Pumpkin Cake Cheesecake

When pumpkin cake and cheesecake combine forces, we have pumpkin cake cheesecake! Each forkful of this divine dessert includes creamy cheesecake and deliciously spiced pumpkin cake. For a little something extra, top with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and finish with chopped pecans.

pumpkin cake cheesecake

Today’s recipe was inspired by my favorite pumpkin cheesecake muffins. What a way to start the day! Craving the combination for dessert, I decided to combine pumpkin cake and cheesecake together in a springform pan. I coin this dessert duo “double trouble.” ūüėČ

Sadly, the first try was pretty disappointing. There’s so much moisture in the main ingredients that I had to spend a few extra days testing my recipe idea (and my patience!). I was so determined for this to work. Thankfully the pumpkin cake cheesecake finally came together and I’m thrilled to share the recipe success with you today!

pumpkin cake cheesecake with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Cake Cheesecake Ingredients

There are two parts to this dessert: the pumpkin cake and the cheesecake. Most ingredients are repeated in each layer:

  1. Block Cream Cheese
  2. Granulated Sugar
  3. Sour Cream or Yogurt
  4. Vanilla Extract
  5. All-Purpose Flour
  6. Eggs
  7. Oil
  8. Brown Sugar
  9. Pumpkin Puree (fresh or canned)
  10. Baking Soda
  11. Spices
  12. Salt

Blot the Pumpkin

You can use fresh or canned pumpkin in the pumpkin cake batter. I recommend sticking with canned pumpkin as it’s usually thicker and sturdier for baking. Whichever pumpkin you use, make sure you blot it prior to using in the cake. Why? In my recipe testing, I found that in order to get enough pumpkin flavor you need 1 and 1/3 cups of pumpkin. However, this amount will weigh down your cake, making it taste heavy and even a little soggy. So, before using it, place the pumpkin in a bowl lined with a paper towel. Place two more paper towels on top of it. Blot the pumpkin to expel as much moisture as you can. Then, add the blotted-dry pumpkin to the wet ingredients as instructed in the recipe.

I do this when I make my brown butter pumpkin oatmeal cookies too.

How to Make Pumpkin Cake Cheesecake

Begin the recipe by making both batters: the cheesecake and the pumpkin cake. Use an electric hand or stand mixer for the cheesecake and a whisk for the pumpkin cake. After you prep both batters, spoon 1 and 1/2 cups of the pumpkin cake batter into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. This will be the base of the entire cake. After that, begin spooning the rest of the pumpkin cake batter and the cheesecake batter on top. Alternate spoonfuls of the batters until both are used up.

No need to swirl the batters together; the spotty randomness bakes into a beautifully swirled cheesecake cake.

pumpkin cake batter

pumpkin cake and cheesecake batter

Cooling & Chilling

Because of all the moisture, this cheesecake cake takes awhile to bake and cool. Not a problem for those of you with a whole afternoon to spare, but if you’re looking for a quick pumpkin recipe, this cake isn’t it. Bake it for at least 1 hour, then turn off the oven and leave the cake inside. This is actually one of my tricks for avoiding cracks in cheesecake. The sudden temperature change from inside the oven to outside the oven is simply too shocking for all eggs and moisture in this dessert. Let the cake cool inside the oven as it cools.

Once it cools down, remove the pumpkin cake cheesecake from the oven and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or until completely firm. Overnight would be great!

Cream cheese frosting in glass bowl

Optional Cream Cheese Frosting

I don’t usually call cream cheese frosting “optional,” but in this case, it definitely is! The dessert is pretty sweet on its own, but a thin layer of cream cheese frosting is a delicious finishing touch. For the cream cheese frosting, you need 1/2 of a block of cream cheese (4 ounces total), butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and a splash of milk to thin it out. It tastes just like my full recipe for cream cheese frosting— it’s simply scaled down.

pumpkin cake cheesecake

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pumpkin cake cheesecake with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin Cake Cheesecake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 65 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

When pumpkin cake and cheesecake combine forces, we have pumpkin cake cheesecake! For a little something extra, top with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and finish with chopped pecans.


