Creamy, lemon mascarpone cheesecake is baked into a simple graham cracker crust and topped with a light and airy toasted meringue. This cheesecake will impress your friends and family with its flavor and presentation.
Several years ago, I used to work at the Cheesecake Factory. And while going through their manager’s training, I was encouraged to sample cheesecake every day. It was a cheesecake lover’s dream. I haven’t always been a big fan of cheesecake (key lime pie is my thing), but on occasion, I do enjoy a slice. I rarely make cheesecake at home, but it’s an excellent dessert to serve to guests. If you want to impress your friends with a cheesecake, lemon mascarpone cheesecake is the one to make! It’s bursting with lemon flavor, and the toasted meringue topping makes for a beautiful presentation.
What you need to make Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake
8-inch springform pan
Medium mixing bowl
Stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment
Large deep baking pan
Graham cracker crumbs. Store-bought graham cracker crumbs or honey graham crackers work well for this recipe.
Sugar. Granulated sugar is used to sweeten all three components of this dessert.
Butter. Always use unsalted butter so that you can control the amount of salt you add to your crust.
Salt. Add a bit of salt to your cookie crust layer as a flavor enhancer.
Cream cheese. Use full-fat blocks of cream cheese. Cream cheese spread has a higher concentration of water and will cause your filling to be runny.
Mascarpone. Mascarpone is known as Italian cream cheese. It has a higher fat content that traditional American cream cheese and, therefore, adds a richer, creamier flavor to this cheesecake.
Eggs. Use large eggs and bring them to room temperature.
Vanilla. Always use pure vanilla extract compared to imitation. It will give you the best flavor.
Lemon. Select fresh lemon juice over bottled. I suggest using the lemon zest from 1-2 lemons. If you love lemon flavor stick with two lemons.
Selecting cream cheese for baking cheesecake
Always use full-fat blocks of cream cheese for cheesecake filling unless otherwise specified in a recipe. Do not use the tubs of cream cheese as these are processed to be spreadable (they are whipped and have more air in them). The blocks of cream cheese will give you the best results. Bring your cream cheese to room temperature to achieve a filling that is creamy and has a smooth consistency.
Using a water bath for baking cheesecake
A water bath will help your cheesecake cook evenly and help prevent the top from cracking. The steam created from the water bath produces a moist and humid environment that allows your cheesecake to rise, set, and not dry out. To prepare a water bath, place your springform pan that is wrapped with aluminum foil and filled with your uncooked cheesecake into a larger deep pan. Pour enough boiling water so that it is halfway up the sides of your cheesecake pan.
How to make the meringue topping
Meringue is quite simple to make. It looks a little more intimidating than it really is. Begin by placing your egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a small saucepan filled with an inch of simmering water. Whisk the mixture constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the egg whites are warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixing bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 8-10 minutes.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t bother making meringue on a rainy day!” Let me tell you, this is wise advice. If you can avoid making meringue (pavlova and French macarons included) on a rainy day, then avoid it! Meringue absorbs moisture, and on a humid day, your meringue will more likely weep and not hold its beautiful shape. If baking meringue, it could turn out sticky instead of crisp. Sometimes though, you have no choice but to make it on a rainy day. If so, you will most likely have to beat your meringue for longer than the recipe calls for.
Once cooled to room temperature, you can either refrigerate your cheesecake for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months. When refrigerating, wrap your cheesecake with plastic wrap in its original container to prevent it from drying out.
If choosing to freeze, do not add the meringue topping. You can freeze the cheesecake with or without the springform pan. If using, remove the outer shell of the springform pan and wrap the cheesecake with the bottom of the pan tightly with plastic wrap. Add a final layer of aluminum foil. If selecting not to use the springform pan, place the cheesecake on a cake board or freezer-safe dish and wrap with the plastic wrap and the aluminum foil. To serve, thaw the frozen cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight and add the meringue topping just before serving.
Tips and takeaways
- Use heavy-duty aluminum foil to wrap the outside of your springform pan tightly. You want to avoid the water from entering your container and making your crust soggy.
- Do not overmix your filling as overmixing can cause your cheesecake to crack. Only mix until all the ingredients are just combined. Use the paddle attachment to mix your ingredients on medium-low speed to avoid beating too much air into your filling.
- If you begin with ingredients that are not entirely at room temperature, your final batter may have lumps. If this happens, you can run your mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any clumps. Doing this will give you a creamy, smooth batter.
More cheesecake recipes
- Sweet potato cheesecake
- Strawberry cheesecake mousse
- No-bake cherry cheesecake parfaits
- Chocolate almond cheesecake mousse
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make this Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake. I’d love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let’s make every occasion, a sweet occasion!Print