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Lemon & Poppy Seed Baked Cheesecake

A light and airy baked cheesecake, perfect with a cup of lemon tea .

Lemon, Rose and Poppy Seed Baked Cheesecake

A baked cheesecake, flavoured with lemon zest, rose, cardamom and vanilla, dotted with poppy seeds.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 hours 3 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 7 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 9 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Polish Inspired
Servings 8


For the flavoured sugar:

  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp dried rose petals
  • 2 whole cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 whole vanilla pod optional

For the cheesecake:

  • 200 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 200 g flavoured sugar as above or use caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract or the seeds from one pod
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 500 g curd cheese or Polish white cheese, Twaróg
  • 500 g ricotta cheese
  • 3 tsp cornflour or potato flour
  • 25 g poppy seeds


  • To make the flavoured sugar, mix the caster sugar with the rose petals, cardamom pods and lemon zest. Tip it out onto a tray lined with baking to allow the lemon zest to dry out. Leave for a couple of hours at room temperature and then transfer to a sealed container. You can also add a whole vanilla pod. This can be made up to a week in advance. Remove the two whole cardamom pods and vanilla pod before using.
  • Pre-heat the oven to bake the cheesecake to 180C.
  • Using an electric beater or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for five minutes until it is pale and creamy. Remove the cardamom and vanilla pods from the flavoured sugar and slowly add the sugar to the butter, beating until incorporated. Add the vanilla bean seeds from the pod, or one teaspoon vanilla extract and beat again.
  • Add in the egg yolks, one by one and mix until incorporated.
  • Add the curd cheese and ricotta cheese. Beat well until smooth.
  • In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peak stage. Once stiff, using a metal spoon, gently fold the egg whites into the creamy cheese mixture. Stir in the cornflour or potato flour and the poppy seeds.
  • Take a 20cm round spring-form cake tin, grease the bottom and sides and line the bottom with a circle of baking paper. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin. Wrap tin foil around the outside and bottom of the tin to protect any water from seeping in when baking in a bain-marie.
  • Take a large roasting tin and half fill it with water to create a bain-marie. Gently lower the foil wrapped tin into the water and bake for one hour. The top should be golden and the centre a little wobbly but not too much. Leave the cheesecake to cool completely before releasing it from the tin and chill in the refrigerator, preferably overnight before cutting and serving. 


Keep any leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.


With thanks to Waitrose for this commission.

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  1. Love hearing about your traditional Polish 12 course meal on Christmas Eve! You’ve also reminded me I need to go to Waitrose to stock up on herring as all I’ve managed to get hold of is an ample supply of rye bead. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas Ren-)

  2. Ahhh, absolutely gorgeous Ren! I’m not a fan of the usual base you get on cheesecakes (I don’t like biscuits – I know, it’s a bit weird) so I love that this one focuses just on that beautiful creamy filling. Looks irresistible!

    1. Ren Behan says:

      It’s so much easier not to have to get the base right and actually you don’t miss it. Most Polish cheesecakes are made with a pastry base – often with a pastry lattice on top too so this one is definitely lighter 🙂

  3. Having been exactly where you are finding yourself now – except with the kitchen renovation continuing over Christmas – I can sympathise utterly. It will all be worth it in the end and you have had an amazing year worth celebrating. Your festive feast looks beyond incredible too – can I just come over to yours? Congratulations on the Waitrose feature.

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Wow continuing – that’s been a long haul then I thought it looked picture perfect in one of your posts. Best of luck with it all then too 🙂 Thank you for your lovely kind words on the feature.

    2. It’s imvetaripe that more people make this exact point.

    3. Cheapies like the Jennings and Hi Point and such…well, if all I had was a couple C notes and I needed a gun NOW rather than in however long it would take me to afford a Block or something, it'd be better than a scared look and a short scream.Whenever they have the stupid "buy backs" and I see piles of the cheap stuff, I shed a tear for families who are struggling to eat and can't even afford a defensive piece to guard the change dish that may be their life savings.

  4. I love the Christmas ads too, my favourites are the Polish grandfather and the one with a rabbi and priest who buy each other knee pads. Love both those, though the rest are all sweet too. Your cheesecake really looks so gorgeous. Am so excited to see you in Waitrose Weekend as I always pick up both that and the magazine in my local store.

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Aah yes the kneepads – actually that was one of the ads I shared first and then Polish grandad took over! So pleased your a fan of Waitrose mag and weekend – I am too :-))

  5. 5 stars
    I feel your exhaustion Ren – and you certainly deserve a good rest. Bravo for tackling 11 for Christmas lunch though – I’m cooking for a crowd and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Thanks for the reminder to find some oplatek that I’ve got stashed away… somewhere! Wesołych Świąt and here’s a big shot of bison grass vodka to 2017 being a better year across the globe.

    1. Ren Behan says:

      Aah thank you Sally. Hope you do find your oplatek – it’s such a lovely tradition. Best of luck cooking too – I’m excited, as long as I can get a few more boxes unpacked and out of the way! xx

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