Pumpkin Cheese Cake


I love to innovate when I cook and to experiment making riffs on recipes. But for me, some foods are best left plain because they're too good to patchky around with.

Vanilla ice cream.

Matzo balls.

Mashed potatoes. Baked potatoes.

Leave these alone. They just don't get better with more.

Or, if you must add more, call them something else.

And yet ..... I used to think the same thing about plain, New York cheesecake. In my opinion, cheesecake doesn't get any better than that. But then I began to play around with some recipes and, wouldn't you know, this one for Pumpkin Cheesecake was simply awesome.

Just in time for the annual cheesecake holiday: Shavuot, which begins this year at sunset on May 19th.



  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons gingersnap or graham cracker crumbs (or ground almonds)
  • 1-1/2 pounds cream cheese
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup mashed pumpkin (canned is fine)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
  • confectioner’s sugar, candied ginger, etc. for garnish, optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan (or cheesecake pan). Sprinkle with the crumbs and twirl the pan to lightly coat the sides and bottom with the nuts. Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, orange peel and vanilla extract and beat the ingredients for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Mix in the pumpkin and yogurt, blending thoroughly.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the pan in a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with enough water to come up about 1-inch on the sides of the springform pan. Bake for about one hour or until set. Remove the springform from the larger pan and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before removing the cake from the pan to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar or candied ginger if desired.

Makes one cake, serving 8-10