Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake ButterYumWelcome to the latest installment of Heavenly Cake Bakers. Today's feature, Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake from Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

This is the lightest cheesecake I've ever tasted - almost mousse-like... and it's so soft and creamy that it's more like pudding than traditional cheesecake. How something so soft and creamy can keeps it's cheesecake-like shape is beyond my comprehension - leave it to Rose to figure out how!

gingersnap cheesecake crust ButterYumThis cheesecake features a crust made of gingersnaps, pecans, butter, salt, and sugar.

pumpkin puree for cheesecake ButterYumThe filling is slightly nontraditional as it starts with pure pumpkin puree that is cooked with turbinado sugar to thicken the puree and intensify the flavor.

cooking pumpkin puree for cheesecake ButterYumThis process only takes a few minutes. I was quite surprised how quickly the turbinado sugar dissolved in the pumpkin puree.

mixing cheesecake batter in food processor ButterYumThe hot pumpkin mixture is then pureed in the food processor for a minute before adding heavy cream, room temperature cream cheese, and eggs. The food processor mixes the ingredients very quickly. Only one caveat...

... be sure you have a large food processor. The work bowl of my 11-cup Cuisinart wasn't large enough to handle the mixture without overflowing slightly. I had a feeling this was going to happen so I was able to transfer my batter into my pan quickly - otherwise the mess would have been much worse.

Next time I'll either mix the batter in my KitchenAid stand mixer using my favorite new BeaterBlade attachment, or possibly mix the batter in a blender, being careful to incorporate as little air into the batter as possible.

cheesecake water bath ButterYumThe cheesecake batter is then poured into the 9-inch springform pan which is either wrapped with a double layer of heavy duty foil, or better yet, is placed neatly inside a 9.5-inch silicone cake pan. I normally despise water baths, but the silicone pan made this process fool-proof, and it was so much easier than messing with foil. The silicone pan is then placed into a 12-inch cake pan or large roasting pan, and the outermost pan is then filled with 1-inch of very hot water. I happen to have a couple of 12-inch cake pans in the house - so nice to be able to use them for something other than baking 12-inch cake layers.

The cheesecake is baked for 45 minutes before turning off the oven and letting the cheesecake rest for an additional hour before removing it from the oven to cool at room temperature for yet another hour, and lastly, chilling in the fridge overnight.

Before serving on day 2, a caramel glaze, which can be made up to 3 days in advance, is drizzled on the surface.

making caramel ButterYumTo make the caramel glaze, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a sauce pan over med heat. Note to Heavenly Bakers - I used Lyle's Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup - Rose says they are interchangeable and I prefer the flavor of Lyle's.

making caramel ButterYumIt's really hard to check the temperature of such a small amount of sugar syrup, so tilting the pan and holding the candy thermometer backwards every few minutes helped me monitor the caramel's progress.

making caramel ButterYumWe're almost there... once we get to this color things start moving along quickly, so just another few seconds.

making caramel ButterYumHere we are - 360F exactly.
Quickly remove from the heat and add the cream to stop the cooking and keep the caramel from burning.

making caramel glaze ButterYumStir, stir, stir - then add the butter and stir some more.

making caramel glaze ButterYumPour caramel into a greased glass measure and allow to cool for 3 minutes before adding the vanilla extract; stir to combine.

using squeeze bottle ButterYumCool caramel completely before using. Rose suggests piping the caramel on the cheesecake using a piping bag or zip top bag with the corner cut off. I thought I'd have better control if I used this squeeze bottle, which worked really well.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake, ButterYum, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, Heavenly Cake BakersI still managed to pull out my piping bag - these swirls of whipped cream were piped with a large tip and the swirls were dotted with pecans before drizzling the caramel glaze. I wish I would have thought to drizzle the glaze before adding the whipped cream (don't like the ends of the glaze stripes showing - live and learn).

My husband absolutely loved this cheesecake. I thought it was extremely delicious, but in my mind, cheesecake should be a bit less light and silky, and a bit more heavy and substantial. If you're on the lookout for a light and silky cheesecake, you really must give this one a try!

Rose has graciously posted this recipe on her blog, so I'm happy to share it with you. Here it is.

Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake
w/Gingersnap and Pecan Crust

Makes one 9-inch cheesecake to serve 12-16
original recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum
4-1/4 oz. gingersnap cookies (about 17 two-inch cookies), broken into pieces
2 oz. (1/2 cup) pecans, toasted
1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 pinches table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (Rose recommends Libby's)
1 cup granulated sugar or turbinado sugar
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 lb. cream cheese at room temperature
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks

Caramel Sauce
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 toasted pecan halves

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x2½-inch or higher springform pan. Wrap the pan in a double-layer of heavy duty aluminum foil (the kind that comes in the 17" width) to keep the cheesecake dry while it bakes in the water bath.

Make the crust:
In a food processor, process the cookies with the pecans, sugar, salt, and cinnamon (if using) until the cookies become fine crumbs, about 20 seconds. Add the melted butter and pulse about 10 times, just until incorporated.

Press the mixture into the base of the prepared pan and partway up the sides. The easiest way to do this is to use a flat-bottomed, glass to press the crumbs over the bottom and then use the back of a spoon to press them into the edges and part-way up the sides of the pan. Keep pressing until you have a thin even layer. Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Make the filling:
In a small, heavy saucepan, stir the pumpkin puree and sugar together. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a sputtering simmer, stirring constantly, about 5 min. Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has darkened and thickened to the consistency of applesauce, about 5 min.

Scrape the mixture into a large food processor and process for 1 min. with the feed tube open (so steam can escape), scraping down the sides. With the motor running, add the chilled cream. Add the softened cream cheese and process for 30 seconds or until smoothly incorporated, scraping down the sides two or three times. Add the eggs and yolks and process for about 5 seconds, just until incorporated.

Bake the cheesecake:
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan in a larger pan (a 12x2-inch cake pan or a roasting pan) and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Check that the oven is at 350°F and bake the cheesecake for 45 min. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let the cheesecake cool for 1 hour. Transfer the cake to a rack (the center will still be jiggly) and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make the caramel:
In a med heavy bottom pan, stir together the sugar, syrup, and the water until the sugar is completely moistened. Heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the syrup is bubbling. Stop stirring completely and allow it to boil undisturbed until it turns a deep amber (360°F). Immediately remove it from the heat and slowly and carefully pour the hot cream into the caramel. It will bubble up furiously.

Use a high temperature spatula, to stir the mixture until smooth, scraping the thicker part that settles on the bottom. If any lumps develop, return the pan to the heat and stir until they dissolve. Stir in the butter. The mixture will be streaky but become uniform after cooling slightly and stirring.

Allow it to cool for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the vanilla extract. Cool to room temperature before drizzling on cheesecake.

Unmold, garnish, and slice:
Be sure the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled. Have ready a serving plate and another flat plate or clean plastic cutting board that's at least as wide as the springform and covered in plastic wrap. Wipe a hot, damp cloth around the outside of the ring (or use a hair dryer). Run a metal spatula or a thin knife inside the ring. Release and gently loosen the ring and then lift it off. Set the plate with the plastic wrap on top of the cheesecake and carefully invert the pan. Heat the base of the springform with a hot, damp cloth or hair dryer and lift it off. Set the serving plate lightly on the bottom of the cheesecake (which is now facing up) and reinvert the cake. Lift off the plastic-wrapped plate.

Arrange the pecan halves around the perimeter of the cake. To cut neat slices, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife dipped in hot water (shake off excess drops) between each slice.

To see the original post about this recipe on Rose's blog, visit:


  1. Hi Pat! I'm so glad you baked this cake! I always look forward to your posts! The cheesecake is delicious isn't it? So smooth & soft! And i love how you decorated the cheesecake! Very pretty! :)

    BTW, because of your earlier post, i managed to hunt down Glad's Press & Seal and bought a couple of rolls! lol!

  2. beautiful cheesecake! i especially liked how you nestled each pecan into a whipped cream swirl. very cozy :)

  3. Dang Woman! This is GORGEOUS!!!

  4. Your creations always look spectacular, Patricia! You decorate everything so well that they could grace the pages of any cook book. I love your step by step pictures and instructions too, very good! Jeannette.

