Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake is what Fall dessert dreams are made of! But honestly, you can make this any time of the year because it’s just so easy and decadent. And I’ll show you how to make a PERFECT spiced and creamy pumpkin cheesecake, with absolutely NO cracks!
Packed with pumpkin and pumpkin spice, this Pumpkin Cheesecake is creamy and delicious, with the additional caramel and spice flavor of a Biscoff crust.
- What you will get with this pumpkin cheesecake recipe
- Variations of this spiced pumpkin cheesecake that you can make
- How to make the cheesecake recipe
- How to cut clean slices from the cheesecake
- How to make sure there are NO cracks in your baked cheesecake
I have a special fondness for cheesecakes. It took me a few years to perfect cheesecake that is creamy, rich and baked without any cracks. I shared my detailed tutorial on how to make absolutely PERFECT cheesecakes in my New York cheesecake post. Here, I’ll be sharing my favorite Fall twist on cheesecake; a spiced pumpkin cheesecake with a biscoff crust. A foolproof and gorgeous dessert, perfect for Thanksgiving!
What you will get with this pumpkin cheesecake recipe
- A pumpkin cheesecake, with a dense and creamy texture.
- A cheesecake packed with pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavor, and the addition of a biscoff crust for even more decadent flavor!
- A delicious pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving, as an alternative to pumpkin pie.
- How to adapt this recipe for a graham cracker crust, or for an 8 inch cheesecake.
- How to adapt this recipe as a pumpkin spice latte cheesecake, or a sweet potato cheesecake.
- A recipe that has been tested multiple times for foolproof results!
- A step by step recipe with tips to prevent cracks on the surface.
And best of all, with these pumpkin cheesecake recipes, I’ll show you how to make different variations to suit your cheesecake preferences!
Variations of this spiced pumpkin cheesecake that you can make
- My favorite variation – pumpkin spice latte cheesecake!
- Pumpkin cheesecake with a graham cracker crust or a gingersnap crust.
- This is a recipe for a 9 inch cheesecake, but you can adapt it to make an 8 inch cheesecake too.
- Substitute the pumpkin puree for a sweet potato cheesecake.
How to make the cheesecake recipe
If you’re a novice baker, it’s better to have all the ingredients ready before starting. This recipe is broken down into three parts;
- The crust
- The cheesecake
- The topping
Prepare the cheesecake pan
The first step is to prep the cheesecake pan. I use a springform pan, but you can use a cheesecake pan with a loose bottom as well.
Lightly butter the inside of the pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Cut a strip of parchment paper to line the sides of the pan as well. This will make it easier to release the cheesecake from the pan when the time comes.
Once the inside of the pan is lined, you will also need a large piece of foil to wrap the entire pan from the outside. This foil should be one piece, which will help keep the water out while the cheesecake is baking.
Other alternatives to foil
- A foil pie dish – Place the cheesecake pan in the foil pie dish, and mold the foil around the cheesecake pan. This will work for a 9 inch or 8 inch pan.
- Parchment paper – You can use parchment paper, but you will need to use twine to tie the parchment paper tightly to the pan so that it doesn’t move.
- You can also bake the cheesecake WITHOUT a water bath. The spiced pumpkin cheesecake will have higher sides (sunken middle), but it’ll still be just as delicious!
For this spiced pumpkin cheesecake, I made the crust with biscoff cookies, because I love that combo of caramel and spice flavors. But you can make it with graham cracker crumbs or gingersnap cookie crumbs as well.
The cookies are first crushed and mixed with melted butter in a medium sized bowl. You can crush the cookies in the food processer because it’ll make the job so much easier. This mixture should still be crumbly, but should hold together when squeezed in your hand.
Press the cookie mixture into the bottom of the cheesecake pan to form an even crust. I personally like the crust to go halfway up the sides of the pan, but this is not necessary.
Bake the crust in a preheated oven for a few minutes to allow the crust to set. This simply prevents the crust from being too crumbly.
Refrigerate the crust to let it cool down, while you make the cheesecake filling.
Making the pumpkin cheesecake filling
For the cheesecake, it’s important that all the ingredients are measured and ready to go. The cream cheese absolutely has to be at room temperature. It’s also important to preheat your oven at this point.
The first step is to whisk the cream cheese, cornstarch, spices, salt, and brown sugar in the mixing bowl or a large bowl. If you don’t have brown sugar, you can use granulate sugar combined with a little molasses instead.
