Pumpkin is quite controversial. You either love it or hate it. There is no in-between. Well, if you hate pumpkin, then you’ll want to hide under a rock for the next few months. Why? Because, it’s pumpkin season, that’s why! Luckily for me, I love pumpkin. Funny thing is, I used to hate it. True story. It wasn’t until I tried a pumpkin pie while in culinary school that I fell in love with it. I’ve been a convert ever since. If you’re a pumpkin lover AND a cheesecake lover like me, then you’ll definitely want to try this delicious pumpkin swirl cheesecake. It not only looks beautiful, but the taste is OH MY GOD, out of this world. It’s like taking a big bite of Fall. What more can you ask for?
Combine all the crust ingredients together and mix until the crumbs resemble wet sand and it clumps together in your hands when pressed together. Set aside.
Okay, I know you’re going to hate me for this, but you’ll have to trust me when I say this. Ditch the springform pan. It’s really not necessary. I’ve worked in professional kitchens as a pastry chef in hotels, bakeries and restaurants. Nowhere in any of those kitchens, did I see someone use a springform pan to bake their cheesecakes in. They all had something in common. There was no fancy pan. They all used the trusty old cake pan. That’s right…if you have a cake pan, you can make a cheesecake. In my case, I’m using an 8″ pan, because I’m feeding myself. You also have the option to use a 10″ cake pan which will give you a little bit more room for the batter. Anyway, trust me if you prep a cake pan the right way, you’ll get great results. Prepare the cake pan by brushing on the pan grease in a light coating on the bottom and sides. Cover the bottom with a parchment circle and brush the pan grease on top of the parchment circle. Set to the side.
Pour the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Begin to flatten the crust with your hands and then use the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly flatten the crust. Make sure you get the edges. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Set aside and let it cool at room temp.
Begin to smooth the softened cream cheese in the bowl of your stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until smooth.
Stop the mixer and scrape. It’s important to scrape the bowl and paddle thoroughly throughout this process. We want ensure we get no lumps in the batter. It’s also important you don’t turn the mixer on above medium low through the process. Also, be aware not to over-mix. The last thing we want to do is incorporate air. Add in the sugar in a steady stream. Mix for a couple minutes on medium low speed. Stop mixer. Scrape really well.
Add in the salt and lemon zest and mix until incorporated. Scrape. Add in the sour cream and mix well for about a minute or so. Stop mixer and scrape well. Add in the lemon juice, mix well for about a minute. Stop the mixer. Scrape well.
Combine the eggs and vanilla. Add the eggs/vanilla mixture into the batter in four stages. Allow the eggs to thoroughly incorporate before adding in the next addition. Stop the mixer. Scrape paddle and bowl really well.
Begin mixing on low speed and add in the heavy cream in a steady stream. Mix to incorporate for about minute or so. Stop mixer and scrape paddle and bowl well.
Pour out 1 1/2 cups of batter into a bowl and set aside. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice into the remaining batter in stand mixer all in at once. Mix on low speed for about a minute or so. Stop the mixer and scrape bowl and paddle well.
Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Tap and shake the pan to allow the excess air bubbles to come up.
Use a small measuring cup, I use a 1/4 cup measure cup, to pour small amounts of regular cheesecake batter in random patterns over the pumpkin cheesecake batter. Use an offset spatula or knife to swirl. I do an up-down, across and up-down pattern. It creates a wonderful marble look. Tap and shake to remove excess air. Prepare a water bath. The easiest way is to place a large pan with water into the oven. Alternatively, you can place a pan in the oven and pour boiling water into it. The water should come up a 1/4 of the way up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake at 350°F for a half-hour, turn the oven down to 325°F and bake for another 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to cook for another 5-10 minutes. It’s important to not overcook it. The outer 2″edges should be firmly set. The middle should be jiggly still, but if you touch it with your finger, it shouldn’t be a liquid. Your cheesecake may take more or less than an hour to bake. All ovens run at different temperatures. That’s why the jiggle test is so important. That’s the key to determining doneness.
After it comes out of the oven, let it cool to room temperature. Wrap well with saran wrap and aluminium and place pan in fridge to cool overnight. Make sure saran doesn’t touch the surface of the cheesecake.
