Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Sauce

I have been wanting to make a pumpkin cheesecake for a while now. I wasn't sure which recipe I wanted to use, as I had seen this recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website and most of their recipes are pretty good. However, as I was searching for a recipe I came across this one from RecipeZaar. The only kind of pumpkin cheesecake I've ever had was from the Cheesecake Factory, so that was how I finally decided to try the recipe below. It has honestly been such a long time since I had the Cheesecake Factory version, so I can't really comment on how close of a copycat recipe this really is. Regardless, this turned out so good and everyone at work loved it... including those who don't like pumpkin! :) Everyone requested the recipe...

I had seen a few recipes in which the cheesecake was topped with a caramel sauce and thought that would be a great idea. So I went to my 'go-to' blog, Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, in search of a great caramel sauce. Wow, did I ever find a good recipe for caramel sauce! I could eat this stuff up by the spoonful alone! :) I don't think I will ever buy caramel ice cream topping again... this was so much better!

On a side note... you'll notice that the lighting in the photos in this post is not uniform. That's because by the time I finished this cheesecake, it was dark outside... so I took a set of photos with just our overhead/indoor lighting. Then I took another set the next day with natural lighting. For those who are working on their food photography skills, it's a great example of how lighting can affect the appearance of your photos.

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake
from RecipeZaar

1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
caramel sauce, recipe to follow

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar in a medium bowl. Stir well enough to coat all of the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly. Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. You don't want the crust to form all of the way up the back of each slice of cheesecake. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.

In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Pour the filling into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes. The top will turn a bit darker at this point. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.

When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Top each slice with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce
from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody (original recipe from Baking: From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin 2006)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Put the sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, stir just to combine the ingredients and then put the pan over medium-high heat. Heat, without stirring , until the caramel turns deep amber., 5-10 minutes. Lower the heat a bit and, standing back from the saucepan add the cream and butter. When the spatters are less vehement, stir to calm down the caramel and dissolve any lumps.


  1. YUM! And your pictures are AMAZING!

  2. Mmmm, looks delish! I'm happy with my cheesecake recipe, but I may have to try it with that caramel sauce next time. That seems like something I would enjoy way more than the nuts I put on mine :)

  3. I just have to say that you take some wonderful pictures! This cheesecake looks amazing.

  4. That caramel sauce kicks butt...I am sure that over cheesecake it is insane.

  5. Delicious! I love caramel, and with pumpkin I'm sure it is fantastic!

  6. Great photos! The cheesecake looks so good with the caramel sauce dripping down the sides.

  7. That looks amazing! I need to make it now. :0)

  8. Just wanted to let you know that I tried this, and loved it!! I would have never thought to combine pumpkin cheesecake and caramel, but they were a delicious combination! Thanks!

  9. Your photos are killing me! I need a bite right now!

  10. those photos are absolutely sinful! that caramel sauce is sooo tempting!

  11. Mmmm.. I really need to make this. I haven't made pumpkin cheesecake in eons. The caramel sauce looks divine.

    p.s. white balance is your best friend under different lighting conditions. :)

  12. hahaha - thanks Kelly! this post was made almost a year ago, before i knew anything about taking food photos or adjusting the white balance in my photos. i like to think that my more recent posts look better and that my photos have come a long way! :)

  13. I just found your blog doing a search for pumpkin cheesecake and caramel sauce and I HAVE TO write to tell you how DELISH this looks!!!! You're pics are great, too... Take care, Leesa

  14. wondering if the caramel sauce refrigerates well...

  15. Rachel - yes, it does! I have kept it in the fridge for months w/o issues. you just have to heat it up in the microwave before using it again

  16. I had such high hopes for this caramel sauce. I was drooling over it from the picture and description and HAD to have some. However, when I made it (both times), it began to crystallize as it cooled. I don't have enough experience w/ caramel sauce to know if this is normal. Is it, or did I do something wrong? (More info: Mine is not this dark in color, even after 10 minutes.) Thanks!

  17. inkjetstamper - I'm sorry to hear you're having trouble w/the caramel! I have never had that happen to me so I don't think it's the recipe. Make sure you are only stirring the ingredients together BEFORE putting it on the heat. Once on the heat, do not stir and do let it become a very deep amber. If it is not dark enough it has not cooked long enough and has therefore not "caramelized" yet so that might be the problem you are having. If your heat is more "medium" that "medium high" then it may take longer than 10 minutes... or you can turn the heat up a *little* higher (not too much!) but watch it closely to make sure it does not burn. One way to test it (sometimes it's hard to see the true color in your pan or know if it's burning) is to take a small spoon and dip it into the saucepan....then let a drop fall onto a white plate. If it is not a caramel color/amber then keep cooking. The darker the amber color you can get, the richer the caramel flavor will be but of course if you get it too dark it will taste burnt. Hope those tips help! Caramel can be tricky when you are first learning how to make it but I assure you it's worth the effort :)

  18. How many cups of caramel sauce does this make?
    It it easily doubled/quadrupled?
    Thanks =D

  19. Shannon - so sorry for the delay, just now seeing your comment. I believe the caramel sauce recipe will yield approximately 2 cups. Yes, you can easily double it. It keeps very well in fridge, too. I just warm it up again before I want to use it!

  20. You are simply amazing! These are my favorite flavors. Thank you for sharing,

  21. Wow, it looks great. The recipe I've already saved.