Mix the cream cheese until there are no lumps, and it’s smooth and creamy. A spiced pumpkin cheesecake obviously wouldn’t be complete without the pumpkin, so the next step is to add the pumpkin puree into the cheesecake batter.
I prefer to add the puree AFTER creaming the cream cheese, so that we can absolutely make sure there are no lumps in the batter.
Spices in the cheesecake
For convenience, you can use pumpkin pie spice mix from the supermarket which is perfect for this recipe. However, I like to use a spice mix that I put together myself, which I use to make masala chai, combined with a little extra cinnamon. I’m absolutely crazy for this masala chai spice mix, and have added it to so many of my other bakes too.
If you’d like to make a Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake, then you will also need to add a double shot of espresso, or 2 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in about 3 tbsp water.
Adding the eggs
Once you have a smooth spiced pumpkin cheesecake batter, the final step is to add the eggs.
This step is important because mixing eggs will introduce air into the batter. You need to make sure that you mix in the eggs without incorporating too much air. Here are two ways to do this;
- Whisk the eggs really well separately, and then pass the eggs through a fine sieve. Then add the egg mixture to the cheesecake batter, and mix until there are no egg traces.
- Whisk each egg lightly, and add it to the cheesecake batter. Whisk the eggs in using a hand whisk (not stand mixer).
The first method is my preferred method, but I have also used the second method plenty of times successfully.
Finally pour the spiced pumpkin cheesecake batter into the prepared cheesecake pan.
Baking the cheesecake
To ensure even baking, cheesecakes are typically baked in a water bath. So you’ll have to use a large pan to function as the water bath, which will easily fit the cheesecake pan in it.
Before you bake this spiced pumpkin or pumpkin latte cheesecake, make sure to knock the pan against a hard surface to remove any excess air in the batter. You can also slap the surface of the cheesecake using the back of a large tablespoon. Especially over areas where you see bubbles on the surface. This method also helps air bubbles travel to the surface and pop.
Place the cheesecake in the larger pan, and transfer it to your preheated oven. Pour hot water (boiling water or very hot tap water) into the larger pan, until it comes up to about at least 1 inch or halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan.
Bake until the cheesecake is done. It’s done when the cheesecake is mostly set, with it being slightly jiggly in the center.
After baking, the spiced pumpkin cheesecake should be allowed to cool completely in the cake pan. Do NOT try to release it from the pan until the cheesecake is completely cooled. The residual heat allows the cheesecake to cook a little further. Another reason to wait is because warm cheesecake is too soft, and removing it too early may cause cracks in the cheesecake.
Pumpkin cheesecake topping
Allow the cheesecake to chill overnight in the fridge. Use a thin blade or spatula to release the sides of the cheesecake from the cake pan, then carefully release the cheesecake from the pan.
This cheesecake is absolutely good to be served just as is! However, I like to top this spiced pumpkin cheesecake with crushed biscoff cookies, on top of whipped cream.
Just before serving, whip some CHILLED heavy cream until light and fluffy, almost at stiff peaks. Then pile it on top of the chilled cheesecake. You can also pipe the cream along the edge for a more refined look. Top the whipped cream with pieces of biscoff cookies. Now your spiced pumpkin cheesecake with a biscoff crust is ready to be served.
How to cut clean slices from the cheesecake
Cheesecakes are quite dense, so cutting slices can be messy. To ensure clean slices,
- Dip a sharp knife in hot water and then wipe it clean.
- Cut the cheesecake with the hot, clean knife.
- Wipe the blade clean and dip the knife in hot water again.
- Wipe the blade and cut the next slice.
Ensuring the knife is clean and warm between each cut will give you clean, neat slices.
How to make sure there are NO cracks in your baked cheesecake
There are several ways to make sure that your cheesecake has no cracks. Let me summarize them here.
Mixing the cheesecake without incorporating too much air – It’s important not to over-mix the batter. Especially when adding the eggs. That is why I prefer to whisk the eggs separately, and then add them to the batter. This helps the eggs mix into the batter more easily, without adding too much air.
Removing excess air – Any air pockets will expand in the cheesecake, creating cracks in the baked cheesecake. To remove excess air, you can either knock the pan firmly on a hard surface. Or you can use the back of a spoon to slap the surface of the cheesecake to break up any air bubbles in the batter.
Using a water bath – If the cheesecake batter heats up rapidly, this can result in cracks. To prevent this rapid temperature shock, a water bath is utilized to temper the oven heat. This will prevent the cheesecake from heating up too fast and unevenly.
Bake at a lower heat – If you don’t want to or cannot use a water bath, you can bake this spiced pumpkin cheesecake at a lower heat. This helps the cheesecake heat up and cook slowly.
