Berry & Key Lime Essence Cheesecake with Vanilla Sugar & Clove Crust 

I’m sure I speak for a crowd when I say I love cheesecake! You know what I’m talking about foodies….that creamy dreamy filling & graham cracker crust is all types of tantalizing to my palate! I love how cheesecake is soooo versatile that you can have an endless variety of options whenever the mood strikes & all your friends will look at you as a pastry chef from that moment forward because let’s face it….to many people, there is an art to making the perfect cheesecake & a rite of passage to say you finally entered the ranks as the family baker which in my humble opinion makes you the most liked person in the world because sweet treats are the key to the heart!

Let me tell you what I adore about this cheesecake. It’s New York style which means its rich & decadent in every way yet still has a lightness about it from the beautiful flavor profile. It all starts with this outstanding crust….crust so good you could literally eat it all by itself. I nearly ate half the crumbs before I even baked it! I added butter than sugar for a sweet crumb, luscious vanilla paired perfectly with the buttery sugary base & ground cloves…”oh my God guys….it was utterly delectable!” I also love to swap out ground cloves for ground cardamom….Game Changer people! Gone are the days for basic…take it up a notch folks! This is culinary arts, I tell ya….act like it!

The filling was so creamy & dreamy yet with a subtle aromatic mix of vanilla extract, just a hint of Key Lime not full on bold but more like a lime essence which added depth of flavor and went perfectly with the crust & lastly the berry preserves balanced the tart lime and added the perfect amount of sweetness! None of the flavors competed with the cheesecake but rather enhanced it & elevated it to a whole new level of extravagance. I am so proud of how this cheesecake turned out & my husband absolutely loved it…it was extra special! Ideal timing would be to make this the day before or morning of making it so it has time to perfectly chill. Enjoy the video tutorial below it was so fun to make & create this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did cheesecake lovers!

* Serves 8 slices


For the Vanilla Sugar & Clove Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups of finely crushed honey flavored graham cracker crumbs (finely ground in food processor or placing in a zip lock bag then crushing with a rolling pin.)
  • 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon quality pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tablespoon of ground cloves or 1/4 tablespoon ground cardamom

For the Berry & Key Lime Essence Cheesecake

* Cooks Notes: Your ingredients MUST be room temperature. This is not optional, it will affect your cheesecake!

  • 3 boxes of Phildelphia or quality cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons quality pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/ 2 tablespoon pure lime extract or Key lime juice
  • 2 cups sour cream, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup mixed berry preserves or my recipe for preserves found on the site, room temperature or slightly warm


For the Vanilla Sugar & Clove Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl combine your finely crushed cookie crumbs with butter, sugar, vanilla & ground cloves and mix very well.
  • Cover the outside of a springform pan from the bottom up the sides with heavy duty aluminum foil pressed firmly against pan then spray the inside of your pan lightly with cooking spray.
  • Pour your graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and using your hands or a measuring cup firmly pack and press evenly into the pan and up the sides of the pan.
  • Place in the oven and bake for seven minutes then remove to cool.

* Cooks Tip:

  • Do not obsess over potential cracks, it’s more important to focus on flavor & texture and if you follow directions as written you should have a perfectly smooth cheesecake but should a crack occur cover it up with the toppings suggested below.
  • Your ingredients MUST be room temperature. This is not optional, it will affect your cheesecake!

For the Berry & Key Lime Essence Cheesecake

  • Reduce heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine your 3 blocks of room temp cream cheese with 1 1/2 cups sugar and use a mixer to mix on medium speed for three minutes or until completely smooth.
  • Next add your five eggs, it is very important to add each egg one at a time and mix just until well blended before adding the next. Do not overmix, mix only until blended.
  • Add your flour, vanilla extract and lime extract or juice then mix on low speed just until blended. Do not overmix!
  • Now add your 2 cups sour cream and do not mix instead gently fold into the cheesecake and stir until well blended. Do not overmix and be gentle.
  • Lastly, add in spoonfuls of mixed berry preserves or syrup and use a skewer or butter knife to gently create a swirl pattern. Do not overdo it just a gentle swirl is all that’s needed.
  • Place a baking dish or roasting pan on the very bottom rack of the oven. Fill with one cup of water. This will allow steam to gently cook the cheesecake without drying it out.
  • Place your aluminum foil wrapped springform pan (Do not cover top of cheesecake) on a baking sheet on the middle oven rack and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Do not bother your cheesecake and do not open the oven during the baking process! This will alter the oven temp and affect your cheesecake texture.
  • Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for one hour before chilling in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours or overnight. It should be slightly jiggly in the center when done and will continue to cook as it cools so do not overcook. Gently use a sprayed knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the crust from the pan if necessary. Do not remove from springform pan until chilled.
  • This taste amazing all by itself but if you like you can top it with additional fruit preserves, sweetened sour cream topping or whipped cream which would also disguise any cracks which is equally great.

Enjoy foodies & let me know how you liked this cheesecake & any tips you’ve used to make stellar cheesecakes! Here is a pic of leftovers I saved just for you! Hope my husband doesn’t find it or there will be none left. Lol

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