spiced pumpkin cheesecake

photo courtesy of Chris Court at Real Simple
photo courtesy of Chris Court at Real Simple


Love your traditional holiday desserts but longing for something just a little different? Make this cheesecake. We’ve dubbed it the $20 cheesecake, but I suppose all cheesecakes involve similar amounts of time, money, and last-minute trips to the grocery store.

Here’s the recipe for spiced pumpkin cheesecake – adapted from Real Simple’s Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe.

Grocery List:  – 9 inch spring form pan – one box of gingersnaps -unsalted butter (you’ll only need 1/2 stick) -nonstick cooking spray – 4, 8 oz bars of full fat cream cheese – one bag of light brown sugar – 4 large eggs – white flour – allspice – ginger – cinnamon – salt – one can (or 15 oz of your own) pure pumpkin – pint of heavy cream – small container of sour cream – confectioners sugar –


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 18 or so gingersnaps in a heavy, zippered plastic bag. Proceed to pound on the closed bag with a heavy saucepan. Scare your dogs and children into the other room. A food processor would make this easier, I’m sure. Go ahead and use that if you have one. Add 1/2 stick of softened butter, stir, and go fold a load of laundry. Spray the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. When you’re done the very very hard gingersnaps will be softened enough to press  into the bottom of the spring form pan.
  • Beat softened cream cheese and brown sugar on medium until smooth. I use the electric hand mixer my parents received as a wedding present. This requires the cream cheese to be much softer than, say, a stand mixer would. Guess what the first kitchen item on our wedding registry is? Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine 1/2 leveled cup of flour, 1/2 tsp of allspice, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 salt. Beat into egg/cheese mixture. Beat in pumpkin just until combined.
  • Pour into pan and give a quick gentle shake. Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 1/4 ro 1 3/4 hours. The original recipe says to tent loosely with tinfoil if the top darkens too quickly, but this has never been necessary for me. I also place the spring form pan on a heavy cookie sheet because I’m convinced that someday I will put a full, uncooked pan of $20 cheesecake into the oven and the bottom, and consequently, all the stuff, will fall out.
  • The cheesecake is done when it is a little shaky in the center, but set all around. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake hang out there for 5 minutes. Then crack the oven to let the heat slowly escape. Your cheesecake will split open like a fault line if it cools too quickly. This is unfortunate because otherwise, it is such a lovely looking cake.
  • Let cool then refrigerate. Recipe says for at least 2 hours but I have never had enough forethought to actually start baking in time for this step. Because I’m a cheater, I do this: bake and cool the cheesecake in the oven. Pop it in the fridge or freezer for whatever time I have. While it’s chillin’ I whip up the sour cream topping in a portable container. I then take the cheesecake wherever we’re eating it (today – my in-law’s) and put the topping on JUST before serving.
  • What? You want the topping recipe too? Okay. Beat 1 Tb confectioner’s sugar, 3/4 cups heavy cream and 1/4 cup sour cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters. Chilled makes it all easier, but I’ve done it with room temperature tools and no culinary disasters.

Serve cheesecake with cream mixture spread over the top of the cheesecake. Enjoy. Unbutton your pants. Go to the gym some other day.




1 thought on “spiced pumpkin cheesecake”

  1. I’ve been searching high and low for the original real simple recipee I lost. I was so happy to come across yours. The only thing thats missing is the amount of brown sugar. Do you know?

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