Dress up your holiday table with this smooth, rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. It’s made with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, a pumpkin cookie crust, and covered in rich chocolate.
When I first made this cheesecake, back in 2011, it had chocolate swirls. They were actually quite pretty, but they did complicate things a bit. Pour half the cheesecake filling into the pan, dollop on the chocolate, finish with the rest of the filling. Then swirl. Baking a proper cheesecake can seem intimidating enough without adding swirling and dolloping to the mix.
If you want to unmold a proper cheesecake, though, you will need a springform pan. I have bought many springform pans over the years, but the Kaiser enamel-coated nonstick pan is the very best. Nothing sticks to it so it unmolds quickly and easily without any greasing. Plus, it doesn’t leak, and I’ve mistreated it by slicing on the base with a knife, and there isn’t a scratch on it.
You can of course make this in a 9-inch deep dish cake pan. Not everything has to be picture perfect!
I have many recipes for crispy cookies here on the blog. They each have their individual charms when it comes to turning into crumbs for a cheesecake crust. I have even used crispy chocolate chip cookies as a cheesecake crust (and recommend them highly).
We had just made pumpkin snickerdoodles, and I had a few dozen in my freezer. They’re not a crispy, but rather a chewy cookie. So I decided to try turning them into crumbs in my miniature food processor (love. that. thing.). And the results speak for themselves. You can use chewy cookies for crumbs! And I think you should.
One more detail about baking this lovely pumpkin cheesecake: you should bake it in a water bath for the most beautiful top, without a crack in sight. But you really don’t have to. A water bath helps the cheesecake to bake at a very consistent temperature, gently. Sudden changes in baking temperature cause cracks in your cheesecake. But the cracks taste just the same as the smooth pieces. If you needed permission to bake with reckless abandon, cracks and all, you just got it. Don’t let anything stop you from baking this deliciously rich gluten free pumpkin cheesecake. Go forth and bake!
Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake filling
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons (18 g) all purpose gluten free flour blend (I used Better Batter)
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (21 g) unsulphured molasses
3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (225 g) pure pumpkin puree
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
For the (optional) chocolate topping
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
*To make your own pumpkin pie spice, combine 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger + 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves + 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom tightly with aluminum foil. Set out a roasting pan large enough to fit the springform pan.
In a large bowl, place the cookie crumbs and melted butter and mix until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Set the pan aside.
In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the cream cheese and flour, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and the molasses, and beat until well-combined. Add the eggs, vanilla, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, and mix until well-blended and smooth. Scrape the filling out of the bowl and on top of the crust in the prepared pan. Spread into an even layer.
Place the cheesecake in the center of the roasting pan and place it on the center rack of the preheated oven. Fill the roasting pan with hot water until the water reaches about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Close the oven door, and bake for about an hour, or until most of the cake is set, but the center is still somewhat loose when shaken from side to side. Turn off the oven, crack the oven door a bit, leaving the cake inside. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and chill until ready to serve. Unmold the chilled cake and loosen the bottom from the pan. Transfer carefully to a serving platter.
To make the optional topping, place the chopped chocolate in a small, heat-safe bowl. Place the heavy whipping cream in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the chocolate begins to melt, then stir until melted and smooth. Pour over the entire cake or individual slices. Slice with a hot, wet knife for clean slices. For even cleaner slices, freeze the cake a bit before slicing.
Original recipe published on the blog in 2011 (!). Recipe simplified, chocolate topping added, all photos and text new.