Cool down to room temperature – Allowing the cheesecake to cool down gradually will also help any cracks (if they do form) settle down.
What to do if your cheesecake does form cracks
Honestly, no one cares if it’s still lip-smackingly delicious! If anyone you know cares about cracks in your cheesecake, you should unknow them immediately. When I was still learning to make cheesecakes when I was little, I remember getting grand canyon-esque cracks in my cheesecakes that made me so upset. I shed enough tears over those cheesecakes to even fill the said grand canyons.
But the truth is, once I served those babies topped with whipped cream (or sour cream), no one cared. No one even knew. All they did know was that the cheesecake was abso-freaking-lutely delicious! All is well that ends well. Or something like that.
This spiced pumpkin cheesecake is pure deliciousness. Perfect for Fall, and most definitely worthy of your thanksgiving spread! You could even feed your inner basic b*#ch by turning this cheesecake into a pumpkin spice latte cheesecake! I promise, you won’t be disappointed!
Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake
- 250 g biscoff cookies 1 pack
- 65 g melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled about 4.5 tbsp
- Generous pinch of salt
Spiced pumpkin cheesecake
- 907 g cream cheese, softened 4 blocks / 32 oz
- 225 g brown sugar 1 ¼ cups
- 15 g cornstarch 1 ½ tbsps packed
- 1 tbsp pumpkin spice mix see recipe notes
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 g pumpkin puree about 1 cup
- 6 large eggs
Optional add-ins for pumpkin spice latte cheesecake
- 2 tsp instant coffee granules use less if it’s instant coffee powder
- 3 tbsp warm water
Whipped cream topping
- 1 cup chilled whipping cream
- 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tsp coffee extract optional
- Crushed biscoff cookies
Preparing the cheesecake pan
- This step is optional and is mainly for cheesecake pans where the bottom is not flat. First, remove the bottom from a 9 inch cheesecake pan. Place the pan upside down on a large piece of foil, and then fold the foil over the bottom edge of the pan. Make sure the foil is tightly folded over and flattened.
- Then flip it over and place it in the cheesecake pan. The bottom of the cake pan should now be covered with a flat piece of foil, creating a flat surface.
- Butter the pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Cut strips of parchment paper and line the sides of the pan as well. Set aside.
- Also prepare a piece of heavy-duty foil that is large enough to wrap the pan from the bottom to the sides.
Making the biscoff crust
- Preheat your oven to 375°F / 190°C.
- Place the biscoff cookies in a food processor and crush them into crumbs. You can also do this by placing the cookies in a gallon ziploc bag and then crush the cookies using a rolling pin.250 g biscoff cookies
- Place the crumbs in a medium bowl and mix in the salt and melted butter well. The mixture should be just moist enough to be held together when you squeeze a handful of it in your hands.250 g biscoff cookies, 65 g melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled, Generous pinch of salt
- Place the crumbs in the prepared cheesecake pan, and spread it as evenly as possible. Flatten the crumbs using a flat-bottomed glass (or something similar) and make sure it’s even.
- Bake the crust in the preheated oven for about 7 – 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cake pan to cool completely. You can place the pan in the fridge to accelerate this.
Spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling
- Once the crust is cooled down, take the piece of heavy duty foil that is big enough to fully encase the cheesecake pan, and wrap it around the pan. Make sure there are no tears.
- To do this, place the pan in the center of the foil, and fold it up along the sides of the pan. Mold the foil so that it’s flush against the sides of the pan. The foil should come up to at least the top edge of the cake pan, to prevent water from flowing in. It’s crucial that the cake pan is covered with a single piece of foil (instead of multiple, overlapping pieces of foil). Set aside until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Make sure you’ve got a large roasting pan or something similar that is large enough for the water bath for your cheesecake pan. Heat some water in a kettle to use for the water bath. You can also use very hot water from the tap.
