Thanksgiving | (Part 2) Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

| Holidays, Recipe

I was asked if it would be possible to make a dessert with a graham cracker crust, pumpkin cheesecake and pumpkin pie on top. Why yes, I don’t see why not! It was an experiment for sure, but here’s what I came up with:

Graham cracker crust + pumpkin swirl cheesecake + pumpkin pie + cream cheese frosting with pie crumbs

In the future, I think I would first pre-bake the cheesecake layer halfway using the standard bain-marie method to help it set in an even layer, and then add the pumpkin pie filling and completing the bake. I would also have the two layers at the same temperature before baking. As you can see, the cheesecake layer rose on the edges. I had chilled the cheesecake filling first before adding the pumpkin pie filling on top, to help prevent intermixing of the two layers. However, as this dessert baked, this contributed to a big temperature differential due to the edges of the cheesecake being in contact with the pan. The chilling probably works fine if this dessert were baked in a pie crust, which would create a buffer on the sides. In my version, the cheesecake is in direct contact with the pan. That execution issue aside, I’m told this still tasted great!

Recipe below, if you’d like to give it a try!

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

For 8-9″ cake/pie

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 100 g (1½ cups) graham cracker crumbs
  • 20 g (¼ cup) milk powder
  • 25 g (2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 3 g (¾ tsp) kosher salt
  • 55 g (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
  • 55 g (¼ cup) heavy cream

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Filling

  • 180 g granulated sugar
  • 670 g cream cheese
  • 70 g sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 120 g (½ cup) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 50 g (¼ cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 150 g (¾ cup) sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1. For graham crust: Toss or whisk together dry ingredients. Whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream. Add to the dry ingredients and toss to distribute evenly. The mixture should hold its shape when squeezed in your hand. Press into the bottom of a buttered springform pan (8″ or 9″).

2. For pumpkin swirl cheesecake: Using a paddle attachment and stand mixer, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth, scraping bowl and paddle well. Add sour cream, and then eggs one at a time on slow speed. Add heavy cream and vanilla, mixing just to incorporate. Remove 1½ cups and pour remaining mixture into prepared pan.

3. Stir pumpkin, ¼ sugar and spices into the 1½ cups of cheesecake batter. Pour or spoon portions into pan, and then use a knife to swirl into regular cheesecake batter.

4. For pumpkin pie filling: Whisk together the sugar, salt, and spices. Add the pumpkin, evaporated milk, and eggs, and whisk gently until smooth. Carefully spoon on top of cheesecake layer.

5. Bake at 425° F for about 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350° F and bake for 45 minutes. If not yet done, reduce heat to 300° F ad continue baking until the center just barely wiggles.

6. Let cool before unmolding. Decorate as desired! Adding pie crumbs provides more texture and also reinforces the pumpkin pie flavor profile.


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Thanksgiving | (Part 1) Apple Cheesecake Cake

| Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We stayed in town for a Friendsgiving celebration and brought this little cake to the potluck. Inspired by a Momofuku Milk Bar recipe, this cake has cheesecake layers sandwiched between brown butter cake, with brown sugar apple compote and pie crumbs as filling. I coated with Italian meringue buttercream and decorated with buttercream flowers.

My preferred apple for fillings is the Golden Delicious, as it has a nice sweetness and is able to cook down to a compote (or applesauce if cooked long enough). In other words, I feel like I can better control the texture. However, I couldn’t find any Golden Delicious at the grocery store this week, so I went with a mix of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp for a balance of tart and sweet. These apples are great for an apple pie, because the apple pieces retain their shape and structure, but less ideal in my opinion for a cake filling.

The cake was still yummy, but the slices tended to topple over because neither the cheesecake nor the apple filling had enough “mush” to serve as glue. Would love to try this one again with a different type of apple next time!

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Happy Admin Day!

| Holidays


It was my pleasure to make this cake for a friend who was throwing an Admin Professionals Day lunch party for his team at the VA Hospital. What a nice guy, and what a nice thought! With a taco bar for lunch, I decided to make a cake featuring dulce de leche, to go along with the cuisine. Inspired in part by this light dulce de leche chiffon cake by Williams Sonoma, and this much richer dulce de leche cake by Momofuku Milkbar, I created a cake with chiffon cake layers, homemade dulce de leche and spiced (cinnamon and cayenne) dark chocolate ganache filling, a cheesecake middle layer, and milk crumbs.


I kept the decoration relatively simple, with Swiss meringue buttercream and more milk crumbs. I didn’t get a chance to eat the entire combination of flavors myself, but the bites I had here and there along the process from trimmings were yummy. Lots of fun creating this!


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