Vanilla Orange Cheesecake

vanilla orange cheesecakeAdapted from the Better Homes & Gardens Baking book, this cheesecake – which tastes very much like a creamsicle – made a nice addition to last night’s Passover seder.

While it is delicious, I must say that for me, this cheesecake has some textural issues. Not that the texture is bad – it’s just more fluffy than a standard cheesecake, which makes it difficult to slice. I suspect that this texture results from the use of sour cream in addition to cream cheese, rather than just all cream cheese in the batter.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, starting with switching out the graham cracker crust for a Passover-approved version using matzoh meal and toasted almonds. The original recipe also called for layering the orange batter on the bottom and floating the vanilla batter on the top, then covering the baked, cooled cake with orange marmalade. I tried to swirl my vanilla and orange layers for a marble look, but it didn’t turn out as marbled as I would have liked. I also omitted the marmalade, but you could certainly add that as the top garnish if you, like Paddington Bear, are a marmalade fan.


For the crust

  • 3/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped, toasted, and cooled
  • 2/3 cup matzoh cake meal or ground matzoh meal*
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the filling

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1 8-ounce tub sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • Orange food coloring

*If you can’t find matzoh cake meal, you can make your own by grinding regular matzoh meal in a food processor to a fine texture. To make the 2/3 cup of matzoh cake meal in this recipe, measure out 2/3 cup and add about 3 or 4 tablespoons of additional matzoh meal, then pulse in a food processor until you have a fine texture.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine almonds, matzoh cake meal, sugar, and salt. Pulse until finely ground, then transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle in the butter, mixing with a spoon to incorporate evenly. Mix with your hands to combine fully; you want a sandy texture.

Press the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I use a small measuring cup to get as even a layer as I can.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until one shade darker in color. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling. If you’re short on time, you can place the crust in your refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool it down – just be careful that you don’t leave it in too long. You want a room temperature crust, not a cold one.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and allow cream cheese, sour cream, and eggs to stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Split your vanilla bean in half lengthwise, then scrape out the seeds. Set the seeds aside and discard the pod.

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and flour and beat on medium, then high speed until completely combined.

Lightly beat eggs, then add to the cream cheese mixture, beating well to combine.

Divide batter in half; stir vanilla seeds into one half, and orange zest into the other. Add orange food coloring to the orange batter.

Pour vanilla batter in first, then top with orange batter, or add smaller amounts of each batter alternatively and swirl to make a marble.

Place pan in a shallow roasting dish or on a cookie sheet with sides. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a 2 1/2 inch area on the outer edge appears set when gently shaken.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; use a sharp knife to gently loosen crust from the pan. Cool for another 30 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.



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