Recently, someone asked me, “Is cheesecake a pie or a cake?”. It was a valid question – one that I did not have an answer to. So, I looked into it. It turns out there is a lot of debate about this on the internet. But the most convincing argument I saw was that cheesecake is in fact, a tart. While it does have a crust and a filling like a pie, and is shaped and cut like a cake – it turns out a cheesecake is in fact, a tart. This is because of the crust. Tarts are made up with only a bottom crust and a filling while pies typically have a bottom and a top crust (or crumble) to go along with the filling. So, tart it is.
Now that we have that settled, let’s talk about how you can make an EPIC cheesecake like this Double Layer Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake.
First of all, this cheesecake is absolutely perfect for any sort of fall gathering (cough like Thanksgiving cough). The appearance alone makes this guy a total show stopper. But once people start actually tasting it, they are going to be singing your praises for YEARS to come.
It all starts with the crust. I hate when cheesecakes have small flimsy or soggy crusts. It really ruins the whole thing for me. But this recipe guarantees you a nice thick crust with a little bit of fall magic added in there. Instead of a classic crust made of just graham crackers and butter, I added in a little cinnamon and brown sugar. It really makes a big difference.
Ok, now that we have the crust down, what else do we need to know about making a perfect cheesecake?
TIPS FOR GETTING THE PERFECT CHEESECAKE
1. Make sure you cream cheese is a room temperature. This will eliminate any lumps and create a smooth and creamy finish.
2. Add the eggs in one at a time. This gives you a better chance of pulling a smooth cheesecake out of the oven rather than one that is cracked.
3. Use that water bath! This adds moisture to your oven and prevents any big cracks in your cheesecake.
4. Once the cheesecake is out of the oven, you must cover the top with foil and let it cool completely in the fridge.
I know cheesecake can be intimidating. But I have had so many first-timers have success with this recipe! As long as you follow the instructions, you will be good to go. And if something happens where you do end up with a few cracks on top, you can just cover them up with a caramel drizzle! No one will ever know the difference!
PUMPKIN CARAMEL CHEESECAKE
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 can pumpkin purée (15 oz)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup La Lechera Dulce De Leche
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a 10” springform cheesecake pan with parchment paper at the bottom.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Add melted butter and mix until combined.
- Place mixture into prepared pan to create an even layer of crumb mixture. Press mixture down until it is packed tightly at the bottom.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add sugar and beat on high for an additional 3 minutes.
- Add vanilla extract and salt and mix until just combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula after each addition.
- Add sour cream and mix until combined.
- Add heavy cream and mix until combined.
- Add 3 cups of cheesecake mixture on top of cooled crust. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- While that is in the freezer, prepare the pumpkin portion of the cheesecake.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the mixture. Mix until combined.
- Remove 1 cup of this pumpkin mixture and set aside. (Otherwise you will have too much and it will overflow).
- Once the bottom layer has been in the freezer for 15 minutes, take it out and add remaining pumpkin mixture.
- Wrap the outside of your springform pan in aluminum foil.
- Place cheesecake pan onto a baking sheet and prepare a water bath.
- Carefully pour water onto the baking sheet. Fill until the water is about halfway up the side of the baking sheet.
- Carefully place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 90 minutes.
- After 90 minutes, turn the oven off and crack the door open 1 inch.
- Leave the cheesecake in the oven like this for another 60 minutes.
- After the hour, take the cheesecake off of the baking pan and place aluminum foil over the top (making sure the foil does not actually touch the cheesecake).
- Place in the refrigerator for 4 hours.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream and powdered sugar together at a high speed. Mix until whip cream comes together.
- Drizzle caramel over cheesecake.
- Use a piping bag fitted with a large star tip to create a whip cream border.