In the Kitchen with Kylie: Homemade Lemon Cheesecake

I love to cook and bake. I make dinner for my boyfriend and me in our apartment almost every single night unless I get too lazy to cook. I love using Pinterest to find and save recipes - you can follow me here to see some of my favorite treats and recipes! 

I found this recipe on Pinterest from Martha Stewart, and gave it my own little twist (find out what that is below!) to amp it up a little bit and match my families favorite flavors. It turned out amazingly well and I'm so pleased! 

I always thought cheesecake seemed so daunting and scary to make, but really, even the most inexperienced cook can make this - I promise you it will turn out well.  It's also worth mentioning that this cheesecake recipe is a "no bake" recipe - meaning that you don't need to pre-heat the oven or cook it at all, it sets in the freezer and the fridge! How easy is that? 

What you'll need

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 packages (20 sheets) graham crackers 
  • 11 tablespoons (1 3/8 sticks) unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar 
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature 
  • 1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk 
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How you'll make your cheesecake: 

1. Put 20 sheets (or 2 packages) of graham crackers in a large resealable plastic bag, and crush them with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form. This will make the crust of your cheesecake. 

This is what your crumbs should look like! Super easy! 

2. Pour your crumbs into am medium bowl; stir in the sugar. Add the butter and stir until well combined. 

3. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the side; press flat. Chill the crust in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. A springform pan is like the below. You clasp the outer layer around the crust to help it form, and you unclasp it at the last moment before you serve and the bottom of the pan acts as the plate. 

4. Meanwhile, make the filling while your crust is freezing. Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. 

SECRET Ingredient: I told you all in the beginning of this post that I added a little flare to make this cake my own. I used the zest of one whole lemon in this filling. The zest, or the outer layer of the lemon holds a bunch of "lemon oil" if you will, that gives anything you put it in a rich, lemony flavor. So this cake end up becoming a delicious "lemon" cheesecake rather than a regular New York style cheesecake. 

5. Pour the filling into the crust; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm - this should take 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Then, serve however you'd like! I served this cheesecake with some rich caramel sauce, but you can also do a berry preserve, whipped cream and candied pecans, or whatever you like as a topping! 

Bon Apetit!