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Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

  • Author: anita | wild thistle kitchen
  • Total Time: 3 hours plus chilling
  • Yield: one 9-inch cheesecake 1x


This Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake is so festive! Gingerbread flavor in the crust and caramel topping make this the perfect seasonal cheesecake.



For Fall Spice Blend:

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

For Crust:

  • 30 or so gingersnap cookies
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) soft butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fall spice blend

For Filling:

  • 5 8-ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs plus 3 yolks
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fall spice blend

For Gingerbread Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1.5 sticks cold butter (12 tablespoons), cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)


To prepare caramel:

  1. Combine molasses, water, and sugar in a heavy, large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until you reach 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  3. Remove from heat and whisk in cream, butter, salt, and spices.
  4. Stir until all butter is melted and combined.
  5. Return to heat and allow to boil for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, add bourbon if using and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. Transfer to jars and store in refrigerator. Gently warm before serving.

To prepare crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Place a pan of water or tea kettle on to boil.
  3. Place all crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have very fine crumbs. The mixture will resemble damp sand.
  4. Press this into the bottom and just slightly up the sides of springform pans.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the filling.
  7. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F

To prepare Cheesecake:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese and sugar until very soft and creamy and no lumps remain. This should take about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and beater a few times during this process.
  2. With mixer on low, add eggs and yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl a couple times during this process too. Really take your time here to avoid lumps of cream cheese in your final batter.
  3. Once eggs are all mixed in, add vanilla and sour cream and mix on low until combined.
  4. Remove 2 cups of batter to a separate bowl and stir in 1 cup of pumpkin puree and 2 teaspoons of fall spice blend. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Using a large ice cream or cookie scoop, place 4 scoops of plain batter into bottom of pan.
  6. Next, place 4 scoops of pumpkin batter in between the scoops of plain.
  7. Repeat this process until you have filled the pan almost to the top.
  8. Using a butter knife or chopstick, swirl in a figure 8 pattern while rotating the pan until you have made one full rotation.

Baking and Cooling Cheesecake:

  1. Lay your 2-3 sheets of foil down on a flat surface.
  2. Place cheesecake on top.
  3. Wrap first layer tightly around pan, then repeat with remaining layer(s)
  4. Lay a thin kitchen towel or layer of paper towels in the bottom of your large baking pan
  5. Place foil wrapped cheesecake on top
  6. Place this the pan in the middle of the oven with the rack pulled out.
  7. Carefully pour recently boiled water into baking dish until it comes about 1/2 way up the sides of the foil-wrapped pan.
  8. Be very careful not to get water in between the foil and the springform pan.
  9. Slowly push oven rack in and close oven door.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  11. Leave oven door closed. Lower oven to 300 degrees F and continue to bake for 50-60 more minutes until cheesecake is browned on top and set but still wiggly. The center should not look wet or soupy at all, it should just gently wiggle when you move the pan and it will be puffed up a bit but will settle and firm as it cools.
  12. Turn oven off and carefully remove the entire baking tray.
  13. Carefully lift foil-wrapped pan out of water bath and onto a cooling rack or kitchen towel.
  14. Allow to cool to room temperature for about an hour.
  15. Transfer to refrigerator to cool overnight. At least 8 hours or up to 3 days covered with plastic wrap.

Removing the cheesecake from the pan:

  1. Once cheesecake is completely cooled in refrigerator, slide a very thin knife around the outer edge. I like to use my boning knife as it is long, very thing, and flexible.
  2. Gently release the latch on springform pan and lift it straight up and off the cheesecake.
  3. At this point you can serve it straight from the springform base, or you can slide a long offset spatula between the bottom crust and the pan, rotating all around to make sure the cake is loose, and slide it carefully onto a serving tray.
  4. Serve with gingerbread caramel and softly whipped cream with a few extra crumbled gingersnaps if desired.
  5. ENJOY!


You can make this in a very large bowl using a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer.

Having very soft, room temperature cream cheese is essential to a smooth cheesecake.

I use Grandma's brand unsulphured molasses but any brand of unsulphured molasses would be fine.

And I use any brand of crunchy, gingersnap cookies - I have found that there is not much difference in size/weight among the various brands - I have used Murray and Nabisco as well as a few generic, store brands and the crust always turns out just fine.

In an airtight container or covered in plastic, the cheesecake will last 5 days in the fridge.

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 80
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking

Keywords: Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake, Cheesecake, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Thanksgiving Dessert, Fall Dessert