Favorite Cheesecake with Lemon Zest

In honor of major sweetness, the first dessert I want to talk about is the classic cheesecake.
My favorite cheesecake is a recipe that combines elements of my family recipe with a really good and completely random one found on the allrecipes website. Seriously, the internet is the best. The family addition is the lemon zest, which not only intensifies the flavor, but makes for some pretty pictures.
So, making a cheesecake is simple in theory. I, however, have messed them up many times because I’m a spaz and often forget to make a water bath. Let’s talk about water baths, because they’re really easy and fun, and they’re the best way to ensure that the cheesecake doesn’t crack.
All you do is wrap your springform pan with tin foil. Since the cheesecake literally sits in a bath of water while it bakes, the foil prevents water from leaking into the cake.
Then, find a pan or bowl or something that is oven safe, deep enough for an inch or two of water, and bigger than your cheesecake springform pan. Put the springform pan in the bigger pan, and fill the bigger pan with a few inches of water. That’s a water bath, and that’s all you need to do before baking.
  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  •  zest from one lemon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
  3. Make a water bath by placing tin foil around the springform pan. Place springform in a larger pan and fill with two inches of water.
  4. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Grate in the zest of one lemon and stir until combined. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.
You should probably have a piece for breakfast. Supposedly if you eat dessert for breakfast, you will burn it off by lunchtime.

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