Layered Lemon Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Almond Crust

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Layered Lemon Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Almond Crust recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
For over ten years, I have declared this Turtle Cheesecake with Chocolate, Caramel and Pecans to be the best cheesecake I have ever tasted. Well, there is a new cake in town.

We had some friends over for dinner and I wanted to make something a little different. Fruit was requested over chocolate and I looked around for inspiration.

Naturally, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. The brown sugar and almond crust combined with a seriously kicked up lemon flavor to create a dessert that far exceeded my expectations. The lemon changes everything, this is like no other cheesecake I’ve tasted before.

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The layers are unexpected and the sweetly tart lemon glaze balanced the barely sweetened sour cream layer and a less than traditionally sweet cheesecake. I absolutely LOVED this dessert.

The comments ranged from “ah-ma-zing” to “what are the layers? these are awesome!” to “phenomenal crust” to “the glaze on top absolutely makes this cheesecake.

Hyperbole and excessive enthusiasm aside, this is a FANTASTIC dessert that I’m confident you will love, whether served on its own or topped with homemade strawberry sauce.

Layered Lemon Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Almond Crust recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen
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Layered Lemon Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Almond Crust

5 from 5 votes
Recipe adapted from and with thanks to The Junior League Of Denver's Cookbook and Creative Culinary
Servings: 16 servings


  • Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • Filling Ingredients:
  • 24 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest finely minced, this was the zest from 1 large lemon
  • Sour Cream Topping Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the almond flour, brown sugar and butter in a small bowl and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 10" springform pan*. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool 30-45 minutes before adding filling.
  • Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on high speed until it is completely smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Slowly add the sugar, beating until smooth and then adding the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat again and then stir in the lemon zest.
  • Pour over the cooled crust and bake for 35 minutes, until set, but not browned. Stir together the sour cream and the sugar and let rest on the counter while the cheesecake is baking. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and gently spread the sour cream mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake 12 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for half an hour. Then transfer to the refrigerator and cool for about an hour, until the topping is cool, but not completely chilled. While the cake is chilling, make the final glaze. Combine the sugar and arrowroot in a small saucepan. Whisk in the water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened. Cook 1 minute and then let cool.
  • Pour the cooled glaze over the cool cheesecake and spread to cover completely. Chill overnight. Top with a mountain of berries just before serving, if desired. Enjoy!
  • * I've also made this into (5) 3-4" cheesecakes. The baking times are adjusted as follows, the crust baking time is 6-7 minutes. The filling baking time is approximately 25 minutes. The sour cream layer baking time is 12 minutes.


Calories: 402kcal · Carbohydrates: 32g · Protein: 6g · Fat: 29g · Saturated Fat: 14g · Cholesterol: 100mg · Sodium: 198mg · Potassium: 124mg · Fiber: 1g · Sugar: 28g · Vitamin A: 882IU · Vitamin C: 4mg · Calcium: 104mg · Iron: 1mg
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Layered Lemon Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Almond Crust recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. cindy - FL says

    I made this cheesecake for Christmas. 1) Waaayyy too much lemon in the filling and glaze. If I make it again, I will reduce the lemon juice and lemon zest called for by at least HALF. 2) I will also reduce the sugar in the sour cream filling next time. 3)The crust was soggy….and the cake was a little too creamy…so maybe some extra cooking time needed. An important note for those making this recipe for the 1st time at a gathering (like I was), because my oven generally cooks things a little faster than a recipe calls for…I should have cooked the cake longer in this particular recipe. 4) I will probably omit the glaze next time. 5) Next time I will cook the strawberries a little so they don't scatter everywhere & ruin the presentation when I slice and serve the cake.

  2. Kim says

    I rarely have time to return to sites after trying a recipe to give it a review, but had to make a special point for this one. Not only was it the best cheesecake Ive ever made, it was also the best tasting cheesecake Ive ever had. And it looked beautiful. I will say, it does require a bit of a process to make it, but well worth it in the end and great for special occasions. I did have to cook my cheesecake filling layer for an extra 4-5 minutes but otherwise a HUGE success. Great lemon flavor (not too subtle or too strong). Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  3. Anonymous says

    I need to gluten free as well as egg free. Do you think this would work using an egg substitute such as chia / water mix or flax / water mix? Has anyone tried it?

  4. Tiia says

    Made this wonderful cake for my husband’s birthday and it was definitely one of the best ever! I liked it better right away, so smooth and delectable, but hubby liked it more the day after. Amazed that we had any leftovers 🙂 Thanks for the awesome recipe, will be making it again tonight for the wee one and her friends! I’m not really one for getting creative with the recipes, followed this to a tee and everything worked very well.

  5. Peta Levett says

    PS. I put the fruit on first then the glaze and it made it look pretty special – all that shiny, glaze fruit! I topped with strawberries and blueberries, then glazed and will definitely do this way from now on. A divine recipe! Thanks again.5 stars

  6. Kathryn says

    I’ve made this twice in the past two months. It is by far one of the best recipes for a lemon cheesecake! Smooth, rich, creamy zesty … LOVE IT!!! I did cut down on the sugar a bit… Thanks for posting this.5 stars

  7. Laura says

    Is there a way to see the nutritional value in this recipe? I am mainly looking for the total carbs in a slice.


  8. Alex says

    This layered goodness has been an absolute favorite of my family! I have been asked EVERY Easter to make this and it is such a hit! This recipe knocked it out of the park the first time and now it will be a tradition! Soooo AWESOME! Thank you for sharing this recipe.5 stars

  9. Valerie says

    This is probably the 4th time I’ve made this recipe. I save it for special occasions
    It is ABSOLUTELY the best cheesecake I have EVER had .
    I serve it topped with frozen raspberries.
    I’m making it for my birthday this year- no party due to covid so I needed a special treat!

  10. Donna Aravanis says

    I’m excited to try the Layered Lemon Cheesecake with Brown Sugar Almond crust. I have a question about baking times. I have an 8″ springform pan instead of a 10″ Can you tell me how I might adjust my time so it comes out well?

    • Mary Younkin says

      You’ll need a good bit more baking time, Donna. I’m guessing 10-15 minutes more. However, you should check it for doneness at the same time you would check a smaller cheesecake. If the center looks wet and shiny, it needs to bake longer. The cheesecake is done when its center looks firm.

  11. Kellouise says

    To die for!! I made this and actually put it in a Pyrex casserole dish instead of a spring form pan. Omg!! It’s better than the Luby’s cheesecake I’ve made that is similar. The layers are enticing and mysterious, and melt in your mouth. It takes time to make, but it is so worth it!!5 stars