Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake

A couple weeks ago, I lost my license. Now that I type it out, I can understand why someone would misunderstand and think that I lost my license; that it was taken away from me by some burly police officer because I forgot to signal or turned right on a red light without stopping or, I don’t know, rear-ended another car. I guess it’s totally understandable to think that I’m an incompetent driver, just because I have terrible hand-eye coordination.

I didn’t forget to signal or turn right on a red light without stopping or rear-end another car (at least not in view of a police officer—kidding). I’ve never gotten a ticket or gotten pulled over by a police officer, even in the early days when I drove at 20 kilometres an hour, or turned onto the wrong lane. (Of course, I’ve only been driving for seven or so months—my driving life is young). I’m a competent teenage driver, cautious and attentive.

I merely misplaced my license.

See, when you say “I lost my license,” to friends, some of them might assume that it was taken away because you rear-ended another car or something. Just getting it out there: I’m a great fine adequate driver. I just tend to misplace things and forget other important things (like where I put my wallet...)

So for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been without a license. Generally I practice my driving with my mom at least once a week, usually on Saturday mornings. Because driving to an actually destination with an actual purpose is a much more justifiable reason to use gas, we drive to various grocery stores and supermarkets to buy food. I love going grocery shopping with my mom; she buys almost anything I want, like chocolate chips or flax seeds or cashews.

This week, I wanted to buy pumpkin puree and cream cheese to make a Pumpkin Cheesecake for the Improv Cooking Challenge. Then, all of a sudden, Sheryl, who started the Improv Cooking Club, disappeared off the face of the blogging world. Her blog, Lady Behind the Curtain, vanished and her email account was deactivated. Sheryl, wherever you are and whatever you are up to, I hope that you are okay. You've left a legacy; the Improv Cooking Challenge continues, thanks to Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, who picked up the party.

Pumpkin Cheesecake is one of those quintessential fall desserts, something that can be made year-round (thanks to gourmet canned pumpkin puree), but only feels right during the fall. Earlier this year, I made a Pumpkin Pie and it was delicious, but it just didn’t feel right. Hopefully I’ll have time to make another one soon because the window of fall-pportunity is closing quickly. Soon it’ll be winter and snowboarding and hot chocolate and no school. Oh, how I look forward to those long winter days.

Click below for the recipe.

This cheesecake is unbelievably creamy and light and delicious and pumpkin-y. Although whipping the egg whites to soft peaks requires another bowl, it’s so worth it because the cheesecake becomes light and airy. The topping is optional. I actually bought sour cream, but then I decided that I wanted to freeze this cheesecake so I left the sour cream topping out.

I don’t remember the name of the cookbook I found the recipe from, but if you recognize this recipe, let me know and I’ll give credit where credit is due.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Yield: 12-16 people

  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 pound  cream cheese
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • freshly grated nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350F.

For the crust, stir the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 10-inch springform pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until golden.

For the filling, beat cream cheese until smooth. Stir in sugar, egg yolks, pumpkin, and vanilla. Sift together flour, spices, and salt; add to pumpkin mixture alternately with the half and half, mixing gently until combing.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until light and fluffy. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.  

Pour mixture into prepared crust. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan and pour enough hot water in to come up the sides halfway. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until cheesecake is just set in the center and the edges are starting to crack. Remove to a rack and cool 5 minutes before adding topping.

In a bowl whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour mixture over cheesecake, and return to oven. Bake an additional 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.

Gently run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the side of the pan. Cool completely on a rack and then chill, loosely covered at least 4 hours before serving (preferably overnight).

If you want to freeze this cheesecake, omit the topping. 


  1. pumpkin cheesecake
    oh I'm so
    really want to eat WHATEVER u bake <3

  2. Your cheesecake looks wonderful and if I were your Mom I'd buy you whatever you asked for at the grocery too as you make amazing things with the ingredients. If you haven't already you should email Kristen and have her add you to the hop. Good luck finding your license.

  3. Yum! I love your recipe. I did a less pumpkin-y one and now I'd love to try yours out. There are so many great recipes in this party, aren't there?! Thanks for sharing yours :-) Beautiful photos, too.

  4. Kyleen
    I too am a baked cheesecake and pumpkin fan! I agree with leaving off the sour cream topping. Sometimes it's good, most of the time I skip it too.

    I hope you find your wallet soon and thanks for checking out my blog!

  5. So glad you were able to join us for this. What a glorious cheesecake. I hope you find your license. What a pain for you!

  6. Usually, I quote what cracked me up... but quoting the whole post down is just silly... You're a very very fun person! Another thing, your cheesecake looks great! Usual cheesecakes sink in the middle when cooled. I've always hated how it turns out on pictures when that happens. Wow look at yours! I guess its the separation of eggs and probably your honorific baking skills... :) Love your mom too... Can i tell her i'm in need of some PB's :p

  7. Looks sooooo good!

  8. Lovely photos as always, Kyleen!! You never cease to amaze me. You do things that I wish I could do! Your cheesecake looks amazing. I hope you find your license!

  9. Your cheesecake looks delicious! I'm returning your check-out from the cooking challenge. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. i make a pumpkin pie cheesecake too! but mine is separated. the cheesecake layer on the bottom and the pumpkin is on top. :)

  11. This looks really good! I've actually never tried a pumpkin cheesecake but it sounds very intriguing. Have you tried a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust (here is a recipe that caught my eye: Either way, I will have to try a pumpkin cheesecake at some point.

  12. Oh my, the combination of pumpkin cheesecake and ginger snap sounds utterly delicious! I'll definitely have to try it next time I make this!


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