Sweet little jelly bean bees usher in Spring with this honey and lemon cheesecake. Honey adds a mellow sweetness, and sour cream gives it a light tang – a perfect combination!
The cheesecake is easy; making the bees takes a bit of patience and fine motor skills. If you’re not up for that, they sell cute little pre-made bees and flowers too, and no one will judge you!
I’ve made gum paste bees before, and the wings stuck on them easily. With jelly beans? Not so much. I tried royal icing and candy melts, and those pesky wings just kept sliding off. Finally I found that the slices of jelly beans I used for wings would stick to the bean body as long as there was a sticky surface exposed. (So, cut a thin slice of jelly bean and then trim a little bit off one end so it STICKS!)
I made small bees using a yellow jelly bean, two slices for wings, and a small piece cut off one end of a jelly bean for the head. A black food color pen works really well for the stripes and eyes. I tried making a stinger out of dark chocolate, but frankly…it looked like the bee was pooping. Had a good laugh over that one. Tiny slices of black jelly beans kind of worked, but I wasn’t very happy with them. Next time I’ll buy some black licorice.
Just for grins, I also made some larger bees, using yellow peanut M&Ms. They looked more like big fat bumblebees…very cute. Those are around the base of the cake.
I found that toothpicks really helped hold the bees in place while I fussed with them and while they dried. (This obviously doesn’t work for the M&M bees – they just have to chill on the plate.) A piece of styrofoam is nice to stick the toothpicks into, but use your imagination. A small box or even a potato would work well, too!
I made the little violet flowers and the bee hive out of royal icing. (Make sure the icing is very stiff when you pipe the bee hive. or maybe you could make one out of half of a lemon?) I forgot to add leaves. Grrrr. The green icing was sitting on the counter in a pastry bag with a leaf tip, and I forgot to use it! I think it would have looked a lot prettier with that touch of green.
The honey comb was made from melted white chocolate, with a little milk chocolate and a tiny bit of yellow candy coloring (a yellow candy melt would work too) to achieve a honey color. Spread it over bubble wrap and place in the freezer until hard, then just peel off and break into pieces.
And….here’s the recipe for the cheesecake!
|Honey Lemon Cheesecake|| |
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup honey
- Juice and zest from one large lemon
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- drop of yellow food coloring (optional)
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Prepare 9-inch springform pan by lightly buttering sides of ring. Place a 10-inch round of parchment over the bottom of the pan and set the ring over it. Hold the ring down firmly and close the clasp, trapping the parchment. You should be able to see a small "ruffle" from the outside. This gives your crust a smooth appearance all the way to the plate. It will ooze butter in the oven, so make sure you have a baking sheet or foil under it.
- Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter.
- Using a straight sided measuring cup, press crust firmly and evenly in pan. Using one hand to support the side of the pan, press firmly all the way around. Mixture doesn't have to go all the way to the top.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and white sugar until smooth. Add the honey, lemon juice and zest, flour, vanilla, and food coloring. Beat on medium until combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low just until incorporated. Do not over beat!
- Fold in sour cream and pour over crust, smoothing with a knife.
- Place pan on baking sheet and bake for 70 minutes. Without opening oven door, turn oven off and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Test by shaking pan gently. The inside should jiggle a bit. This is exactly what you want. If the whole thing wobbles, close the door and leave it in there for another 30 minutes before removing.
- If your cheesecake extends over the top of the crust, run a knife gently around the edge, right down to the crust, to avoid cracks as it cools.
- Once completely cool, refrigerate until ready to decorate and serve.
I like the clean look I get when I do this with parchment. But…it will ooze butter, so make sure the cheesecake is setting on a baking pan – preferably lined with foil!
Once your cheesecake is chilled, pipe whipped cream around the edge and decorate to suit your tastes. You might even want to drizzle a little honey on the top.
And here’s another version, using colored whipped topping for the pastel flowers.
As much as I love winter, I’m so happy Spring is officially here! More Easter recipes to come.