This creamy pumpkin cheesecake is made with a wonderful combination of flavors: cheese, pumpkin, and spices. It’s a great alternative dessert for Thanksgiving other than pumpkin pie.
I haven’t made pumpkin cheesecake in ages, and since I bought so many pumpkin cans recently, I wanted to try new pumpkin recipes and cheesecake was at the top of my list. I tested some of my cheesecake recipes with different amounts of pumpkin. As always I was looking for the best pumpkin cheesecake recipe, or at least the best one for my family because I know exactly what they like. I wanted a prominent pumpkin flavor, but without overpowering the other flavors like the cheese and spices, so I didn’t use the whole can of pumpkin like in many other recipes. Also, the more pumpkin I added, the less creamy the cheesecake was, so I wanted the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
No matter how much pumpkin you use, this cake tastes so good, like cream cheese pumpkin pie filling. I use 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree but you can play with it, adding a bit more or less. You can use 1 cup for a subtle flavor if that’s what you prefer.
The crust is easy to make with a mixture of cookies, sugar, and melted butter. I use brown sugar for extra flavor but you can use granulated sugar if that’s all you have. Don’t leave out the sugar because it acts as a glue and gives the crust a firm texture. The crust is baked in the oven for several minutes until crisp before adding the filling.
Use graham crackers if they’re available, or vanilla wafers or digestive biscuits which are more common in Europe. I like to use graham crackers for this cheesecake and add a bit of ground cinnamon and ginger, but it’s optional. You can also use gingersnap cookies.
The cheesecake filling is made of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, spices, and heavy cream. If you don’t have cornstarch use all-purpose flour.
You can use brick-style cream cheese or cream cheese spread that contains about 30% fat (or a little less). The cheese should have a thick consistency. Low fat cheese is more thin, and if you use it, the cheesecake won’t be as rich or dense.
The ingredients are mixed in a mixer in a low-medium speed. The goal is to mix the ingredients well without incorporating too much air into the batter.
Baking in a water bath
The cake is baked in a water bath, which sounds like a lot of trouble, but it’s so much easier than it sounds, and the result is a perfectly flat and creamy cheesecake.
First, you’ll need to wrap the outside of the cake pan (bottom and sides) with a large piece of foil, then repeat with another piece. This will ensure that water from the bath doesn’t seep into the cake. Then place the pan into a large roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Place gently in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes until the sides are set but the center is still slightly wobbly.
Instead of using aluminum foil to wrap the pan, another trick is to place the cake pan inside another larger pan, then place it into the roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the larger pan.
Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours until set. It tastes best after 24 hours. It keeps well in the fridge for several days.
More Delicious Cheesecakes:
- The Most Amazing New York Cheesecake
- No Bake Nutella Cheesecake
- Easy Oreo Cheesecake
- Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Easy Individual No Bake Cheesecake
- 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) graham cracker, digestive biscuits, or vanilla wafer crumbs (pulse in a food processor until finely ground)
- 3 tablespoons (37g) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 and 1/2 tablespoons (65g) unsalted butter, melted
- 24 ounces (675g) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 large eggs , at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) canned pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan (bottom and sides) with a large piece of foil, then repeat with another piece. This will ensure that water from the bath doesn’t seep into the cake.
In a medium bowl, mix together crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and ginger until combined. Add melted butter and mix until combined and moistened. Press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan to form an even layer of crumbs. Bake for 8-9 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325°F/160°C.
Make the filling: In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and lump-free, 1-2 minutes. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until blended. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add cornstarch and mix until blended. Add the eggs and beat until fully combined. In a medium bowl whisk pumpkin puree, heavy cream, vanilla extract, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg until smooth. Add pumpkin mixture to the cheese mixture, and beat until combined.
Pour batter over cooled crust and spread evenly. Place the pan inside a large roasting pan, then pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides. Place gently in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes until the sides are set but the center is still slightly wobbly.
Remove the cake pan carefully from the water bath, and place on a wire rack. Let the cake cool slightly, then run a knife around the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 12 hours.
- Cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.