Libby’s Cheesecake

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Our Grandma Libby is the reason we have so many delicious recipes in our family. Her New York-style cheesecake is one of our all-time favorites. It starts with a golden crust scented with lemon zest. The crust is filled with a thick, creamy layer of cream cheese filling. After baking, it’s topped with a rich vanilla bean crème fraîche. Each bite is creamy and decadent, making it the best cheesecake we’ve ever had!


Can I Use a Different Type of Crust for This Cheesecake Recipe?

Absolutely! You can try different types of crusts for this cheesecake. The crust in our recipe is made with flour, sugar, lemon zest, melted butter, egg yolk, and vanilla, creating a delicious and buttery base. If you want to switch things up, a graham cracker crust or a Biscoff cookie crust would work well too.

Can I Substitute Crème Fraîche with Another Ingredient for the Topping?

If you don’t have crème fraîche, you can use sour cream instead. The taste and texture will be slightly different, but it will still work well as a topping. We don’t recommend using whipped cream or Greek yogurt as they can change the cheesecake’s flavor profile.

Can I Make This Cheesecake in Advance?

Yes, you can make this cheesecake ahead of time. After baking and cooling, refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight before adding the topping and serving. This helps the cheesecake set properly and develop its flavors. Add the topping at least an hour before serving and keep it refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

Tips for the Best Cheesecakes

  • Cooking Method: This cheesecake is baked at a low temperature, avoiding the need for a water bath. This method ensures an even bake.
  • Mixing the Filling: Don’t overmix the filling ingredients. Whipping too much can make it too fluffy. Room temperature cream cheese helps prevent lumps, but a few small lumps are okay.
  • Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature cream cheese ensures a smooth, creamy texture.

Libby’s Cheesecake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling & Fridge 7 hours
Course Dessert
Servings 12



  • – 1 cup flour
  • – 1/4 cup sugar
  • – 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • – 1/2 cup melted butter
  • – 1 egg yolk
  • – 1/4 teaspoon vanilla


  • – 5 packages 8 oz each cream cheese, room temperature
  • – 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • – 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • – 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • – 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • – 3 tablespoons flour
  • – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • – 5 eggs + 2 egg yolks


  • – 1 cup crème fraîche
  • – 2 tablespoons sugar
  • – 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste



  • Combine flour, sugar, and lemon zest. Add melted butter and mix with a fork until crumbly. Add egg yolk and vanilla, mix until even crumbles form. Pat into a 9-inch springform pan.
  • Bake the crust at 400°F for about 6 minutes until golden. Let cool.


  • Butter the sides of the springform pan.
  • Beat the room temperature cream cheese for about 30 seconds until smooth. Add the remaining filling ingredients and mix with a hand or stand mixer until just combined (about 1 minute). Don’t overmix.
  • Bake in a 500°F oven for 6-8 minutes until the edges are just golden. Reduce the temperature to 200°F and bake for 1 hour.
  • Turn off the oven, open the door to remove the heat, and prop it open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours, remove from the oven and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Add the topping at least an hour before serving and refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Stir together crème fraîche, sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Spread over the chilled cheesecake and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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