Lemon poppy seed cheesecake recipe

Posted on 24 April 2016

Following on from last week’s recipe, a pear and white chocolate hazelnut cake, we’re sharing another gorgeous recipe from Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s new cookbook.


Photo courtesy of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.

Photo courtesy of Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.


Lemon poppy seed cheesecake

Difficulty: Little effort
Prep time: 40 min, plus 2 hours 20 minutes chilling
Baking time: 25 minutes



For the lemon and poppy seed cake

  • Seven eggs
  • 460g sugar
  • 480g all-purpose flour
  • 15ml baking powder
  • 310g butter, melted
  • 80ml olive oil
  • Zest of five lemons and juice of one
  • 60ml poppy seeds

For the cheesecake

  • 300g speculoos biscuits, crushed
  • 30ml granulated sugar
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1cm piece fresh ginger, grated
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 250ml fresh cream
  • 500g cream cheese
  • 250ml condensed milk
  • 250ml lemon juice
  • 30ml vanilla
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 7 sheets gelatine, soaked in cold water and drained


Cooking method

  1. For the poppy seed cake, preheat the oven to 180 °C. Spray a baking tray with nonstick spray.
  2. In a stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold it into the egg mixture. Mix until well combined.
  3. Combine the melted butter, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and allow to stand for a few minutes before adding it to the flour mixture. Mix until smooth and then add the poppy seeds.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tray and bake for 25 minutes, or until the batter is cooked and golden brown. Once cooled, carefully remove from the tray.
  5. Depending on the height of your sponge, trim the top with a large bread knife or use a string to cut it into a perfect flat shape. Set aside.
  6. For the cheesecake, line a medium-sized loaf tin with wax paper and spray with nonstick spray.
  7. Mix the biscuits, sugar, lemon zest, grated ginger and melted butter together in a large mixing bowl. Press a thin layer onto the base of the loaf tin until evenly spread and place in the fridge. Reserve the rest of the mixture at room temperature.
  8. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cream until thick. Add the cream cheese and whisk on a medium speed until there are no lumps – maximum 2 minutes. Combine the condensed milk, lemon juice, vanilla and icing sugar, add to the cream cheese mixture and whisk lightly.
  9. In a small saucepan, warm the gelatine with some of the leftover water and melt down until smooth – do not boil. Add the gelatine mixture to the cream cheese and cream and whisk for another 2–3 minutes. Be careful not to overmix or it will separate.
  10. Pour a little of the cream cheese filling into the loaf tin on top of the crumble and return to the fridge to set for 20 minutes. Make sure the cheese filling is semi-hard before proceeding with the stacking: add a layer of the sponge, some more cream cheese filling and lastly a layer of biscuit crumbs.
  11. Return to the fridge for 2 hours to set.
  12. To serve, roast a few lemons on a griddle pan until they are caramelised and serve with dollops of caramel.
    JAN - A Breath of French Air

    Taken from JAN – A Breath of French Air, by Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen (Struik Lifestyle).


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