Ingredients

Cheesecake

  • two 8-ounce blocks (448g; 16 ounces) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60g) plain yogurt or sour cream*
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
  • 3¬†large eggs, at room temperature

Pumpkin Cake

  • 3/4 cup (180ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (318g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)*
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour¬†(spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2¬†teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces (112g) block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (16g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons (15-30ml) milk
  • optional: chopped pecans

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350¬įF (177¬įC). Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Wrap aluminum foil on the bottom and tightly around the outside walls of the springform pan, as shown in photos on my How to Prevent Cheesecake Cracks page. Set aside.
  2. Make the cheesecake first: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and flour and beat until combined. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. Do not over-mix the filling after you have added the eggs. Set aside.
  3. Make the pumpkin cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and blotted-dry pumpkin (see notes) together until combined. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until no large lumps remain. Avoid over-mixing the pumpkin cake batter.
  4. Spread 1 and 1/2 cups of the pumpkin cake batter into the bottom of prepared pan. On top of the pumpkin batter, begin dropping large spoonfuls of both the cheesecake batter and pumpkin batter, alternating one after the other. It doesn’t have to be neat or perfect. Do not swirl with a knife. See photo above of what my cake looked like before going into the oven.
  5. Place the springform pan into a large roasting pan and place into the oven. Fill with about 1 inch of hot water. The foil wrapped around the pan will prevent water from leaking inside. Click here to read more about my cheesecake water bath.
  6. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until the center is almost set.* If you find the edges are browning, loosely place aluminum foil on top of the cake as it bakes. Once done, turn the oven off and open the door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven in the water bath for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, peel the aluminum foil off the bottom, wipe pan dry with a towel, then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight (preferred).
  7. After chilling, run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the rim. Remove the rim.
  8. Make the cream cheese frosting. (This can be made up to 2 days in advance Рcover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.) Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy.  Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then turn up to high speed and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in 1-2 Tablespoons of milk, depending how thick or thin you want the frosting. Spread onto chilled cheesecake. Top with pecans, if desired.
  9. Cut into slices and serve cheesecake chilled. Cover leftover cheesecake and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Cover pumpkin cake cheesecake tightly and freeze up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. I used plain, low fat Greek yogurt. Any plain yogurt (nonfat, low fat, full fat, Greek, regular) or (low-fat, full-fat) sour cream will be fine.
  3. Pumpkin is an extremely wet ingredient. In my recipe testing, I found that in order to get enough pumpkin flavor you need 1 and 1/3 cups of pumpkin. However, this amount will weigh down your cake, making it taste heavy and even a little soggy. So, before using it, place the pumpkin in a bowl lined with a paper towel. Place two more paper towels on top of it. Blot the pumpkin to expel as much moisture as you can. Then, add the blotted-dry pumpkin to the wet ingredients as instructed in the recipe.
  4. Instead of pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon all-spice.
  5. When the cheesecake is done, there will still be a 2 inch wobbly spot in the center; the texture will smooth out as it cools.

Keywords: pumpkin, thanksgiving, pumpkin cake, cheesecake

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261 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, 

    Last year I made your pumpkin swirl cheesecake and was in love with it! Any advice to make just the pumpkin bread? Maybe double the cake portion and put in a bundt or loaf pan?  Thanks for your help! Happy thanksgiving!

  2. Hey Sally!

    I feel like I am commenting like crazy on your blog right now lol but I am basically perusing every single one of your pumpkin recipes because I can’t quite decide which one to make!

    I was wondering that for this pumpkin cake cheesecake recipe, if I wanted a higher cake ratio to cheesecake ratio, could I make the full pumpkin cake batter and make the full cream cheese batter, but only end up using about 3/4 of the cheesecake batter? Would this majorly affect the outcome of the dessert? Or would I just need to bake for a little less time? 

    Thanks Sally! Happy Thanksgiving and hope you have a great holiday! What are you baking for tomorrow?

  3. Hey Sally!

    I was reading through the comments to see if I could find something about this but I was wondering if you could use some Fage Greek Yogurt in place of some of the cream cheese bars to make the cheesecake batter? I only have one 8 ounce bar of cream cheese in the fridge but a whole tub of Fage Greek Yogurt so just wanted to double check!

