Cheesecake Challenge

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In case you didn’t know, Julie at Willow Bird Baking is hosting a cheesecake challenge.  This girl has made some unbelievable looking cheesecakes and has a hilarious video with some delicious results.  I don’t know how she came up with so many wonderful flavor combinations but I’m glad she did!

cheesecake 16

You all know I have mixed feelings about lemon, so I wouldn’t have normally chosen the Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Squares with Shortbread Crust However, the husband requested it so why not?  Besides, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge if I used the same flavors I usually do.

lemon 2

I forgot to pick up blueberries yesterday, so I went with blackberries instead.  The texture adds a nice component to the creamy cheesecake and they are just a little tart when you bite into them.  It actually works very well with the lemon.


And as for the lemon cheesecake?  I’ll give it to Julie, it is perfectly balanced.  I wasn’t overwhelmed by the flavor but it was extremely refreshing.  This would actually be a perfect dessert for a summer barbeque. 

 cheesecake 14

I used Julie’s recipe with the just a few changes:   white whole wheat flour in the crust, light cream cheese rather than regular, I added a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter and obviously blackberries instead of blueberries.

cheesecake 23

Start by making the crust; place flour and confectioners’ sugar in a food processor

flour and sugar for crust

Add chilled butter and pulse

add butter

Allow the butter and dry ingredients to combine, but don’t over mix

crust 1

crust 2

Press crust into a pan lined with parchment paper

crust 3

Bake until lightly browned

crust 4

While crust is cooling, beat softened cream cheese on high speed until fluffy

cream cheese cream cheese 1

Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice and combine

add eggs, vanilla, sugar

Then add your sugar

add sugarcheesecake batter

When batter is creamy, ,pour over crust

batter on crust

Top with berries

top with blackberries

Bake until cheesecake is firm

baked 1 baked 2

Chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving

cheesecake 7

Are you participating in Julie’s cheesecake challenge?  If so, which one are you making? If not, which one would you like to eat?

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45 Responses to “Cheesecake Challenge”

  1. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel March 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    I love that you used blackberries instead of blueberries! Blueberries just don’t have enough punch for me.

  2. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Blackberries are so underrated — they’re an amazing berry! That looks beautiful and delicious. :)

  3. Lele March 20, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    I actually don’t *love* cheesecake but man oh man your lemon-berry combo (my favorite combination probably in the entire dessert world) may just make me change my mind. I kind of think that one might be delicious with ricotta, too!

    • KeepItSweet March 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

      Ricotta would be so good with the lemon/berry flavors!

  4. Amy March 20, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Your cheesecake looks amazing! I love the lemon blackberry combination! It looks so light and airy, just how cheesecake should be!

  5. Amy March 20, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    I love the lemon blackberry combination, even more than if it had been blueberries! Your cheesecake looks delicious, so light and airy, just as a cheesecake should be :)!

  6. marla March 20, 2011 at 7:16 pm #

    Blackberries and lemon are the perfect paring in a cheesecake!

  7. Madison M March 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    Believe it or not, I’ve never made a cheesecake. These bars look like a much more approachable way to foray into the world of cheesecake without doing the whole ‘cake’ part. :)

    • KeepItSweet March 21, 2011 at 6:12 am #

      You should participate in her challenge!

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      Cheesecake bars are definitely a little easier! Although, I always think it is hard to tell when the cheesecake is done baking.

  8. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen March 20, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I LOVE cheesecake…definitely one of my favorite desserts! I bet the lemon and blackberry combination was incredible! :)

  9. Toni March 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    oh my gosh, that looks amazing! I love cheesecake and berries! Yummy!

  10. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite March 21, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    I love cheesecake and have been on a total citrus kick lately (perhaps I’m willing warm weather to get here?)…this looks beautiful and DElish!!

  11. Mary March 21, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    What a great cake! I’m relatively new to your blog and while I don’t often comment, I wanted you to know how much I like the food and recipes you feature here. You’ve created a lovely spot to visit and manage to keep me coming back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am #

      Thank you so much, Mary! Your comment made my day:-)

  12. Sues March 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    Julie totally makes the best cheesecakes!! And yours looks pretty awesome, too :) I’m not huge on lemon either, but with the blackberry? I think I’d love this!

