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Key Lime Cheesecake in Layer Cake Form

A friend's birthday potluck picnic is coming up on Sunday. I got tapped to make his birthday cake... and he requested key lime pie. ...There might be dozens at the party, however, and it's really a shame to make a birthday dessert that's too small to go around. I'd also rather make one large dessert, a showpiece to put candles on, than make several smaller ones (ruling out making a couple key lime pies).

So I'm thinking of doing some sort of key lime cake. I really like the look and flavor combos of Gourmet's Key Lime Cheesecake with Mango Ribbons (http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...), but a cheesecake might also be too small. I need height here.

Any thoughts on converting key lime cheesecake to a multi-layered birthday cake? I thought maybe a key lime cake with cream cheese frosting and mango ribbons on top... or maybe a vanilla cake with key lime curd and mango between the layers?

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    1. I think either of those sound delicious! Unfortunately I don't have suggestions for you, but please keep us posted on the decision & implementation, as my husband requests key lime pie for his bday and I'd love to try something like this out.

      1. I've baked a thin sponge cake, topped it with cheesecake filling and baked and it turned out really good. You could bake two layers of sponge cake, top one w/ the filling, bake. When it cools, add the other layer on top and then frost. Or before putting the top layer on, make a dam along the edge w/ frosting, add the mango topping and then put on the top layer of sponge cake. It would be one tall cake, though, and I don't know if it would feed dozens.

        6 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Interesting ... though the main pie flavor I'm looking to translate to the cake is that of key limes. Questions for you, though: when you bake a layer of sponge cake and then re-bake a layer with cheesecake filling on top, does the cheesecake filling stay in place? Do you use a springform pan for that layer? Also, how thick is each layer, and about how long do you bake?

          You're right, I won't feed dozens with any single cake that I can make on my own in my small kitchen with limited equipment etc. I just don't want to show up at a huge party with one dinky pie. :)

          1. re: DClope

            I baked the cake in a pan the same size as the springform pan. Then I put it in the springform pan, then added the cheesecake filling on top of that and baked again. I could have baked it in the springform pan but it wasn't my original idea to do the cheesecake topping. It was an afterthought. The filling stayed on top. The sponge cake was probably an inch thick. I used less cheesecake filling so it was about 1-2" thick. If you want the key lime flavor, how about using a key lime spongecake:


            Page down under desserts.

            1. re: chowser

              I think I might go for broke and do the cake+cheesecake topping as you describe, then go for a layer of key lime curd on top! This could be extremely intense.

              Here's a technique idea I cobbled together from several web sources that involves assembling cake layer + cheesecake topping and baking all at once. It also uses a doctored cake mix which might be good, since this is all getting complicated. Thoughts on this method v. your two-bake process?

              SOUR CREAM CAKE

              2 (18.25 ounce) packages yellow cake mix
              4 teaspoons vanilla extract
              2 cups sour cream

              Make the batter following the directions on the box, EXCEPT replace 2 teaspoons water with an equal amount of vanilla. Fold in sour cream. Cover with cream cheese filling:


              2 (8 oz.) packages Philadelphia cream cheese
              2 boxes powdered sugar
              4 eggs

              Cream cream cheese, powdered sugar and 4 eggs. Spread over each cake layer and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes.

              Muchas gracias, chowser!

              1. re: DClope

                I'd think the heaviness of the cheesecake wouldn't let the cake rise and it wouldn't bake as it should. You could try a bakeless cheesecake if you don't want to double bake and then topping with a key lime curd. I've never done them so can't recommend one over the other. There is a thread about doctoring cake mix that might help you. That sounds like a great idea, topping with key lime filling. You could pipe whipped cream around the top edge and have a really pretty presentation.

                1. re: chowser

                  I think you're right. I'm going with your technique. Going to wing it on the baking times, but if you have any suggestions for how long to bake a 1"-thick layer of cheesecake topping, i'm all ears (eyes). Thanks again for the help. I think it's gonna be great!

                  1. re: DClope

                    I'd probably start with 25 minutes and check it from there. You want to pull it just before it's fully cooked. It sounds great--let us know how it turns out.

        2. The Cake Bible has a recipe for a tiered wedding cake made out of cheesecake, but I don't know if that's really what you're looking for. Dramatic presentation, but then you'd have to take the layers apart to serve it. A thought, anyway.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dietfoodie

            Wow. Probably won't manage that for this weekend, but I will have to check it out sometime soon. Available online?

            1. re: DClope

              I haven't seen it online, I'm afraid. Maybe on her website? It's a bit complicated to paraphrase, but you essentially make three cheesecakes, each smaller than the last, three biscuits (sponge cake? It's optional, but I'm not sure anyone I know would considered it 'cheesecake' without some sort of crust) the same sizes as the cheesecakes, fruit filling, and buttercream.