  5. Your descriptions and photos are always amazing! Butter Yum... I would say so!

  6. Talk about temptation! Incredible.

  7. patience rewarded--STUNNING presentation. yes--i really should mention squeeze bottle in next book--not only does it work well it is far less intimidating to many/most than a pastry bag!

  8. Absolutely beautiful, Patricia. Love the decoration on your cake. I really enjoyed the lightness of this cake and was never a big fan of those dense and heavy, so this was perfect for me :o)

    I made my batter in my KitchenAid. I just didn't want to risk having the batter ooze out. And that worked great and I didn't have to worry too much about beating in too much air.

  9. Beautiful! I'm going to remember the squeeze bottle, thought the old ziplock bag did OK for my small-scale drizzle operation.

  10. ב''ה

    And I thought your death by chocolate looked good...


  11. OH MY GOLLY!!!! This is SO amazingly gorgeous! I'm SO jealous of all your cakes and pies, they are always so flawless!

    I LOVE light and silky! I'm definitely going to give this one a try!

  12. Oh honey... Pumpkin Cheesecake and mini Pecan Tarts, I don't know what to make first. I always love your posts!!! You are so glad I am not your neighbor... My fork and I would be camped outside your back door! I love all your recipes and have tried many of them and I must say, have never been disappointed. Did you do a red velvet cake sometime? I will have to search your recipes. I will be having 16 for Christmas and I think I will try your Pumpkin Cheesecake and a Red Velvet Cake for desserts. That would be variety wouldn't it? Thanks Patricia, you make my day!!!

  13. What beautiful decoration and your photos are as usual, fantastic. Thanks for making the point about the Golden syrup vs corn syrup. One less variable to worry about once I finally get around to making the caramel...

  14. Your cake looks fantastic. I think the caramel peeking out from under the whipped cream looks great. I'll bet it tastes terrific too


  15. Absolutely beautiful cheesecake, Patricia! i espeically love the pic of the 360F caramelized sugar. Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend!

  16. Great job on your cheesecake, I love the way you finished it with the whipped cream and pecans and lattice caramel. I love my beater blade too!

  17. Gorgeous cake...I ordered the book today and can not wait to get it...
    Your pics are magnificent...

  18. Your pics are unbelievable, and I am bookmarking. I tweeted this recipe, it just looks so good !

  19. I just wanted you to know how much I love your recipes. Thanks for sharing. Teresa

  20. This cake looks so elegant. Even my husband said, "Oh Wow!" when he saw the photo. Looks like I'll have to add it to our menu soon.

  21. That cheesecake turned out looking like it came from a bakery. I love the caramel criss-crossed over the top. YUM!

  22. you know i love your style, but this is just a masterpiece!

  23. I loved the photos--and the cheesecake....it is a culinary delight, a thing of beauty! What fun to visit!

  24. Gorgeous presentation, Pat! I'm with you about corn syrup. I always prefer a simple sugar syrup. Thank you for sharing this post and recipe with Save Room for Dessert at Our Krazy Kitchen. Don't forget to link back to us when you participate. :-)

  25. What a beautiful cheesecake. Your photos are just wonderful. You did a great job with the application of the caramel. Have a wonderful Foodie Friday.

  26. This looks so delishous!!! Whow I have to try this.Thanks for a great recipie. Try my special cookies too. I think you would enjoy them.

  27. What a AWESOME!!! recipe and looks DELICIOUS!!!

  28. My "go to" book for the last twenty years has been Rose's "The Cake Bible", so there is no doubt I will be trying this recipe. I am not fond of cheesecake, so light and airy work for me. This is despite once owning a small cheesecake business.

    AND, now find out Rose has a blog! Another great day in blogland!

