Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake is an elegant and indulgent dessert perfect for serving during the fall months and as a holiday dessert at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This recipe creates a creamy pumpkin center with a nutmeg and clove-spiced graham cracker crust on the bottom.
Why should you add this Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Nutmeg Crust to your holiday dessert table?
Because despite its elegance, cheesecake is not complicated to make. It's easy, with little active time in the kitchen for you. Making cheesecake sounds overwhelming to some because you'll need to take few important measures to get it crack free and perfectly risen.
For any cheesecake, it is important to read the recipe instructions first and prepare your ingredients as stated. When making this pumpkin spice cheesecake, make sure to read the full post for important instructions, tips and tricks.
And guess what? You can even make pumpkin cheesecake in your Instant Pot!
Making this rich and creamy Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake is not complicated, but it does require following a few crucial suggestions.
- Make sure the cream cheese is very, very soft so it does not stay clumpy when mixed. If not soft enough, microwave in 10 second increments.
- Use slightly warmed pumpkin puree and eggs. I microwave mine for about 20 seconds each.
- Do not remove the cheesecake from the oven immediately. Allow to cool down with the oven turned off and the door open. This will prevent the center from dropping.
- Before adding the eggs, crack them in a separate bowl and beat until the yolks and whites combine. Then add them to the batter and beat until they are just incorporated into the batter, about 10 seconds. Do not over beat them during this step.
Why add eggs last? Eggs hold air inside cheesecake batter and over mixing them can contribute to a cracked cheesecake. If the eggs are beaten just a little before being added to the batter, you won't accidentally overbeat them in order to break them up and evenly distribute them
These recommendations are crucial to having a clump free, creamy batter. If you add cold eggs or cold pumpkin, they will cause the soft cream cheese to harden a bit and become clumpy.
To recap, prevent cracks in your pumpkin spice cheesecake by:
- Not over-mixing the eggs into the batter
- Using a water bath while baking the cheesecake
How do you bake a cheesecake in a water bath? There are 2 options.
One is to put the springform pan in a rimmed baking sheet or pan filled with about 1 inch of water. Make sure to wrap the cheesecake pan in foil so nothing leaks out onto the bottom of your oven. You'll have a smoky oven and smoky house if this happens!
The second option is to fill a cake pan with 1 inch of water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven below the cheesecake.
Cheesecake loves humidity and the steam from the water helps make a crack free cheesecake.
If your cheesecake still has cracks despite following these guidelines, no worries! It's nothing that a little sauce or whipped cream can't hide.
This pumpkin spice cheesecake pictured turned out with a few cracks despite being baked in a water bath, but that glowing orange hue still makes it gorgeous.
For the graham cracker crust, you'll need:
- melted butter
- crushed graham crackers (or a box of graham cracker crumbs)
- white sugar
- nutmeg & cloves
For the pumpkin spice cheesecake filling:
- very soft cream cheese
- dark brown sugar
- pumpkin puree (slightly warm)
- eggs (beaten and slightly warm)
- cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger
Pumpkin puree tastes a little bland on it's own. It needs warming winter spices like nutmeg, clove, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice to give it some oomph. This is why you hear most drinks and foods referred to as "pumpkin spice".
And optional additions for serving:
- whipped cream
- caramel sauce
- chocolate sauce
Step 1: Prepare and pre-bake the crust. To do this, generously grease the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan with butter. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil to prevent leaking.
In a bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir very well and press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Some cheesecakes are made with the crust going up the sides of the pan either partially or fully. Feel free to add crumbs up the side of the pan if you'd like.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes while mixing the filling.
Step 2: While the crust bakes, use an electric mixer to blend the soft cream cheese and brown sugar until smooth. Add all spices, salt, and pumpkin puree and blend until smooth. Remember to warm the pumpkin a little bit before adding. Slightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Heat them in the microwave for about 7 seconds and add to the batter. Beat the batter on low speed for 10 seconds. If you notice clumps of eggs still, fold them into the batter with a spatula.
Step 3: Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Bake for 1 hour with the water bath method of your choice. Jiggle the pan slightly to test if it's done after the 1 hour mark. If the center jiggles, bake for a few more minutes and then test again. The center will not wiggle when the cheesecake has been cooked through.
Step 4: When the cheesecake is done cooking, do not remove from the oven immediately. Turn off the heat and crack the oven door. Let the cheesecake cool down in the oven for 30 minutes (to prevent the center from sinking).
Once cooled for 30 minutes, remove and allow to cool again at room temperature for 10 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan gently. Chill for at least 5 hours before serving, or overnight.
To serve, top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and crushed pecans or walnuts if desired. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake is even better served with whipped cream, but wait until serving to add otherwise it will melt. Use the whipped cream to hide cracks, too.
You can also serve drizzled with caramel or chocolate sauce.
Store your perfect pumpkin spice cheesecake in the fridge for around 1 week. But I guarantee you that it won't last that long! It can also be frozen in slices for about 3 months.
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a springform pan evenly and generously with butter. Wrap the outside of the pan in foil to prevent leaking.
- In a large bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, white sugar, nutmeg, and cloves. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into springform pan and press down so the crumbs hold together. Bake for 10 minutes.
- While crust is baking, beat the brown sugar and cream cheese in an electric mixer on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the pumpkin puree, spices, and salt. Mix on medium until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the beaten eggs and mix on low until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Fold any remaining egg into the batter with a spatula.
- Pour batter into the prepared crust. Fill a cake pan with water and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Place the cheesecake pan on the middle rack above water and bake for 60 minutes or until center no longer wiggles.
- Turn off the oven and crack the door. Let the cheesecake cool for 30 minutes inside the oven. Then remove the sides of the pan and let set in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving, or overnight.
- Serve topped with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and crushed pecans or walnuts, if desired