              The layers are placed on cake rounds and each tier is supported by carefully cut and hidden plastic straws -- the finished cake is gorgeous. I wonder if you could do a modified stack, say, two same-sized cheesecakes, one on top of the other, using the straws trick... not sure I'd want to risk it!

              1. re: dietfoodie

                The idea for the individual cheesecake sounds like what Dclope is thinking of trying above, a cake covered by cheesecake, covered by fruit filling. The problem with trying to stack two cheesecakes the same size and then frosting is that you'd have problems finding the distinct layers when you serve it. It would hold the weight but I'd use dowel rods for tiers, especially for something as heavy as cheesecake.

          2. I would bake the cheesecake in the 9" as per the recipe, except without the crust. Just butter the pan and maybe lightly dust w/ grahm crumbs.

            Then I would separately bake two 9" plain cake layers. I would use a simple butter cake, not sponge cake, because I think it would hold up better when I sandwiched the baked and cooled cheesecake between the cake layers. Frost it between layers and on top just like any 3 layer cake. I would say a basic buttercream flavored w/ lime oil and zest. Then, I would coat the sides of the cake w/ graham cracker crumbs. Decorate the top w/ a few lime slices or more zest.

            2 Replies
            1. re: danna

              This crossed my mind, too, though I did have luck baking the sponge cake w/ the cheesecake on top. If you used three layers, bottom and top cake, middle cheesecake, you could put a layer of key lime curd between, just making sure to use a dam of buttercream so it wouldn't ooze out. If you used a key lime cheesecake (only half the recipe so it's not too thick), key lime curd and a little key lime zest in the frosting, plain cake, you'd have the key lime idea balanced with plain cake.

              1. re: chowser

                Hmmm... I do think I'm going to do a mango-lime cream cheese frosting on the outside, so I think I'll use that as a dam to hold in the lime curd filling and go with the original cake+cheesecake layer idea. Thanks all for suggestions. Graham cracker dust on the outside is a great idea, gonna try that too.

            2. DISASTER, chowhounds, disaster. I'm afraid the cake didn't work at all -- the cream cheese filling on top of each layer just didn't hold up under the weight of the other layers, and with the addition of the curd between layers, the goop started oozing out and the layers sliding all over the place. The cream cheese filling that I used was just cream cheese, conf. sugar, and eggs, and I wonder if I'd used something that baked up a little stronger, whether the cake might have held together. As it was, it was unservable. My attempts to stop the avalanching just made things worse, and I ended up just having to make a new cake to take to the party. Luckily, I still had almost all the key lime curd I'd made, plus the mango-lime cream cheese frosting I concocted, both of which were great materials... I just made Leite's Lemon Curd Cake in a key lime version (lime curd, lime zest) and piped the frosting on top (filling the hole where the cake fell a bit, as that cake is intended to do). I decorated with mango slices and it was pretty... everyone loved it, but I was really disappointed that the key lime layer cake went so badly awry.

              I guess you live and learn. If I had it to do again (not sure I'll try for a while), I'd only use the cream cheese topping for the cake's top layer, not between layers (as this is what caused most of the sliding). I'd use a VERY sturdy frosting to "dam" the edges of the layers to hold in the curd between them.... though I'm really unsure as to whether even that would keep the layers from sliding.

              Thanks all for input and suggestions. I will live to bake another cake!

              3 Replies
              1. re: DClope

                Oh no! I'm sorry to hear that. I probably would have chopped the whole thing up, added fruit, layered and made it a trifle. I'm tempted to try something like this now, maybe with cake on the bottom, cheesecake above and topped w/ key lime curd. What you made sounds delicious, though, and what a story to tell!

                1. re: DClope

                  So sorry to hear it...I have a history of cake-slippage, so I know the trauma. It's good to experiment though....

                  Sometimes I can save a cake that is trying to slide around by stabbing 5-6 skewers into it, pruning it off at the level of the top, and then popping it in the freezer for awhile to firm up. Then again, sometimes it becomes a trifle.

                  1. re: danna

                    Yeah, it was unsavable. Since it was a birthday cake I did want to take an actual cake to the party, but we hung onto the mess for my bf to pick at. :o)

                2. I know I'm a little late on this, but what might work would be to bake off the key lime cheesecake batter in a 1/2" layer in a 1/2 sheet pan (on a thin par baked graham cracker crust) as if you were making cheesecake bars then alternate layers of cake (mango flavored chiffon?) and cheesecake. A ring mold could be used to cut the cheesecake to the appropriate size. You would probably have to put a thin layer of frosting above and below the cheesecake to prevent slippage and soften the graham cracker crust.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LabRat

                    This is a good idea too - as long as the bar was firm and the buttercream very sticky and substantial, it might hold. I am tempted to experiment till I get it right!