Extra creamy raspberry lemon cheesecake bars made with layer of crumbly and buttery biscuit base, lemon flavoured cheesecake filling and topping of raspberry sauce. These bars are quick and so easy to make, the hardest part is waiting for them to cool down and set!
With longer and sunnier days on the horizon, these raspberry cheesecake bars will make a great addition to any picnic, garden party or outdoor gathering. They can also be prepared well ahead, allowing you all the extra time for much needed catch ups with friends and family.
Ingredients & substitutes
With only 9 ingredients needed to make these cheesecake bars, you will love how easy and quick they are to whip up! Here's what you will need, and a couple of suggestions for substitutes:
Raspberries - one of the most dominant ingredients and flavours in this recipe. You can use fresh or frozen raspberries. If using frozen, there is no need to defrost them before. In fact, it will be better if you keep them frozen until you need them.
Digestive biscuits - for those of you based in the UK, no further introduction is needed here. For my US based audience, you will use graham cracker instead. Just like with most of the cheesecakes, the biscuit / cracker crumbs are used to make the crust and create the base of raspberry cheesecake bars.
Butter - you will need melted butter to combine with crushed biscuits / graham cracker crumbs, as well as a small amount to grease your baking tin with. Salted or unsalted butter works fine.
Cream cheese - I highly recommend using full-fat cream cheese in this recipe. Some places sell it under the soft white cheese, depending where you are. Full-fat cream cheese not only will create the most delicious and extra-creamy texture, but it will also help these raspberry lemon cheesecake bars set up nicely. Philadelphia is always my go-to.
Caster sugar - I prefer caster sugar in my baking, due to it's fine texture. You can also use granulated sugar instead.
Sour cream - it will soften the texture and add some extra moisture to the cheesecake. You can also use double / heavy cream instead.
Lemon - you will need lemon zest from two lemons and 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice for this lemon raspberry cheesecake.
Tips for making this recipe
- Room temperature ingredients - as with any cheesecake, it is crucial that your ingredients are at room temperature before you start making the recipe. Take them out of the fridge and let them sit on your kitchen counter at least an hour before.
- Line the baking tin properly - grease it lightly with some butter and leave plenty of overhanging baking paper, as it will help with removing the raspberry cheesecake from the pan. I also like to use metal clips to hold the baking paper in place, but it is not necessary.
- Press the base firmly in the tin - make sure the crushed biscuits / graham cracker crust is firmly pressed into the bottom of the baking pan. I always smooth and level it with spatula first, then change into a measuring cup to press it well against the tin. This will ensure the stable cracker crust that can hold the filling and doesn't fall apart when you slice it.
- Don't overbake - cheesecake should have a gentle wobble and jiggle in the middle, after taking it out of the oven.
- Allow the bake to cool - the hardest part of this recipe! Be patient and don't rush this step. Let the cheesecake sit in the fridge for at least couple of hours, or ideally, overnight. This will ensure that it has firmed up and set properly.
How to make raspberry coulis
If you are not familiar with what coulis is, it is just another name for a smooth, thick sauce. It is made by pureeing and sieving a fruit or vegetable, and has lots of handy uses, especially for desserts.
To make simple raspberry coulis, place frozen or fresh raspberries in a small saucepan and add 1-2 Tbsp of water or lemon juice. Let them cook until they start falling apart and release their juices, then push them through a mesh strainer or sieve to get rid of the seeds.
Return the liquid to a saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until it has reduced by half of volume and becomes thick. Transfer to a bowl or a jug and keep aside.
Steps for making this recipe
Start by crushing the digestive biscuits (or graham crackers). You can use food processor or good old rolling pin to do that. Next, add the melted butter and mix them both together, until the mixture resembles the texture of the wet sand.
Transfer the ready cracker crust into prepared pan and press firmly all around, using the back of the spoon or measuring cup. Bake for 10 minutes, then allow it to cool slightly.
After that, prepare the filling by combining the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour the batter into the tin and smooth out the top.
Add raspberry sauce in small dollops over the top of cheesecake batter. Use a toothpick or a knife to create raspberry swirl. Scatter some extra raspberries on top and bake.
Make ahead and storing instructions
What I love about these cheesecake bars recipe is the fact that you can prepare them well in advance. In fact, it's better if you prepare it ahead of time. The cheesecake will have plenty of time to chill, set and firm up.
Once the cheesecake is baked, allow it to cool completely, before placing it in the fridge. Store any leftovers in the airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze these bars. Wrap them in clingfilm or reusable kitchen wrap, then place in the freezer-friendly container and store for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge.
Scaling this recipe
This recipe can be easily doubled in size. If you are scaling it up, you will need to adjust the size of your tin and baking times.
For the tin, I would recommend using 10 x 10 inches square or 10 x 2 inches round one. Baking times will be adjusted to 15-18 minutes for the crust, and about 1h - 1h 15min for the cheesecake.
Can I use different size pan?
Yes you can. If you don't have 8 x 8 inch square baking tin, you can use 9 inch (23 cm) round pan. You don't need to change the baking time or oven temperature for that.
If your pan is bigger in size, it will make the batter shallower. You will need to reduce the baking time slightly. Correspondingly, if the pan you are using is smaller, it will make the batter to sit deeper. In that case, increase the baking times a little.
This cake pan sizes and conversions post from Sally's Baking Addiction is a great source, if you need extra help.
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Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars
- 8' x 8' square baking tin
- baking paper
- electric mixer
- fine sieve or kitchen strainer
- 200 g raspberries fresh or frozen
- 180 g Digestive style biscuits crushed
- 80 g unsalted butter melted
- 340 g full-fat cream cheese I use Philadelphia
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 140 g caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 60 g sour cream or double/ heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 medium lemons zest from both + 1 Tbsp juice
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (160 C fan). Grease the 8' x 8' square baking tin and line it with baking paper, with plenty of overhang (for easy removal of the cheesecake later).
- Reserve a small handful of raspberries and set aside. Transfer the remaining raspberries into a small saucepan set over a medium heat and add 1 Tbsp of water. Cook for 5 minutes, or until berries have released their juices and start to fall apart. Remove from the heat and push the mixture through a fine sieve or strainer to get rid of the seeds, then return to the saucepan and cook for another 8- 10 minutes or until it has reduced by half in volume and you have a thick sauce. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine together the crushed biscuits and melted butter, until the mixture resembles the texture of the wet sand. Transfer the mix into prepared baking tin, and press firmly, using back of the spoon or measuring cup. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
- Place the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, half of lemon zest and 1 Tbsp of lemon juice in a large bowl and using an electric mixer, mix it well to combine, until you have smooth batter. Pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Add little dollops of raspberry sauce on top, and use a toothpick or a knife to create swirls on top. Scatter the remaining raspberries on top and bake for 45 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, but there is still a little wobble in the middle of the bake.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool completely, then transfer it to the fridge for at least couple of hours, or overnight. Remove from the fridge, and using the overhang baking paper, gently lift the cheesecake from the tin. Top it with the remaining lemon zest, cut into 9 square bars and enjoy!
- Bring the ingredients to the room temperature at least an hour before.
- Make sure to use full-fat cream cheese, as it creates better flavour and firmer texture. Using the reduced-fat cheese may result in your cheesecake not setting properly.
- If no sour cream is available, use the same amount of double / heavy cream.
- Your cheesecake should have a gentle wobble and jiggle in the middle, after baking.
- Make sure to cool and chill the cheesecake before removing it from the tin and slicing it.