    If I wanted to combine brick cream cheese with Fage Greek Yogurt for this recipe, is there a ratio that I could use for the cheesecake batter? 

    Thanks!

  4. Just made this.. I kind of screwed up the layers on it, so the whole top of the cake is cheese cake.. It cake rose to the top of the spring form pan and is so cracked! We are at 4100ft elevation so I am not sure if that caused some issues.. And it browned while I was trying to get my little on to bed… Grr what’s the best way to help this.. Just make a little more of the frosting so that is fills the cracks and covers the browning? Or should I try to take the top layer of brown off?¬†

    First time to make this and I am super excited to try it!! 

    1. The amount of frosting listed should be enough to cover the cracks and browned top. I wouldn’t take it off. It’s still tasty. Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Hey Sally. 

    I tried making this last week and I had a question about the consistency of the cake. I am not sure if some water got in the bottom of my pan even though I wrapped it in foil (like condensation from the water bath collecting in the foil wrapped around my springform pan, but I wanted to know if the middle portion of the bottom layer of cake should be actually cake-y? Like I noticed that my cake in the middle of the cheesecake or mostly on the bottom and in the middle seems wet or overly moist? The cake around the edges of the cheesecake (even the bottom part) seems ok. I was just wondering if it was possibly undercooked or not safe to eat even though we cooked it the whole time you said to. Is that just how the cake portion of the cheesecake turned out? Just wanted to check if yours comes out super moist or drier. Like the cake isn’t so wet it is crumbling but it was sticking to my spatula when I tried slicing and the cake and taking it off the bottom of the springform pan. Thanks!

    1. Taylor, were you sure to “blot” the pumpkin as suggested in my recipe notes? Pumpkin is VERY wet and I fear that maybe there was just too much moisture in the cake portion. It’s supposed to be moist, of course, but not wet. Do you think the cheesecake cake was underbaked as a whole as well? It sounds like that too.

      1. Hey Sally!

        Yes, I blotted the pumpkin dry just as your instructions said but maybe I could’ve used an extra paper towel? And I actually think I baked the cheesecake too long? The cheesecake portion was pretty stiff while the cake potion looked like it was undercooked (that is probably the best way to describe it). Not undercooked like the batter was still jiggling but like a majorly undercooked brownie.¬†

        Is it possible too much water in the water bath  could have prevented the cake from firming up and baking the way it should? I used one of those deep dish pans people make their turkeys in and filled that with an inch of water and then put the springform pan wrapped in foil into the deep dish pan of water. Maybe I needed to use a more shallow pan for the water bath? 

      2. It DOES sound like water seeped in! Use a more shallow pan. Or, skip the waterbath completely in this case. I only suggest this because you are covering the cake with a layer of cream cheese frosting. And that will cover up any potential cracks.

  6. Hey Sally!

    Thanks for the quick reply! I really wanted to try making it again but wanted to get some feedback from you first. But yes, I think this next time I will try it without the water bath because even with this water bath my cheesecake was still pretty cracked =/ might have been my layering technique? Either way, I am crossing my fingers the next one will turn out better!

  7. In making cheesecakes in a water bath, instead of aluminum foil, which is prone to leaking, try crock pot liners, they work GREAT!

  8. Hi Sally. I fell madly in love with this cake last fall. Like, stalker/restraining order lovestruck. But… can the pumpkin cake be made as a stand-alone? Is this enough batter for 8×8 pan, maybe, or should I double? Neighbor boy can’t have any dairy at all, but loves pumpkin, and I wanted to make him a treat for first-day of school. Thanks for putting so much goodness in the world!

  9. This cheesecake is very good, BUT the frosting is way to sweet. I would reduce the powdered sugar to 1-1/4 – 1 1/2 cups. Also, the pumpkin cake needs more pumpkin spice. Next time, I will double the amount. It also needs some more sweetness, which adding about 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Draining and blotting the pumpkin is a must! Mine came out perfect because I did follow the directions, but it was tedious. Next time, I think I’ll try some cheesecloth to drain it and then blot if needed!¬†
    Thank- you for sharing this recipe and all the important tips!

