Belinda Smith-Sullivan’s Key Lime Cheesecake

Editor’s note: Hailing from her new book Southern Sugar, this recipe from Belinda Smith-Sullivan is a twist on the classic pie. You can’t much more southern than Key West, so we’re happy that she included this American classic. Here’s what she has to say about it:

This recipe combines the unique subtle tartness of a key lime pie in a surprisingly nutty cheesecake crumb crust. Key lime pie is the signature dessert of Florida and is considered the only uniquely American dessert. The Florida Keys are known for producing these smallish yellow rind key limes that are juicier and have a more well-rounded acidity than the slightly larger, dark green, less juicy key limes grown in other regions of North America. If you cannot source key limes in your area, substitute with an equal amount of half lime juice and half lemon juice.

Makes 10 to 12 servings



  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar


  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup key lime juice (grate limes before squeezing for juice)
  • 1 teaspoon grated key lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Thin slices of key lime, for garnish


Make the Cheesecake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend cookie crumbs, pecans, butter, and sugar and press firmly into a 9-inch springform Cover the bottom and outside of the pan with foil.
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until Gradually add sugar, sour cream, flour, and then add in eggs, 1 at a time, and beat well after each. Add lime juice, zest, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  1. Place cheesecake pan in another larger pan and place in preheated oven. Fill the larger pan halfway with hot Bake 60–70 minutes or until slightly firm in the center. Turn off oven, leaving door ajar about 8 inches, and allow to cool in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and from water bath and cool completely in pan. If making ahead, refrigerate until ready to decorate and serve.
  1. Remove sides of springform pan and place cheesecake on a serving In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the balloon whisk, add heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar. Beat on high speed for 1–2 minutes until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat or cream will turn into butter.
  1. Put whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a decorative Pipe desired pattern onto cheesecake and garnish with lime slices.


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Pastry at Home is a hub for elevated dessert recipes for home bakers. Our editors Tish Boyle and AnnMarie Mattila strive to bring you the best curated content to help make you a smarter baker and dessert maker. If you want to be a part of our community, please contribute on the Submit a Recipe page. Or if you have another contribution idea or product you think we would like, shoot us an email at info@pastryathome.com. We would love to hear from you!
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