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Marvelously-Marbled Citrus Cheesecake

May 22, 2013

by Heather Baird handmade and vintage goods

Cheesecake is a beautiful thing, but when you add swirls of bright color to the batter it becomes a true work of art. In this cake, citrusy colors reflect bright orange and lemon flavors. It’s completely indulgent and perfect for summer entertaining.

Each slice of cake reveals its own unique marbling inside. A knife dipped in warm water and wiped clean before cutting the cake will help prevent the cheesecake from sticking to the knife. This keeps slices neat and reduces the risk of muddying the gorgeous marbling inside and on top.

You will need:

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons orange extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup full fat sour cream
Yellow and pink food coloring

1 1/2 cups full fat sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
Yellow and pink food coloring


Preheat oven to 325? Fahrenheit. Whisk the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour in melted butter and stir until it resembles wet sand.


Pour the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan and press into the bottom evenly. Bake for 6 minutes; let cool completely.


In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on high speed with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar.


In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, vanilla extract, orange extract and lemon juice; whisk well until smooth. Add to cream cheese mixture. Fold in sour cream with a rubber spatula.


Divide batter evenly between three bowls. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring into one bowl of batter and fold together with a rubber spatula. Add a few drops of pink food coloring to another bowl and fold together. Add drops of pink and yellow food coloring to the last bowl and fold together until a consistent orange color is achieved.


Pour the three batter colors into one bowl and fold batters together in two folds, or until just swirled together.


Pour batter over crust and bake for 45-50 minutes or until just set with a center that slightly jiggles. Let cheesecake cool on a counter top while you prepare the topping. Keep oven heated to 325?F.


For the topping, stir together the sour cream and sugar in a medium bowl. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and divide between two small bowls (1/4 cup of mixture per bowl). Mix a few drops of pink food coloring into one bowl, and pink and yellow drops in the other bowl. Cover the top of the cheesecake with 1 cup of untinted, sweetened sour cream. Drop spoonfuls of pink sour cream randomly on top of the untinted sour cream. Swirl into the sour cream with a knife.


Repeat process with the orange sour cream; swirl well until the entire surface is marbled.


Place cheesecake back into the oven for 5-7 minutes to set the topping. Remove from the oven and let cheesecake cool in the pan. Run a thin knife around the edge of the cheesecake and remove the collar of the springform pan. Cut cheesecake into slices with a warm knife. Wipe knife clean between slices.  Refrigerate leftovers.

All photographs by Heather Baird.

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