The next day, to unmold the cheesecake from the pan, dip the bottom of the pan in boiling hot water and leave there for a minute or so. You can also run the bottom over a flame on the stove. My favorite method is using a blowtorch. It’s a great investment. Trust me. If you’re using a blowtorch, run it all over the sides while turning the pan. Flip the pan over and run it over the bottom of the pan (which should now be the top), constantly moving the flame. Flip it back over and use a cake board covered with parchment and place over the top of the cheesecake. Flip the pan over, the cheesecake should pop right out.
Use another cake board and place on the top (bottom) of the cheesecake. Use it to flip the cheesecake over.
From here, you’re done! It’s beautiful as is. I like to go the extra mile though and decorate it. I just pipped whipped cream rosettes, sprinkled leftover crust crumbs and white chocolate shavings over the top of the whipped cream. The fun thing is you can decorate as you wish. Get creative!
See how I do it:
- 10 oz Gingersnap Cookies
- 1 oz Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 3 oz melted unsalted butter
- Cheesecake Batter:
- 1.5 lbs (Three 8 oz packages), Softened Cream Cheese
- 6 oz Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temp
- 5 whole eggs, room temp
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream, room temp
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (puree)
In one bowl, combine all your ingredients for the crust and combine until it resembles wets sand and clumps together when pressed between hands. Set aside.
Prep the 8" or 10" cake pan by brushing some of the pan grease all over the bottom and sides of the inside of the pan. Place a parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and brush the top of the parchment paper with the grease.
Dump the crust ingredients into the pan. Pat the crumbs until they reach the sides and are even across the bottom. Use your hands at first to pat the crumbs down, then use the bottom of a measuring cup to pat the crumbs down evenly across the bottom. Make sure the edges are even as well. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Let it cool after baking. Set aside.
Start by having all your ingredients at room temperature and pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
Mix the cream cheese on low for about a couple of minutes, stopping halfway through to scrape bowl and paddle thoroughly. It should be smooth.
Gradually add in the granulated sugar and mix until sugar is blended in, about 2 minutes after adding all the sugar in. Scrape.
Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix until combined on medium low speed for about a minute. Scrape.
Add in the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Scrape.
Combine the eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Add the eggs/vanilla mixture into the batter in four additions. Let it mix properly before adding the next batch. Scrape well in-between each addition.
Slowly pour in the heavy cream and mix until combined. Scrape.
Add the lemon juice and mix until combined. Scrape.
Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the cheesecake batter. Leave the rest in the stand mixer.
Add in the canned pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice all at once and mix until combined for a minute or so on medium low speed.
Pour the batter on top of the crust into the prepared crust. Tap and shake pan to release the air bubbles.
Start adding in the regular batter on top of the pumpkin batter using a 1/4 cup. Pour in various spots on top.
Use a knife or offset spatula and swirl. Use an up-down movement, across and then up-down again. You should get a beautiful marble look.
Tap and shake to release air bubbles.
Prepare a water bath. Fill a large pan, that you can fit the cake pan in with 5 or more cups of hot water. The water should come up at least 1/4 of the way up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325°F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off and keep the cheesecake in there for about 10 minutes. The key is don't over-bake. Check at the 40 minute mark. The outer edge, 2" out should be firm and set, the center should be jiggly like jello, but if you touch it, not be liquid.
Remove from oven and let it cool to room temp.
Wrap well in saran wrap, making sure the wrap doesn't touch the surface of the cheesecake. Cover the pan in aluminum foil as well.
To unmold, run a hot knife around the sides of the cheesecake in one swift motion. Unmold with hot water, stove top or a blowtorch. See the video to see how it's done. Decorate as you please. Use a hot knife and wipe between each cut for a clean slice of cheesecake.
Use canned pumpkin (puree). NOT pumpkin pie mix. For unmolding, you'll need parchment paper and two cake boards. Hot water, a flame or a blowtorch are options to use for unmolding. You'll need a scale for this recipe. I also recommend a blowtorch for unmolding. Invest in these valuable tools. It's important to keep a cheesecake refrigerated at all times. The waterbath is important to achieve a perfectly baked cheesecake. Don't skip it!