Meyer Lemon Cheesecake and Recipe Sharing in Rome

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake


For a culinary traveler, food is always the number one topic when meeting locals and/or fellow travelers.  When I’m able to share favorite recipes with others, it is an added bonus.  This happened one evening in Rome, in an apartment overlooking the Campo dei Fiori.  Two newly-made friends from Rome and I had a potluck of both Italian and American flavors. 


Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

In Stefania’s cozy and narrow kitchen, we cooked favorite dishes from our own countries.  Stefania made an appetizer of feta, tomatoes and oregano, Giancarlo made his version of Cozze Napoletane (Neapolitan-style mussels), and I made an American lemon cheesecake.  We helped each other and chatted while passing pans and ingredients, chopping garlic and herbs, sautéing, steaming, mixing, and even drinking a little wine in between the work.  Pans and utensils clinked, sauces simmered, and the scents from the cooking drifted and mingled together like our mixed-language conversation, bonding together flavors and friendships. 

We brought the dishes to the living room and dined while sitting on throw pillows.  We used crostini and our hands as utensils to eat the mussels.  Talk and wine flowed freely.  The dinner ended with each of us having a slice of lemon cheesecake and a shot of limoncello, made by Stefania’s mom.  Both had us feeling full and happy.  The food was unpretentious, casual, yet it was delicate, full of flavor, and satisfying.  It was one of my most memorable dining experiences in Rome.  I want to share each of the dishes with you, yes even Stefania’s mom’s homemade limoncello. 


Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

 Today, I’m sharing the lemon cheesecake.  When someone asks me what American dessert I like the best, I don’t take long to answer; it’s cheesecake or chocolate chip cookies.  Our cream cheese is best for making the dessert so creamy and dense.  I’ve tried using other cheeses, but nothing works as well as U.S. cream cheese.  The lemony flavor lightens it up, well just a bit.  Since lemons never seem to be out of season in Italy, I made a lemon cheesecake.  And, I was able to find Philadelphia brand cream cheese at the supermarket in Rome. 



Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

This recipe uses Meyer lemons, (because I just picked well over 300 from our tree) but you can also use regular lemons.  I’ve added notes on adjusting the recipe for regular lemons below.  There are a few easy tricks to making this cheesecake perfect: 

  • It’s important that the cream cheese is at room temperature before creaming it, or you may have lumpy instead of creamy cheesecake. 
  • Cook the cheesecake in a water bath to help it bake more evenly and prevent cracking and browning on top. 
  • Don’t overbake the cheesecake.  It should still jiggle slightly in the center when you remove it from the oven.  The cake continues cooking even after it’s removed and will set once it’s cooled.

I would love to hear from you on your culinary travel experiences.  What dish from your country do you most like to share with others?


Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

(makes one 10-inch cheesecake)



For the crust:

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

7 tablespoons butter, melted



For the cheesecake:

2 1/2 pounds (1.14 kg) Cream Cheese, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)*

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/3 cup heavy cream

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice*


About 1 cup lightly-sweetened whipped cream, optional for garnish

4 to 5 lemon slices, halved, optional for garnish


*If using regular lemons, reduce the zest to 2 tablespoons and the lemon juice to 1/3 cup.


Preheat oven to 375ºF and butter the bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan


Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.  Press into the spring form pan, going up the side of the pan only 1/4 inch.  Bake about 8 minutes, until lightly browned.  Cool completely.


Decrease oven temperature to 325ºF


In a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese until it’s smooth.  Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix together.  Add the vanilla extract, cornstarch, and heavy cream and stir until combined.  Add the eggs and yolks one at a time; mix each in before adding the next.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Pour the cheesecake filling into the spring form pan on top of the cooled crust.  Bake in a water bath for 60-70 minutes.  The outer edges should be set and the center will still jiggle a little when you move it.  (The cake continues cooking after it’s removed from the oven.) 


 Cool for 15 minutes, then remove the spring form rim.  Cool completely, then place into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, overnight is best.  You can garnish with the whipped cream and lemon slice, if you like.  The cheesecake also goes very well with lemon granita.  Enjoy!


