Please, Bees…Bring Spring! Honey Lemon Cheesecake

Honey Lemon Cheesecake from The Rowdy BakerSweet 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!

Bee factory!

Bee factory!

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.Honey Lemon Cheesecake the rowdy baker

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
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Author:
Ingredients
  • CRUST:
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, finely crushed
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • CHEESECAKE:
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. 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.
  3. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low just until incorporated. Do not over beat!
  7. Fold in sour cream and pour over crust, smoothing with a knife.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Once completely cool, refrigerate until ready to decorate and serve.

Honey gives this cheesecake a lovely, mellow sweetness.

Honey gives this cheesecake a lovely, mellow sweetness.

Trap the parchment with the ring.

Trap the parchment with the ring.

There should be a cute little ruffle sticking out.

There should be a cute little ruffle sticking out.

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!

Really press to make sure the crust stays in place since it isn't pre-baked.

Really press to make sure the crust stays in place since it isn’t pre-baked.

Pour batter into crust and smooth with a knife.

Pour batter into crust and smooth with a knife.

 

Cooling on the counter

Cooling on the counter

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.Honey Lemon Cake Sliced

Dig in!

And here’s another version, using colored whipped topping for the pastel flowers.Easter Cheesecake

As much as I love winter, I’m so happy Spring is officially here! More Easter recipes to come.

Lorinda

Deviled Cakes!



deviled cakes plated horizontal watermark For a fun spin on traditional Easter food, make these sweet little cakes that look like deviled eggs! The cake is tender and white, and is covered with a light coating of white chocolate, then decorated with yellow whipped buttercream icing. A dash of red sprinkles gives the appearance of paprika. At first glance, they will really fool you!

You can't fool everyone...

You can’t fool everyone…

We may have an eensy-weensy problem here, though. The pan I used (Wilton’s Petite Egg Pan) is no longer available. If you are lucky enough to have one, or there is someone you can steal borrow one from, you’re set. OR if you are wealthy and money is no object, there is a similar pan on the market that runs around $100. Such a deal! Worst case scenario, Wilton has a small egg pan that has designs on it. Since you really only see the top of the egg anyhow, I think it would work just fine. Hopefully you’ll figure something out, because these are just so much fun to make!

I’d love to say I thought up this idea, but The Man was the one who came up with it. I guess now he’s the idea man, and I’m the lowly person who does the grunt work. Meh…that’s okay. He deserves his moment in the limelight for this.

I tried to make the whitest cake possible, so used coconut oil instead of butter (it adds a lovely coconut flavor, but you can use shortening if you’d like) and didn’t use vanilla. If you have clear vanilla, go ahead and put a teaspoon in when you cream the oil and sugar together. Also, because I used whipping cream in the frosting to make it look fluffier, these really should be refrigerated.

Oh, I love these!

Oh, I love these!

Deviled Cakes!
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Author:
Makes a LOT. At least 7 dozen, maybe more. You could also make 2 dozen and bake the rest of the batter in a 9" cake pan for another use.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup room temperature coconut oil (or you may substitute shortening)
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla (optional)
  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cup buttermilk
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 pound white candy melts (get the whitest ones possible. I used Wilton's "Bright White"
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Yellow and orange food coloring
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare pan by greasing and flouring, or by spraying with a flour/oil combination spray like Baker's Joy.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. In a large bowl, cream the oil (or shortening), sugar, and clear vanilla. I used less oil than normal, so it won't get fluffy. Just mix it together really well.
  6. Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk, beginning with the flour and ending with the buttermilk, about a third of each at a time.
  7. Beat for one minute on medium-high speed.
  8. Fold in the egg whites.
  9. Fill each egg cavity almost to the top.
  10. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to turn golden brown and turn out onto racks to cool.
  11. Slice the domed tops off of each egg.
  12. Melt the white chocolate melts in the microwave at 15 second intervals, stirring each time until completely melted.
  13. With a table knife, spread a layer of white chocolate on the flat side (top) of each egg.
  14. In a large bowl, combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix well.
  15. Add the whipping cream a little at a time until it reaches the desired consistency for piping, adding a little more cream or powdered sugar if necessary.
  16. Add a little yellow coloring and a TINY bit of orange or red. Whip the frosting to combine. Adjust the color to resemble deviled egg filling. Continue to beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy.
  17. With a star tip, pipe the "yolk filling" on each egg. Dust with red sugar sprinkles.

 

deviled cakes ingredients

Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Fill the eggs ALMOST full (I overdid it just a little in this photo)

Fill the eggs ALMOST full (I overdid it just a little in this photo)

Bake about 9 minutes.

Bake about 9 minutes.

Level the tops (eat the scraps) and "frost" with white candy melts.

Level the tops (eat the scraps) and “frost” with white candy melts.

Pipe the frosting and add sprinkles. TA DA!

Pipe the frosting and add sprinkles. TA DA!



deviled cakes corrected watermark