- Make the batter – Place the softened cream cheese, cornstarch, spices, salt, and sugar in the mixing bowl. With a paddle attachment, mix the ingredients until the cream cheese is creamy and has no lumps. Remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so that all the cream cheese is properly creamed and smooth.907 g cream cheese, softened, 225 g brown sugar, 15 g cornstarch, 1 tbsp pumpkin spice mix
- Once the cream cheese is creamy and free of lumps, add the vanilla, lemon, and pumpkin puree. Mix them in.1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 250 g pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin spice latte cheesecake – For this variation, dissolve the coffee in the water, and add it to the batter along with the vanilla.2 tsp instant coffee granules, 3 tbsp warm water
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, and mix the cream cheese mixture on medium speed until you have a smooth mixture. There should be no lumps, and everything should be well mixed. But be careful not to overmix either.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well together. Pass this egg mixture through a sieve to remove any egg residue.6 large eggs
- Add this egg mixture to the cream cheese batter and stir it in on low speed, until mixed through well. Scrape the sides and bottom to make sure the batter mixes evenly. You can do this step manually as well.6 large eggs
- To remove excess air, firmly knock the mixing bowl on a hard surface (i.e. your kitchen counter). Do this a few times to remove as much air as possible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cheesecake pan. Then, using the back of a spoon, slap the surface of the batter. You will see air bubbles moving up to the surface. Do this a few times to remove more excess air.
- Place the cheesecake pan (wrapped in foil) inside the pan that you will be using for the water bath. Then transfer this set up to the preheated oven, and pour hot water into the water bath pan. Take care not to splash any water into the cheesecake pan. The water should come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 75 – 90 minutes. The cheesecake is baked when the edges are set, but the center is a little jiggly.
- Remove the pan (with the water bath) from the oven, and let it sit for a few minutes to slowly cool down.
- Then remove the pan from the water bath, and let it cool completely to room temperature.
- Place the cooled cake pan in the fridge. Refrigerate until completely chilled. Preferably at least 6 hours.
- Once chilled, run a palette spatula along the edge of the cake pan to release the parchment paper from the sides. Unlatch the cheesecake pan ring to loosen the cheesecake from the pan. This will be very easy, since there is parchment paper along the sides of the pan. The parchment paper should peel off the sides of the cheesecake with ease.
- Keep the cheesecake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- Spread the whipped cream layer on top just before serving.
- To cut clean and straight slices of cheesecake, dip a sharp knife (no jagged edges) in hot water to warm the blade. Then wipe the blade, and cut the cheesecake with the warm blade. Warm and clean the blade between each slice to get clean, straight edges for all of your slices.
Whipped cream topping
- Place the chilled whipping cream in a bowl, along with the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk with a hand mixer or stand mixer until you have stiff peaks.1 cup chilled whipping cream, 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, Pinch of salt
- Optional – Sprinkle the coffee extract on top and swirl it in to create coffee swirls in the cream.1 tsp coffee extract
- Dollop the whipped cream on the surface of the cheesecake, and spread it on top. You can also pipe the whipped cream on top if you prefer.
- Top with crushed biscoff cookies.Crushed biscoff cookies
Tips & Tricks
Note on spicesYou can use store-bought pumpkin pie spice mix. I use ½ tbsp ground cinnamon + ½ tbsp chai spice mix. This spice mix is my personal preference.
Note on substitutionsIn place of biscoff cookies, you can use the same amount (by weight) of graham crackers or gingersnap cookies. To make a sweet potato cheesecake, substitute the pumpkin puree with the same amount (by weight) of mashed sweet potatoes. To make this cheesecake gluten free, use gluten free graham crackers for the crust.
Note on avoiding cracks in your cheesecakeThe longer you mix your cheesecake batter, the more air introduced into it. So make sure to frequently scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl so that you mix all the ingredients in as little time as possible, without incorporating too much air. Also make sure to knock the mixing bowl on a hard surface to remove any excess air from the batter.
Baking the cheesecake without a water bathYou can also bake this cheesecake without a water bath. Preheat the oven to 300 F / 150 C. Bake the cheesecake for about 105 – 120 minutes. The cheesecake edges will rise and brown more, and the middle will be a little sunken in. This is how it should be. The middle should also still be a little jiggly. Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature, before refrigerating it until completely chilled. Instead of foil, you can also use a disposable aluminum / foil pie tin, which will fit the cheesecake pan and mold around the pan.
How to adjust ingredient amounts to make an 8 inch cheesecakeIf you only have an 8 inch cheesecake pan, that is 3 inches in height, you will need to scale the ingredients to 75% of the amount provided here. However, I’ve made some changes, since it’s hard to measure 75% of the eggs accurately. So you will need; 680 g cream cheese, softened (3 blocks / 24 oz) 168 g white sugar 10 g cornstarch (1 tbsp, packed) 2 ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice 2 tsp lemon juice 1 ½ tsp vanilla 190 g pumpkin puree (¾ cup) 2 large eggs 2 egg yolks Bake for about 85 minutes at 350 F / 180 F with a water bath. Bake for 115 minutes at 300 F / 150 C without a water bath.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”