Update:  To ensure that no water leaks into the cheesecake while it's baking, wrap aluminum foil around the outside of the spring form pan.  Don't fill the water bath until you've already placed the cheesecake in the oven, and only fill it to halfway up the side of the spring form pan.




Lemon Collage

Related Posts:

Gianduja and Nutella Cheesecake for World Nutella Day

Meyer Lemon Tart Inspired by Gerard Mulot Patisserie in Paris

Tiramisu Cheesecake – A Delicious Italian-American Combination

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Granita





  1. April Cavin
    January 16th

    Sounds delicious! Cheesecake can be so heavy and rich, so I love the idea of using lemons to lighten it up–

  2. Cookin' Canuck
    January 16th

    Gorgeous photos! What a wonderful evening you had. There’s nothing like food to cross cultural borders.

  3. Jane
    January 16th

    Thanks for sharing! I love the flavor of lemon in any dessert. Beautiful photos!

  4. Noel Chapman
    January 16th

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe! Cheesecake has always been my favorite dessert.

  5. Drick
    January 16th

    beautiful … and delicious too I bet … recipe sounds to die for…

  6. Mari
    January 16th

    Looks delicious, I feel like making this recipe right now.
    Happy to visit your blog!

  7. Daydreamer Desserts
    January 16th

    Your cheesecake looks exquisite! Yum!

  8. dokuzuncubulut
    January 16th

    Amazing photos and recipe. Very savory…

  9. MaryMoh
    January 16th

    Beautiful photos. Lemon cheesecake is always my favourite. I love the lemony smell and taste. I wish I can have a slice now. That will make my day :)

  10. Lisa
    January 17th

    Girl I love cheesecake and Meyer lemons. Love your blog! Can’t wait to try this.

  11. Trix
    January 17th

    Yum! The photo is fantastic and soo appetizing. What a fun evening you had!

  12. Sortachef
    January 17th

    Beautiful as well as scrumptious. And I love your sentiments about Rome and the Campo Dei Fiori – one of my favorite places on earth! Thanks.

  13. Jeanne
    January 17th

    This cheesecake has such a great story…and it looks delicious! Thank you for the recipe.

  14. Tiffiny Felix
    January 17th

    Oh, yum! Cheesecake and lemon are two of my favorite flavors! And your cheesecake looks so creamy…Mmmmm…Thanks! :)

  15. Rozee
    January 17th

    Sooo delicious. I was lucky enough to have a sample. I’m a native New Yorker, and it beats NYC cheesecakes.

  16. Alta
    January 17th

    So jealous of your tree! This sounds so delicious.

  17. Jozee Pizzurro
    January 17th

    Sharing a nice meal with your friends made for a wonderful evening. The pictures of the lemon cheesecake are fantastic. Cheesecake has always been my favorite dessert. I could eat it everyday.

  18. Liz Marr, MS, RD
    January 17th

    Lovely photos and the recipe sounds divine. What a beautiful tree.

  19. Cherine
    January 18th

    Perfect cheesecake. One of my favorite dessert. :)

  20. Saa Umar
    January 18th

    Cant wait to try this at home.

  21. TripleScoop
    January 18th

    Congrats on the being in the Top 9 on Foddbuzz. The cheesecake looks great.

  22. sweetlife
    January 18th

    Yummy, great pics!!

  23. It have been a while I haven’t done any cheesecake. I’ll definitely try yours!

  24. Vegetable Matter
    January 18th

    300 lemons? I’m so jealous. And your cake sounds fantastic. I’m a sucker for cheesecake. Fat + sugar = the perfect dessert.

  25. Lydia Adams
    January 19th

    Howdie… Just dropping by to say what a helpful blog you got here..
    You shared so much and it would be a lot of help, with
    all the info you had on your site. Your great. :)

  26. Michelle
    January 21st

    Sounds like a wonderful evening, and definitely capped off with this wonderful dessert.

  27. Amanda
    January 22nd

    This looks beautiful. I can just imagine how good it tastes.

  28. Angela
    January 24th

    Your cheesecake is beautiful!!

  29. Beth
    April 3rd

    This is a totally delectable cheesecake! My new go-to for best quality cheesecake. This recipe does not disappoint. Yummm

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