Very Lemon Cherry Cheesecake, Gluten Free

Very lemon cherry cheesecake, gluten free. Calories? What calories?

Cheesecake was a rare thing in our house when I was a kid. Ok. Cheesecake was never in my house when I was a kid. I don’t think many people made them at home back in the dark ages. In fact, I am pretty sure cheesecake came in a single slice on a plate at a Jewish deli. I learned as a young adult to finally come to appreciate a cheesecake as something more than a cake that made bagels and cream cheese irrelevant. In my baking brain, cake trumps bagel.

I began baking cheesecakes about the time I learned that the nearest deli was two states away. I made lots of them and each one was never like the other and not on purpose (still happens). I never appreciated the graham cracker crumb crust because in my little baking brain, a graham cracker was only to be dipped into a glass of milk or while camping a place holder for chocolate and marshmallow. When graham crusts became the popular choice for all kinds of semi-homemade stuff (before Sandra whosits was ever born) I still didn’t like them.

Turns out there was a reason. Something about wheat. Oh yeah. Gluten.

These days we make the rare cheesecake. But when we do, we have it nailed down to something  light and fluffy and pretty tasty. The crumb crust, which is never graham anything (even fake graham)  varies with the flavor of the cheesecake.  Making a lemon cheesecake? Add lemon zest to the crumbs. Making pumpkin cheesecake? Add pumpkin pie spice blend to the crust. Never a need for a boring crust again.

This cake is lemon with a twist of cherry because we found decent cherries that were begging to be soaked in Kirsch for a few days. Making a drunken cheesecake once in a while is fun and different. It’s a company for dinner kind of cake. It looks nice and makes people not even blink when you tell them it’s also gluten-free because they’re too busy stuffing it into their faces.

Cake. Always good. Even with cream cheese and drunken cherries.

Very lemon cherry cheesecake, gluten free. Individual cakes.

Very Lemon Cherry Cheesecake, Gluten Free
  • 100 grams Canteen Flour blend (3/4 cup) (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 50 grams unsalted butter, cold, cubed (3 heaping tablespoons)
  • 15-25 grams cold water (1-2 tablespoons)
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • 675 grams full fat brick cream cheese, chilled (Philly Brand preferred) (24 oz. or 3 cups)
  • 5 extra-large eggs
  • 650 grams full fat sour cream (almost 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 600 grams fresh cherries, pitted (about 3 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons Kirsch (see notes) (or use 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a parchment liner in the bottom of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan or 4 to 5 4.5-inch individual springform pans.
  2. Blend flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest together. Mix in butter until even coarse crumbs form. Add the water one tablespoon at a time and mix just until dough forms a ragged smeary ball. Knead a bit. Crumble the dough into the bottom of the parchment lined pan(s) and press to fit as evenly as possible. Place pan(s) on a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the crust just starts to turn color. Cool before adding filling.
  1. While the crust is baking prepare the lemon-sugar. In a small bowl blend the lemon zest with the sugar using clean fingertips until it is fully combined. Let the mixture rest while the crust bakes and cools.
  2. In the bowl of a stand-mixer whip the cream cheese until it begins to fluff up. Add the lemon-sugar and whip until it begins to turn pale yellow and looks a little like fluffy frosting. While the mixer is running add one egg at a time until they are fully combined. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts. Blend in the sour cream until the mixture is very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Pour the filling carefully into the pan(s) taking care not to disturb the crust, filling the pan(s) almost to the top. If there is a bit of leftover filling, pour it into a small ramekin as a snack for the baker (we are obliged to taste test, right?). Place pan(s) (and ramekin) on a baking sheet to catch drips and bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Turn the temperature down to 325°F and continue to bake 45-55 minutes more or until the cake is fully solid on the edges and only a small portion of the center wiggles. Smaller cakes will bake in about 30-45 minutes. The cake(s) might develop some cracks, but you’ll be covering it with cherries, so don’t fret. Cool cake(s) on a rack until it is room temperature and refrigerate until well chilled before adding the topping and serving.
  1. Pit cherries and place in a bowl. Stir in Kirsch and sugar and cover. Leave on the counter until serving time, or refrigerate overnight and store leftovers in the refrigerator. Let the mixture marinate for at least four hours. Spoon over the cake(s) and individual servings as desired.
Canteen flour blend is 2 parts superfine brown rice flour plus 1 part each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour by weight (best). More info in About Flour

Buy good quality Kirsch (or use Rum) for the cherries - pure fruit liqueur, without additives or coloring. We buy Clear Creek Distilleries. It's expensive, but the bottle will last years.


Very lemon cherry cheesecake, gluten free. One little cake.




  1. Patricia Ann says:

    Hi Lisa,
    This looks so good and I love your idea of how to change up the crust flavors. A question…what do you mean by chilled, not cold cream cheese? And do you have any ideas for making an Italian flavored cheesecake? I was just on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx after visiting the Botanical Gardens. I drooled over all the cheesecakes that I couldn’t have. I’m so glad to have a recipe from you!
    Thanks again,
    Patricia Ann

    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Patricia. Chilled means cold-ish but not directly from the refrigerator-cold. Let it sit out about 10 minutes first. Afraid I don’t have any ideas for an Italian cheesecake.

  2. Hi Lisa,

    I’ve just found out my daughter can’t have egg yolks. I’ve figured out how to mix egg whites and chia seeds as an egg replacement for bread. Do you think that would work in a cheesecake? I have white chia seeds so the color would be fine, just not sure about texture in cheesecake.



    • GlutenFreeCanteen says:

      Hi Shelley – I’ve never tried an eggless version but if you Google vegan or eggless cheesecake you might find some good ideas. I’m guessing you have to add cornstarch or some starch to the filling. Chia in the filling might give it a weird texture, so not sure I would use that. I’m pretty sure that you can skip the eggs and add starch but it would be an experiment. But if I were making it without eggs, for this amount I might add 4 tablespoons of starch (sifted to make sure there are not lumps) and probably a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of pectin which will change the consistency but maybe not that much. I’m just guessing – so you’ll have to give it a try to see if it works. Hope that helps.

      • It does help, thank you! I have just about mastered all my recipe conversions to gluten free and got hit with no egg yolks. I think the egg thing throws me more than gluten! I’ll give this a try. I’m not wanting to go the egg replacer route.


  3. would appreciate it if you would incorporate flour measurements into ingredients list Instead of note to see below