Pumpkin Cheesecake

If my husband were to choose his favourite recipe for dessert - cheesecake always wins especially a creamy pumpkin cheesecake full of pumpkin spice flavour. I do not blame him - this cheesecake is a great fall dessert for any occasion. Pumpkin is definitely not just for pie - this pumpkin cheesecake recipe is a rich and creamy dessert that is the perfect ending to any meal and will please the whole family - they won’t miss the pumpkin pie I promise. This is the ultimate make ahead dessert which always helps when your hosting a dinner party as the cheesecake needs time in the fridge to set. I love to make it a day in advance. I also love to serve it with dollops of pillowy whipped cream and drizzles of homemade or store-bought caramel sauce and some cookie crumbs or chopped pecans over top. The graham cracker crust is a classic base for this cheesecake but you can also make it with biscoff, gingersnaps, or Oreos depending on what you have on hand or your preference. This is such a classic pumpkin cheesecake recipe and I hope you love it! 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients

  • Graham Crackers or Graham Cracker crumbs - either store bought crumbs or crackers made into fine crumbs using food processor (for a variation you could also use biscoff, gingersnaps, or Oreos instead) 
  • Melted butter - unsalted for the crust
  • Cream Cheese: Room temperature and I prefer to use all fat cream cheese for the best flavour - best not to skimp
  • Sugar - 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar is what I prefer for just enough sweetness and just a touch of brown sugar (1-2 tbsp) for the crust to keep it tender
  • All-Purpose Flour: Just a few tablespoons to helps prevent batter from cracking and sort of stabilizes it making it easier to slice nice firm pieces. You could swap it out for corn starch or corn flour too.
  • Sour Cream: For a smooth and creamy cheesecake.Most cheesecake recipes use either heavy cream or sour cream; either will do the job of softening the texture of the cheese and adding some moisture. I prefer sour cream because I like the extra hit of sour tang it adds to the cake.
  • Vanilla Extract: always adds the perfect flavour
  • Eggs: Room temperature 4 large whole eggs hold the cheesecake together and add to the rich texture of it 
  • Pumpkin Puree - you will need pure pumpkin puree for this recipe - not pumpkin pie filling 
  • Pumpkin Pie spice - f you don’t have pumpkin pie spice feel free to use ¼ teaspoons ground ginger, ⅓ teaspoon ground nutmeg , ⅓ teaspoons ground cloves or more of each according to taste. 
  • Topping options: soft pillowy whipped cream, Caramel sauce (storebought or homemade), Cookie crumbs (whatever you used for the base/crust), Chopped nuts like roasted chopped pecans 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

How To Make Pumpkin Cheesecake

  1. Prepare Crust - combine crust ingredients and press into the bottom of springform pan. Bake then cool
  2. Make Filling - in a large bowl mix the cream cheese, and sugar, then the flour, and spices. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Mix in the eggs one at a time - Wait until the previous egg is just barely mixed into the batter before adding the next one. Stir a few times by hand. Scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl with a spatula, to make sure everything is incorporated. Don’t worry if you see a few specks of un-mixed cream cheese here and there; they will melt into the batter during baking and won’t affect the finished cheesecake.
  3. Pour the batter over the cooled crust
  4. Transfer the pan to the water bath - helps cheesecake bake evenly
  5. Bake the cheesecake - The cheesecake is done when the outer two to three inches look slightly puffed and set, but the inner circle still jiggles slightly when you gently shake the pan. Some spots of toasted golden color are fine, but if you see any cracks starting to form, move on to the next step right away.
  6. Cool the cheesecake in the oven- Leave the cheesecake in the oven. Turn off the oven and crack the door open or prop it open with a wooden spoon. Let the cheesecake cool slowly for 30min -1 hour. T hen remove from oven and from water bath and place on cooling rack and allow to come to room temperature.
  7. Chill the cheesecake for 6-8 hours in the refrigerator -Chill the cheesecake, for at least 6 hours or up to 3 days in the refrigerator. This step is crucial for letting the cheesecake set and achieving perfect cheesecake texture.
  8. Top the cheesecake and serve - Take the cheesecake out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to serve. Unmold the cake and top the cheesecake with whatever toppings you prefer then slice and serve. 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Baked Cheesecake Tips:

