Very creamy and rich, this pumpkin cheesecake is topped with luscious maple whipped cream. The chocolate cookie crust is the perfect base. A great dessert that comes together quickly, keeps well for several days and can be frozen.
I come bearing a pumpkin cheesecake that is traditional but not so much.
The filling is a classic one, creamy with warm spices.
But it has a chocolate cookie crust and a mound of maple whipped cream on top. Not so classic and so delicious together.
I was expecting a good cheesecake, but this one is great. The flavor is awesome. Really, truly awesome.
This recipe has three layers: the cookie crust, the pumpkin cheesecake filling and the whipped cream topping.
For the crust:
- Chocolate crumbs: use plain chocolate wafers not filled cookies.
- Unsalted butter.
For the pumpkin filling:
- Cream cheese: the regular type, full-fat cream cheese is needed for consistency and creaminess. I always use Philadelphia original cream cheese, but other premium brands work fine.
- Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works and is infinitely cheaper.
- Cinnamon: any ground cinnamon you normally use works fine. I like Frontier Vietnamese cinnamon and Simply Organic Ceylon cinnamon.
- Pumpkin puree. Use canned fresh pumpkin or make homemade pumpkin puree. Please don't mistake it for pumpkin pie filling, which is a different product.
- Heavy cream.
- Brown sugar: light or dark, both work.
For the cream topping:
- Whipping cream or heavy whipping cream.
- Sour cream: the regular type, full-fat sour cream cheese is used for richness and creaminess.
- Maple syrup: it adds a fantastic layer of flavor. I like pure Grade A maple syrup.
See the recipe card at the end of this post for quantities.
How to make pumpkin cheesecake
Make the cookie crust
This cheesecake has a chocolate cookie crust that's easy to make.
- Cookies: use plain chocolate wafers. Any type you like. Ground them fine. You can make the crumbs and store them in the pantry or refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Butter: unsalted butter is used for this base. You can also use brown butter, giving it a deeper flavor, but it's an extra step.
- Time saver: make the crust one or two days before. It can be stored in the refrigerator in the pan, well wrapped.
Make the filling
- Have all ingredients at room temperature. This is important to integrate well together, aiding in the creaminess and texture.
- Mixing: I do it all by hand, but you can use an electric hand beater only for the cheese and sugar part. I recommend doing the rest by hand, so you don't incorporate unnecessary air into the batter.
- Pour into the prepared pan (the mixture will be on the thin side) and bake according to instructions.
Mix cream cheese with sugar first until very creamy and then add the eggs. Don't beat, we don't want to incorporate air. Stir until very well integrated.
Add the pumpkin puree, cream, and flavorings at the end and combine well. The cheesecake batter will be on the thin side.
Maple whipped cream
- The best trick I ever learned for making whipped cream is to add a tablespoon or two of sour cream per cup of liquid cream. It works, every single time. Simply put cold cream and cold sour cream in a bowl, add sugar if you want to, and whip as you normally would. The cream will hold better and your pumpkin cheesecake will look better.
- About adding maple syrup: in this particular recipe, we use it as a sweetener instead of sugar. The result is as perfect as it looks in the pictures. The maple syrup gives it that particular smoky, wonderful flavor.
Being such a huge maple syrup fan, I drizzle additional on top of the whipped cream before serving. It makes this pumpkin cheesecake even richer. If that's possible.
- Organization: read the recipe first and ensure you have ingredients at the correct temperature, equipment, and enough workspace. This will make the process so much easier.
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Plan in advance: some components in this recipe can be made ahead and sometimes frozen for a few weeks.
- Pan sizes: if you're planning on serving many people, you can opt for the rectangular, sheet cheesecake, similar to what we do with our favorite baked easy cheesecake recipe. The dessert will not be as tall, but you can cut it into squares and serve more people.
- Storing: you can make the pumpkin cheesecake (without the topping) up to 3 days ahead and refrigerate it, well covered, in the pan. Remove at the last minute, top with the cream, and serve.
- Flavorings: play around with other flavors that appeal to you. Orange zest or allspice, maybe ginger. Tweak and adapt this pumpkin cheesecake to your taste. Use your favorite pumpkin bread or cake's spices and flavors as a guide.
- White granulated sugar can also be used instead of brown.
- Pumpkin dessert alternative: we have a very easy Pumpkin Cream Trifle that comes together in 15 minutes and only needs an hour of refrigeration before it's served.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the cookie base:
- 2 cups (200g) ground chocolate wafers
- ½ cup (110g) unsalted butter, melted
For the pumpkin cheesecake:
- 14 oz (400g) cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup (100g) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup pumpkin pureé (canned or homemade, see Notes below)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup cream, straight from the container
- Few gratings fresh nutmeg, optional
For the maple cream:
- 1 cup (240g) whipping or double cream, cold
- 2 tablespoons sour cream, cold
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup + extra for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Line the bottom of an 9-inch (24cm) cake pan with removable bottom with foil if wanted.
For the cookie base:
- Line bottom of 9-inch 24cm) springform pan with a large piece of aluminum foil, assemble pan, then pull extra foil up around the sides of the pan (see Notes below).
- Grind cookies in the food processor, add the melted butter, and mix until the mixture looks like wet sand.
- Or add already crushed cookies to the bowl with the melted butter and mix with spoon.
- Put this mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly onto the bottom.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while making filling.
- Don’t turn oven off.
For the pumpkin filling:
- In a large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth.
- Add vanilla, eggs, and yolk. Mix until well combined.
- Add pumpkin pureé, cinnamon, nutmeg (if using), and cream. Mix to combine well.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Turn oven off and let cool inside the unopened oven for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, transfer to serving plate, spread maple cream on top, and drizzle with extra syrup and candied pumpkin.
For the maple cream:
- In a medium bowl, beat cream with sour cream and maple syrup until thick.
- Be careful not to overbeat it so it doesn’t curdle.
- Canned pumpkin: this is the simplest and fastest way of making this pumpkin cheesecake or any other pumpkin cake for that matter. Use the unsweetened type.
- Homemade pumpkin puree: it's very easy, but you have to plan for it. Here is the post for making pumpkin puree from scratch.
- Cookie base: can be made one or two days ahead and kept in the refrigerator. Bake it and let it cool completely first.
- Preparing pan: wrap the bottom of the pan with a large piece of foil, as instructed above. This makes it a snap to unmold; simply take out the removable sides, lift the foil putting your hand underneath, between the foil and the bottom of the pan, lift the paper holding the cheesecake in your hand and peel the foil with the other hand. Transfer to the serving plate.
- Storing: this cheesecake (without the cream) can be kept in the fridge for 4-5 days, well covered in the pan it is baked. Add the cream 1 hour before serving and refrigerate until ready to serve for the best results.
- some components in this recipe can be made ahead and sometimes frozen for a few weeks.
- Pan sizes: if you're planning on serving many, you can opt for the rectangular, sort of sheet cheesecake, similar to what we do with our favorite baked easy cheesecake recipe. The dessert will not be as tall, but you can cut it into squares and serve more people.
- Flavorings: play around with other flavors that appeal to you. Orange zest or allspice, maybe ginger. Tweak and adapt this pumpkin cheesecake to your own taste.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Refrigeration time: 8 hours
- Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Category: Cakes & Cheesecakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: ⅛
- Calories: 726
- Sugar: 30.7 g
- Sodium: 1028.1 mg
- Fat: 52 g
- Carbohydrates: 49.1 g
- Fiber: 1.9 g
- Protein: 18.7 g
- Cholesterol: 205.2 mg
Keywords: maple pumpkin cheesecake