First, though, let's discuss something that concerns me. Why do so many cheesecakes have cake on the bottom? To me, the only truly acceptable cheesecake base is a crumb layer, graham cracker or, in a pinch, Oreo. Cake as the base of a cheesecake just seems like overkill, a waste of two good things in a combination that heightens neither. UPDATE: via the great RLB herself in the comments--"The reason for the cake layer is to absorb any of the leaking syrup as I don't like to add thickener to the filling though when I make cheesecakes without a base I sometimes either add a bit of cornstarch or replace each whole egg with 2 yolks."
Despite my doubts, I went ahead and made a nice spongy almond-filled base layer for this cake, and promptly forgot to put it in to the pan before the tangy lemony cream-cheesy sour cream filling (spiked with toasted almonds). It was an accident, truly. The cake bases, which could have been saved for future projects (ha), made very nice snacking over the next few days.
The only adornment this little devil got was a wash of lemon curd over the top--a quick curd that tasted like 'butter jelly,' according to Catherine, the model above. She was very happy with the cheesecake and with the strange peculiarity of my house, in which 'spare cake' is a thing. She particularly appreciated the almonds in the batter.
I took the rest of the cake to work, where one colleague deemed it 'lemoncious' and another told me that it should be in a bakery, but shut up quickly when I pointed out that then he'd have to pay for it.
Not my favorite cheesecake ever, but it's not like any cheesecake is a BAD cheesecake. Especially not when it doesn't have some stupid cake layer on the bottom.