  • Beat on Low Speed: In order to minimize the amount of air you’re beating into your filling, keep the mixer on low speed. This helps prevent cracking.
  • Use Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure you bring your ingredients to room temperature before making this cheesecake. If the eggs or cream cheese are too cold, you could end up with lumpy batter.
  • Use a Water Bath: I know it’s kind of a pain, but it truly makes a difference. Without it, your cheesecake is more likely to crack, brown around the edges and fall in the center when cooling. It’s definitely worth the extra step.Please check put recipe notes below for my favourite water bath hack 
  • Cool the Cheesecake Slowly: Follow the directions in the recipe for cooling your cheesecake. If it cools too quickly, it could crack.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Make Ahead, Storage & Freezing

  • MAKE AHEAD: Cheesecakes are a great make ahead recipe. I almost always make mine 1 day in advance if not 2 days. I know that it doesn’t take 24 hours for the cheesvekl to set but I like to at least allow 8 hours or overnight for it to set well, making it an ideal dessert to make ahead. 
  • STORAGE: The baked and chilled cheesecake will keep for up to 4 days covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. 
  • FREEZING: The cheesecake will keep for up to 2 months covered tightly and stored in the freezer covered tightly with a couple layers of plastic wrap and foil over top. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.You can freeze individual slices the same way as well.

Recipe

Yields: one 9-inch cake
Servings: 12
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 70 mins
Non-Active Time: 6-8 hours for chilling/setting 

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1¾ cups crushed Graham cracker cookie crumbs, or biscoff, gingersnaps, or Oreos
  • ½ cup salted butter, melted or browned 
  • 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon spice - cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt 

For the Filling

  • 4 (8-oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup brown sugar 
  • one (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup sour cream, room temperature or heavy whipping cream 
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch 
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice 
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

Whipped Cream & Topping Options (optional)

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Caramel sauce (storebought or homemade)
  • Cookie crumbs (whatever you used for the base/crust) 
  • Chopped nuts like roasted chopped pecans

Directions

PREPARE PAN:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 1-2 layers of aluminum foil coming up the side to seal springform edges and lightly grease inside of pan with nonstick cooking spray.

PREPARE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter or brown butter, salt, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.
  2. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes. Cool on wire rack for about 10 minutes. (use a food processor to process the graham crackers or cookies crumbs if needed) 

MAKE PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE FILLING:

  1. In the meantime make filling. In a large mixing bowl, start by mixing the softened cream cheese, with the granulated sugar and brown sugar until fully combined and fluffy; about 3 minutes using a stand mixer or a hand mixer/electric mixer.
  2. Mix in the flour, and the spices until mixture is fully combined 
  3. Then add sour cream, vanilla and pumpkin purée and mix until incorporated 
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated; scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Pour batter into prepared crust. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan creating a water bath for cheesecake.

BAKE:

  1. Bake cheesecake for 50-60 minutes, the edges will appear to be set, but the center will still have some jiggle to it. At this point, crack the oven door open, turn the heat off, and let cheesecake rest in the cooling oven for one hour. A
  2. fter one hour has passed, carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place on a cooling rack to cool completely. Once the cake is completely cooled, place it into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight.

SERVE:

  1. Remove outer ring of spring form pan (use a flexible knife or thin spatula to run around pan to release it if needed) then slice cheesecake and serve with whatever toppings you like.
  2. Leftover cheesecake can be stored in the fridge well wrapped for up to 4 days. 

Recipe Notes

  • If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice feel free to use ¼ teaspoons ground ginger, ⅓ teaspoon ground nutmeg , ⅓ teaspoons ground cloves or more of each according to taste.
  • My favourite kitchen hack for water baths - I place my spring form pan into a round baking pan that is 1 inch large (preferably not another spring form) then place that pan into the large roasting pan with hot water - no need for extra seal of parchment and layers of foil because the baking pan acts as a physical barrier. No need for layers of foil to line your pan and the worry about any water seepage from water bath. 
  • Do I really need a water bath: Technically you don’t but it it worth it for a perfectly baked cheesecake without any cracks. If you prefer not to mess with the whole water bath, no problem. You can bake the cheesecake without it. If you end up with a crack, just cover it with whipped cream and all the rest of the toppings. Its not the end of the world. 
  • MAKEAHEAD: Cheesecakes are a great make ahead recipe. I almost always make mine 1 day in advance if not 2 days. I know that it doesn’t take 24 hours for the cheesvekl to set but I like to at least allow 8 hours or overnight for it to set well, making it an ideal dessert to make ahead. 
  • STORAGE: The baked and chilled cheesecake will keep for up to 4 days covered tightly with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. 
  • FREEZING: The cheesecake will keep for up to 2 months covered tightly and stored in the freezer covered tightly with a couple layers of plastic wrap and foil over top. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.You can freeze individual slices the same way as well.

Pumpkin Cheesecake