A Cheery Layered Cheesecake That Tastes as Good as It Looks!

Layered cheesecakes are a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds! Making a layered cheesecake may seem intimidating, but with a little planning and patience it really is a breeze.

Slice of Layered Cheesecake | Erin Gardner

All images via Erin Bakes.

The layering techniques described in the recipe below can be applied to any flavor combination. Follow my lead with this bright and cheery citrus trio or come up with your own unique creation!

Triple citrus layered cheesecake recipe


  • Pan spray
  • 2½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided four ways
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 24 ounces room-temperature cream cheese, divided three ways
  • 1 tablespoon each lime, lemon and orange zests
  • 2 tablespoons each lime, lemon and orange juice
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided three ways
  • 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt, divided three ways
  • 1 cup sour cream, divided three ways
  • 3 large eggs
  • Green, yellow and orange gel food coloring (optional)
  • Whipped cream and candy to garnish, optional


  • 8″ spring-form pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil

Make the crust

Prepared Cheesecake Pan | Erin Gardner

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 F. 

2. Grease the pan with a coating of pan spray. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan and strips to line the sides. Place the paper circle and strips in the pan, using the coating of pay spray to help them adhere to the sides and bottom.

Graham Cracker Crust Mixture | Erin Gardner

3. Add the graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup granulated sugar and melted butter to a medium-size bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The mixture should resemble wet sand.

4. Dump the graham cracker mixture into the prepared pan and press it down in an even layer. Use a water glass to help tamp down the sides.

Pushing Down the Crust | Erin Gardner

5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool at room temperature while you work on the cheesecake batters.

Make the cheesecake

Making the Cheesecake Batter | Erin Gardner

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a larger bowl to use with a hand mixer), combine 8 ounces of cream cheese, ¼ cup granulated sugar, lime zest, lime juice, ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt.

Beat on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined and smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, 3-5 minutes.

Adding the Sour Cream | Erin Gardner

2. Add the sour cream and mix on low speed until just combined. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and mix on low speed until just combined.

Adding the Egg | Erin Gardner

3. If using food coloring, add it at this point stirring with a rubber spatula until the color is uniform.

Lime Cheesecake Batter | Erin Gardner

4. Tear off a piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the pan on the foil and press the foil up against the outer walls of the pan. Repeat with a second piece of foil going in the other direction. This will protects the cheesecake from getting soggy while baking in a water bath.

Wrapping the Pan with Foil | Erin Gardner

5. Pour the batter over the crust and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Gently tap the pan against the counter top to even the batter out and release any air bubbles. Clean away any splatters on the parchment paper. Put the pan in the freezer to chill while you make the next batter.

Adding the First Cheesecake Layer | Erin Gardner

6. Repeat steps 1 through 3, this time with the lemon zest, lemon juice and yellow food coloring (if using). Transfer the batter to a measuring cup with a pour spout for easier layering.

Adding the Second Layer of Cheesecake | Erin Gardner

7. Pull the pan from the freezer. Carefully pour the lemon batter over the lime batter, starting around the sides of the pan and filling in the middle last.

Smooth the batter over with an offset spatula. Gently tap the pan against your work surface to smooth the batter out and remove any air bubbles. Clean away any splatters on the parchment paper. Pop it back in the freezer while you make the last batter.

Adding the Third Layer of Cheesecake | Erin Gardner

8. Repeat steps 1 through 3 again, this time with the orange zest, orange juice and orange food coloring (if using). Transfer the batter to a measuring cup with a pour spout. Repeat step 7 to add the final layer of batter, but do not return the pan to the freezer.

Bake the cheesecake

Pouring Around the Sides First | Erin Gardner

1. Place the pan into a larger pan or baking dish, and then into the oven. Carefully pour a 1″ layer of water into the larger pan. Bake for 70-80 minutes at 325 F, or until the top of the cheesecake is uniform in color with a slight jiggle left in the center.

Preparing the Water Bath | Erin Gardner

2. Remove the pans from the oven, then carefully remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath. Peel away the foil right away. Put the cheese cake in the fridge until completely chilled, 2 hours to overnight.

Removing the Side Papers | Erin Gardner

3. Remove the sides of the pan first. Slide an offset spatula between the crust and bottom of the pan, all the way around, to loosen it from the liner paper. Leave the side papers on to protect the cheesecake while you transfer it to a plate or cake stand. Carefully slide the cheesecake into place and peel off the side papers.

Slice and serve!

Garnish the cake with freshly whipped cream and citrus candy slices.

Slice of Layered Cheesecake | Erin Gardner

Keep your layers looking sharp and crisp by using a clean knife for every cut. Dip the knife in warm water between cuts and wipe the blade down with a paper towel. After cutting into the cake, slide the knife out in the direction of the layers, as opposed to pulling it straight up and out, to keep the colors from smearing. 

Serve with extra whipped cream on the side and enjoy!

Layered Triple Citrus Cheesecake | Erin Gardner | Crafsty

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