Pumpkin Cheesecake

10 people
2 hr

Pumpkin cheesecake is the stuff dreams are made of. Somtimes I feel like pumpkin pie is lacking in mouth feel. It’s wonderfully smooth, but somtimes I just wish it were creamier. Pumpkin cheesecake is the answer.

Tips for a great pumpkin cheesecake

The most important thing to keep in mind is let your ingredients come to room temperature. Set your cream cheese and eggs on the counter for 30 minutes before you start baking. I recommend even unwrapping your cream cheese so it gets more airflow and softens properly. Room temperature ingredients will mix better and more evenly. Try whisking an egg straight from the fridge versus an egg that’s been sitting out for 30 minutes. You will notice a difference.

Softened ingredients also ensure that the filling doesn’t get overwhipped. If you have stiff, cold ingredients your mixer will have a hard time beating them. Because of this, you’ll only be able to beat them at a higher speed. This will cause the filling to have more air.

Baking in a bain marie

The other secret behind a great cheesecake is using a bain marie, or water bath. The cheesecake will bake in a 9″ springform pan. Then that pan gets put into a giant roasting pan filled with boiling water. The moisture will help the cheesecake bake more evenly and prevent the top from cracking. In order to protect the cheesecake, you’ll need to cover the outside of your springform pan with aluminum foil. The normal sized sheets won’t work. You’ll want the extra large sheets for this one.

Another measure of defense for a non-cracked cheesecake is to leave the cheesecake in the oven after it’s finished baking. You’ll turn off the oven and crack open the door slightly. This prevents any sudden temperature changes.

If you don’t have a roasting pan, you can fill a large baking dish with boiling water and place it on the rack below the cheesecake. I haven’t tried this and I’m not sure if it works just as well, but better than nothing when you just gotta have some cheesecake!

Looking for other fall desserts?

Recipe details
  • 10  people
  • Prep time: 20 Minutes Cook time: 100 Minutes Total time: 2 hr
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  • 11 full sheets graham crackers
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 8- oz bricks cream cheese
  • 1 15- oz can pumpkin puree*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Pumpkin spice whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Prepare the crust
Prehat the oven to 325°F.
Place graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until you have crumbs. Add the butter and sugar and pulse until fully combined. Press the mixture into a 9” springform pan, allowing it to go up the sides of the pan if you wish. Use a measuring cup to compact the mixture further.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Set a pot of water to boil and wrap the outside of the springform pan in a large sheet of aluminum foil.
Prepare the filling
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium-low speed* until very smooth.
Add the pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, beating until fully combined.
Add in the eggs one at a time, beating until fully combined between additions. Scrape down the bowl between each egg addition. Add the vanilla.
Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan. Fill the pan with enough boiling water to submerge the springform pan halfway.
Bake for 75-90 minutes*, or until the edges of the cheesecake are set and the center jiggles just slightly.
Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside. Prop the door open slightly and let sit for an hour. After an hour, let the cheesecake sit at room temperature for another hour or two. Place in fridge and let set overnight.
Make the whipped cream
Beat the heavy cream with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and vanilla. Continue beating the cream until stiff peaks form. Serve with the cheesecake.
  • Pumpkin puree: Do not use canned pumpkin pie filling.
  • Beating the cream cheese: resist the urge to turn the mixer to a higher speed. Doing so will whip too much air into the cheesecake.
  • Bake time: Don’t feel like baking for that long? You can bake the cheesecake at 350F for shorter. Start checking at 55 minutes, and it may need to bake for 75 minutes total. The only tradeoff is that the edges of the cheesecake will have a ridge and may be slightly higher than the center.
Elle | SimpletoScratch
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  • Cindy Votaw Cindy Votaw on Dec 27, 2021

    do you have to use a springform pan to bake the pumpkin cheesecake?

    • Elle | SimpletoScratch Elle | SimpletoScratch on Dec 28, 2021

      Hi Cindy, I highly recommend it. It will be near impossible to lift the cheesecake out of any other pan. However, if you don’t mind slicing it in the pan and lifting out a disheveled slice, disheveled homemade cheesecake is still better than no cheesecake in my opinion!