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      It definitely isn’t too lemony. There is enough other stuff going on so that doesn’t take over.

  13. The Taster March 21, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    These were excellent!

  14. Evan @swEEts March 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    This almost made me forget that I normally dislike cheesecake, but with all the extra flavors I think I could like this :) And I just know my fiance would!

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      My sister doesn’t like cheesecake either!

  15. Kristina March 21, 2011 at 9:54 pm #

    ohhhh the temptation is there to join this challenge…however I just heard my wedding dress screaming so i’m going to have to refrain from challenges til after the wedding:)

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      Ah that was the story of my life last year! Probably part of the reason I waited until after my wedding to start a blog:-)

  16. Veronica March 22, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I didn’t know about the cheesecake challenge, but I’m seriously considering it! This one looks like it could almost be on Lauren’s “Healthy Food for Living” blog, don’t you think? :) I know you read her too, b/c I’ve seen your comments there. Anyway, your cheesecake looks amazing–great recipe!

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      Yes, I love Lauren’s blog! I guess this is almost healthy:-)

  17. Anna March 22, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    YUM, I love cheesecake, I used to have an apprentice chef that adored making cheesecake, every few days he’d come up with another lovely tasting cake, Im going to let him know about this here challenge. Very cool! :)
    Your cake looks beautiful. Great recipe! :)

    • KeepItSweet March 22, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      He should do it!

  18. briarrose March 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Lovely cheesecake. I do love the lemon flavor and that shortbread crust.

  19. kita March 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    oooh these look great!

  20. valerie March 23, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    You had me at cheesecake!!!!

  21. Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking March 23, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Wow this looks so delicious! This recipe is awesome! I love lemon and blackberries.

  22. Crepes of Wrath March 23, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    This is just what I am going to need after a long day at work when it’s so gloomy and rainy outside! Summer seriously can’t get here soon enough.

    On a side note, it looks like there is an error on your blog where the mixed fruit and nut butter is – just FYI!

    • KeepItSweet March 23, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      Thanks for letting me know! I’m having trouble with the Recipe SEO plug-in and am trying to figure out how to fix it! Good thing I have weekly dreamhost back-ups:-)

  23. Joanne March 23, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    I loved the idea of Julie’s cheesecake challenge and I wish I had the self control to make a cheesecake and not eat the whole thing myself. Sigh.

    This lemon blackberry combo is fabulous! One of my favorite flavor combos. Love that you used low fat cream cheese…I always do it in my cheesecakes. :P

  24. Joy March 23, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    The cheesecake looks wonderful.

  25. Andrea @ March 23, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Oh MY SWEET SWEET LORD. These look so so good, Lauren! Thanks for sharing the recipe, and making me hungry at 8:40 am :)

    • KeepItSweet March 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

      lol i know the feeling!

  26. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    That cheesecake looks awesome. It didn’t even crack on top which is very impressive :D
    I like lemon and fruit cheesecake because it makes it feel light. Cheesecake can be super heavy.

  27. The Teenage Taste March 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    I have to admit, making a cheesecake from scratch has always scared me. It seems like there are so many things to remember and so many things that can go wrong. You make it look easy!

    • KeepItSweet March 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

      The bars are really easy! I think the hardest thing about baking cheesecake is knowing when it is done cooking. Sometimes it takes a little practice to get used to that. I think that for a regular cheesecake a water bath is more important to get it to evenly bake.

  28. Baking Serendipity March 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Lemon and blackberry is such an awesome cheesecake flavor! I l bet it tastes fantastic…and that the citrus gives it hints of spring :)

  29. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 24, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    I just noticed I didn’t comment here yet! Could have sworn I did — oops! Lauren, these are GORGEOUS, as everyone else has said, and I love that you used blackberries! Thanks so much for joining in the Cheesecake Challenge and posting about it so that others can as well — I so appreciate it :) You picked one of my favorites to make, because I love the hint of lemon with the shortbread crust.

    Thanks again!

  30. Shauna from Piece of Cake March 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    I love the combination of lemon and blueberry anything. And in a cheesecake?! FABULOUS.

  31. Susi March 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

    Yum, I love anything cheesecake and the combination of lemon and blackberries sounds incredible refreshing and perfect for spring! Wish I had a piece right now :o)


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