Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake. However, I know the pilgrims did not feature this beautiful modern dessert in their rustic surroundings. But I am grateful for modern ovens and plentitude, so we can celebrate in the same spirit as the pilgrims. Gratitude is everything!
Some Tips for making PUmpkin Swirl Cheesecake
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake is a recipe for advanced bakers, although beginners should definitely try their hand. If you have never made a cheesecake before, here are some tips:
You Need the Right Size Pan
Make sure that you have the right sized springform pan for making your Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake. If you only have a 9” springform pan instead of the 10” size called for in this recipe, the recipe should still work. You can dial back the graham cracker crumbs to 1 ½ cups (150g) but keep the rest of the ingredients the same.
Baking Time Depends on the Size of your Pan
If you change the size of the springform pan, you may need to adjust your baking time. Cheesecakes need to bake at low and slow temperatures, so count on at least 55 minutes of baking. If you use a smaller pan, do your toothpick test around 45 minutes. If the toothpick does not come out clean, add another 10 minutes of baking time until it does.
How to Prevent your Cheesecake from Splitting
Cheesecakes are notorious for splitting while they bake. You can see that my Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake split in several places. You can reduce the splitting by baking your cheesecake at a low temperature (about 325°F (162°C)), baking in a water bath pan and by insulating your pan with extra aluminum foil. Obviously, this is a technique that I am still mastering. But this Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake is so good, I don’t mind the practice!
Lastly, storing your cheesecake in the refrigerator overnight firms up the cheesecake so that it serves beautifully. We have very much enjoyed the leftover cheesecake as the flavors and textures seem to improve over a couple of days.
Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 100 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 16 servings 1x
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (200g)
¼ cup sugar (50g)
½ cup butter, melted (115g)
4 boxes (8oz ea) cream cheese (32oz/907g), softened
2 tbsp. cornstarch (14g)
1 ½ cups sugar (300g)
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (15ml)
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
15oz can pumpkin puree (425g)
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (7g)
Cinnamon for dusting
Preheat oven to 325°F (162°C). Grease a 10”/25cm springform pan. Cut four 5”/13cm wide strips of aluminum foil and wrap around the outside of the springform pan as insulation during baking.
To make the crust:
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in a small bowl and mix well. Pour the crumb mixture into the springform pan and press with your fingers to form the crust. Make sure the crust is pressed 1.5”/4cm up the interior sides of the springform pan. Place the springform pan in another baking pan that can hold at least 1”/2.5cm of water. Set aside.
To make the filling:
Place 8oz/230g of the cream cheese along the cornstarch and ½ cup (100g) of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. On medium speed, mix until smooth. Add another 8oz/230g and ½ cup (100g) of the sugar and continue mixing until smooth. Add the remaining cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lightly beaten eggs. Lower to slow speed, occasionally stopping the mixer to scrape down the inside of the bowl with a rubber spatula. After two minutes of mixing, the batter should be well combined.
Pour 1 ½ cups (360ml) of the cheesecake batter into a separate bowl. Add the canned pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine well.
Pour half of the regular cheesecake batter into the prepared springform pan. Add dollops of half of the pumpkin cheesecake batter on top of the regular cheesecake batter. Using a dinner knife, swirl the two cheesecake batters together. Repeat the layering and swirling.
Bake in a Waterbath Pan
Your filled springform pan should be baked in the second baking pan, which will act as an insulating water bath. Fill the second outer pan with 1”/2.5cm of hot water. Avoid splashing or pouring water into the springform pan with the cheesecake batter. Carefully place the prepared pans into the pre-heated oven.
The cheesecake should take 90-100 minutes to bake. Check the center of the cheesecake with a toothpick after 75 minutes. If the toothpick does not come out clean, allow the cheesecake to bake for another 10-15 minutes and check with the toothpick again.
Once the center of cheesecake is firm, carefully remove from the oven and remove the springform pan from the outer water bath pan. Allow the baked cheesecake in the springform pan to cool for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake,and then allow the cheesecake to cool for at least another hour. Once the cheesecake is about room temperature, place in the refrigerator to cool overnight.
Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan before serving. Serve topped with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon, if desired.