  10. I made this last weekend and it was delicious. Followed the instructions exactly and it worked perfectly. Thank you!

  11. I had a dream last night about a pumpkin dessert, which had a pumpkin bread base (bottom and walls) and a pie like filling and a strudel top…only while dieting could your brain come up with these types of concoctions! Anyway, I decided to see if something like that exists…this is what I got! Sally, you are my go to for SO many recipes. Looking to try this out after reaching my goal (or for Thanksgiving). Would there ever be a chance to combine a bread and pie type texture? My dream is inspiring me. ūüôā

  12. Hi Sally!
    I’ve made this recipe twice, and both times, it was amazing. I am really interested in developing a red velvet cheesecake cake recipe that involves swirling the two batters like you did here. Do you have any pointers or recommendations? Thank you!

    1. Jenny, I was wondering the same thing!! I want to make a Black Forest Cheesecake Cake and want to know if I could just adapt this?  Did you find nd any answers?  Lil

  13. Hi Sally,

    Thank you for the amazing recipes!! I am a long time follower of yours. Quick question about this recipe-you mention the cake will last 4 days in the fridge, 2 months in the freezer, and that the icing can also be made in advance. Can the icing be frozen as well? I’d like to make both cake and icing one week prior to serving, if possible. Let me know what you think. Thank you so much!

  14. Hi Sally.

    I’m not a big fan of adding frosting/glaze to things, so whenever I bake something I tend to leave them out. Sometimes it works, sometimes I realize the sweetness of the baked good really depended on the frosting! If I leave it out here, how much sugar do you think I should add to the recipe to make up for it?

  15. I made this cheesecake a few years ago and loved it so much!! Now every year in the fall, my co-workers and my family ask me when I’m going to make it again!! Thanks so much for such a delicious recipe!

  16. Hi Sally I have way more Cheesecake batter then pumpkin batter and the the cheesecake batter is runny! Should I use less cheesecake batter or pour the whole amount in and try to swirl the pumpkin up to the top? Right now my 9‚ÄĚ springform pan is only a 3rd full… and my cheesecake batter has a couple lumps in it! Should I scratch it and start again or can this be saved?¬†

  17. Hi Sally,

    Wow this recipe looks amazing! 
    I am making two this eve for an upcoming company Christmas party. I did have a few questions though and hopefully you will be able to answer them for me in time. 

    1. Is there a gramh cracker base/crust or is it just the cake as the base? 

    2. How would a fresh whipped cream frosting do over the cream cheese frosting. 

    Thank you so much! 

    1. Hi Mariah! 1) The cake is the base. and 2) I think that sounds wonderful. Some readers have enjoyed a lighter “frosting” on top like whipped cream.

  18. I usually line my springform pan with parchment paper so I can lift the cheesecake out of the pan. Can I use this technique with this cheesecake?

  19. Hey! Im obsessed with your recipes! I just made the chocolate cream cheese bunt cake! Love it! I wish i could send you a picture of how mine turned out!! My next one is your pumpkin cake cheesecake!!!!

  20. LOVE this!!
    Made it for a pumpkin dessert baking contest at my work and I won!

    I followed the directions exactly, I did use way more paper towels to squeeze out the wetness from the pumpkin. I really got it good. (And the cake was moist!)
    Mine did crack even with water bath. But it ended up being fine bc the icing covered it.

    Mine ended up like another posters where o must have put too much cake on the bottom and not had enough to drop pieces, and the Cheesecake part was runny so the whole top was covered. I used 1.5 Cups like it said but next time I will do less for the “crust” then just pour in some cheesecake then drop the cake part in … Basically when I’m putting it together next time I’ll change a little.

    It still tasted amazing though!!! Can’t wait to make again!

  21. Hi Sally,

    I have made this recipe many times and I love it! I have recently moved to Germany and they don’t have brick cream cheese here, only cream cheese spread. Would I need to alter the recipe if I try to make this with the spread, or can I simply substitute the spread for the brick cream cheese?

    Thanks!
    Beatrice

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