake the crust for 10 minutes on 325F.
Make the Cheese Filling
Meanwhile, you can start the cheesecake filling which isn’t time consuming. 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. Just mix a few ingredients-cream cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Then, pour it into the crust and bake it for about an hour.
How to Make the Sugared Cranberries
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 but, can be made ahead.
Make the Sour Cream Topping
The sour cream topping is very easy; It is just sour cream mixed with powdered sugar.
However, 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 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.
A creamy, festive Lemon Cranberry Cheesecake is the perfect holiday dessert to take to parties. Your friends will love the tart cranberries and sweet lemon cheesecake combination. This beautiful presentation will look fabulous on a dessert table, not to mention how delicious it tastes!
More from No Plate Like Home:
Peppermint Brownies are another great from-scratch Christmas dessert to bring to parties. If you need something with little prep, BOURBON Chocolate Pecan Pie is the dessert for you. It does have quite a bit of bourbon in it but, you can scale that back a bit.
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Christmas cookie exchange, take a look at my “Christmas Cookies” board on Pinterest.
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Cranberry Lemon Cheesecake is a beautiful Christmas make ahead dessert that is creamy and full of cranberry and lemon flavors.
- 32 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.
Store this cheesecake covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.