Cakes · cheesecakes

Blondie-Bottom Limoncello Cheesecake

Blondie-Bottom Limoncello Cheesecake combines the toffee flavor of blondies with a light lemon cheesecake that’s not too sweet. Perfect with coffee or a glass of white wine.

A blondie bottom limoncello cheesecake sits on a white cake plate with fluted edges. The dark golden brown blondie on the bottom is about half of the cheesecake. The top half is a pale yellow creamy cheesecake topped with dollops of whipped cream. There's a thin slice of lemon standing in betweeen each dollop of whipped cream.

Right now is a time of goodbyes. This morning I said goodbye to a close friend and mentor, Sister Luise Ahrens. She’s an amazing person who has spent her adult life in the service of others – mostly in Southeast Asia.

She’s been in Cambodia since right after the Khmer Rouge “lost” in the 1980’s. She’s a university administrator by training so she helped re-establish the oldest university in Cambodia, The Royal University of Phnom Penh.

This was no small feat since the Khmer Rouge wiped out all but one professor and the communist party in the 1980’s awarded university positions as political favors rather than on the basis of qualifications.

Sister Luise raised funds from American donors to send promising young Cambodians to school in the US, Australia, Japan and Korea. Many of these Cambodians are now leaders who are bringing change to the country. She funded training on administrative tasks for university staff so they could begin implementing quality assurance and standard accounting practices.

She also helped foreigners like me adjust to the chaos that is Cambodia. I’ve been privileged to have coffee with her and other foreign staff nearly every morning at 9:30 AM. We’ve discussed local politics, events, university business, cultural issues and so much more.

When I couldn’t find measuring cups to make the recipes for this blog, Sister Luise bought me some. She’s been my taste tester on nearly every recipe I’ve posted here.  She’s quite blunt about whether or not it’s good enough. The recipes that don’t get two thumbs up from her don’t get published here.

Tomorrow morning, she leaves for a month-long visit to the US and she’s retiring in January. She’ll go back to New York when she retires so she won’t be here when I come back next year. I’m not sure I’ll get to see her again. She’s full of life but at 78 one never knows.

A slice of blondie bottom limoncello cheesecake sits on a white dessert plate with a lacey edge. The dark, golden brown blondie layer on the bottom is about half of the cheesecake. The creamy yellow limoncello cheesecake is on top of the blondie. There is a thin slice of lemon arranged vertically on the top of the cheesecake at the wide end of the slice. There are dollops of whipped cream on both sides of the lemon.

I wanted our last coffee to be special so I brought this blondie-bottom Limoncello cheesecake. Limoncello is an Italian liquor made from lemon zest, sugar and strong alcohol (vodka works well).

It’s very similar to lemon extract but has added sugar so it’s sweeter. Many of my Italian friends use it as lemon flavoring in their baking. Even though Limoncello is sweetened, it’s not too sweet so the lemon flavor comes through.

The blondie batter is thick enough that you don’t need to worry about it leaking through the cracks in the springform pan. The sweetness of the blondies pairs really well with the tart lemon cheesecake.

Blondie-Bottom Limoncello Cheesecake

Blondie-Bottom Limoncello Cheesecake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes


Blondie layer

  • 1 ½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Cheesecake layer

  • 2 teaspoons gelatin
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • grated peel of one large lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup lemon curd
  • ¾ cup Limoncello
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup whipping cream


  1. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Mix together butter and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Then add salt and baking powder, and finally add flour.
  2. Fill the bottom of the springform pan with blondie batter (the batter is thick so I had no problems with leaking). Bake at 375° F for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool.
  3. Dissolve gelatin in hot water and set aside.
  4. Mix cream cheese, lemon peel, and lemon curd together, blending until smooth. Add gelatin mixture. Add Limoncello and powdered sugar to taste. Limoncello and lemon curd have some sugar in them. If you like things less sweet, you can skip the powdered sugar. I added 2 tablespoons to get the sweetness level I liked but some might like it a bit sweeter.
  5. Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. Pour onto blondie crust. Refrigerate until set (or freeze for 1-2 hours).
  6. Garnish with whipped cream and thin lemon slices.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 582Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 141mgSodium: 253mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 1gSugar: 41gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is provided as a guide only. Please consult a dietician for specific dietary needs.

Looking for more limoncello recipes?


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