  29. Oh My this looks so delicious. Thanks for all the great detailed pictures. I am going to have to try this out!!

  30. Yum - looks and sounds delicious! Love gingersnaps & pecans in the crust! Thanks for linking this up too!

  31. Your cheesecake sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing :)

  32. Wow! How lovely it turned out, as usual. I always learn something new from you, my long-time mentor. Thanks for the squeeze bottle tip for the caramel. And the gold corn syrup. I really like this cheesecake and plan to make it again. It is simple and luscious - and my husband announced that it was his favorite of the cakes that we are doing. Now, onto the fruit cake and the carrot cake. joan

  33. Really Wow, I love your cheesecake and your photos. Now I know what u mean about the silicon pan... it's a great idea indeed, better than wrapping the springform pan with foil. I will def try this technique!! Thank you and cheers :)

  34. What a decadent cheesecake! The pictures make it look amazing.

  35. oh. my. goodness. This looks divine! I'm not much of a dessert maker, so I may have to pass the recipe onto my mother in law and see if she'll make it for us! Can't wait to TASTE!

  36. This looks so wonderful. And you have some gorgeous photos of it on here too! Such a perfect post for the season.

  37. Hi Patricia...

    Ohhh my goodness...your Pumpkin Cheesecake looks heavenly, my friend! This recipe looks and sounds sooo good! Thank you for sharing it with us for Sunday Favorites...this was such a treat!!! Ohhh...you're GOOD, Patricia! I just love all of your recipes...and I must add, that your photos are gorgeous too!!!

    Warmest autumn wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  38. I popped over from Beth's Fall Pumpkins Blog Party and have to say - "Oh yumm!" I LOVE light and silky cheesecakes. I'll definitely keep this in mind. Thank you :)

  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. What stunning food photography, Patricia! It looks delicious too!
    Blessings, Beth

  41. Delicious! Your photos are beautiful! Thank You! - Please do drop by our pimpkin Party!
    The Jack-O-Lantern

  42. I actually intended to comment on something else but the cheesecake drew me this way and blanked out my mind so I don't even know what I was originally looking at. Oh my goodness, that looks so incredibly good. Holy cow.

  43. What a beautiful cheesecake.It looks delicious!

  44. Mine is in the oven right now..making for Thanksgiving

  45. I saw the photo for this when I was looking at the peanut butter cup cheese cake. I LOVE pumpkin cheesecake and am still trying to find a good recipe. I will try this!

  46. I absolutelyyy loved this post. I'm crazy about cheesecake and reading this was a real delight. The helpful photos are fantastic too.

  47. First: What is turbinado sugar?...never heard of it. This cheese ake looks scrumptious and decadent! I eill make it soon as I love evrything pumpkin! I just made a pudding today, so come on over for a piece too. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for sharing the recipe.

  48. Hi Fabby - thanks! Turbinado sugar is a kind of natural sugar. I can get it at my grocery stores and WalMart (near the granulated sugar). Here's a link to tell you more about it.


  49. Oh My!! This looks so good, but way too complicated for my cooking degree!! Could you send me a piece!! : ))

  50. This cheesecake looks amazing. OMG, I love a good cheesecake and this is a MUST on my list.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  51. Hi Patricia...

    Ohhh my...pumpkin cheesecake? I love anything pumpkin and cheesecake is my favorite dessert...soooo your recipe sounds soooo GOOD! I think the gingerbread crust just takes this recipe over the top...well, and the drizzled caramel doesn't hurt either! Hehe! Great idea on using the bottle to drizzle the caramel!

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely recipe with us for the Sunday Favorites party this week! I'll have to give your recipe a try for sure! Sending you and your family warm wishes for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

    Love ya,

  52. What a beauty!! I made Pumpkin Cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert and looked at many, many recipes - including this one. You've made it look so much easier than I imagined it would be - although I was happy with the one I made, I'm trying this one next time :)


  53. Come to A Themed Baker's Sunday for this next week's theme: Christmas! Actually, this theme will continue until Christmas weekend! Hope to see you there!
    Cupcake Apothecary

  54. Oh my!!! This looks sooooo yummy! I'm your newest follower. Hopped over from ~ Or so she says... Would love to have you stop by for a visit! Blessings ~ Judy @ vintagestreetdesigns.com

  55. This cheesecake looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at ‘Or so she says…’. I would love to have you back again to share even more of your great ideas. There’s a link party kicking off in the morning (every Sat. through Tues.) Hope to see you there! www.oneshetwoshe.com


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