This post was originally published here October 10, 2014. I’ve since adjusted the recipe to fit in a standard loaf pan. And I’ve updated the text and photographs to reflect those changes. This is a great dessert recipe to make if you’re hosting a smaller Holiday gathering. I hope you try it!
Pumpkin desserts will never be my favorite. I’m definitely more partial to something with chocolate. Or even these ooey-gooey blondies! But I also feel like I can’t let the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving go without any sort of pumpkin-flavored treat. So today, I’m sharing this Small Batch Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Bourbon Whipped Cream!
I realize my above introduction isn’t a ringing endorsement for this recipe. But I really am excited about how this cheesecake came out. And I would never share anything with you here on the blog that I didn’t love (I hope you already knew that!). I guess I’m just saying that pumpkin will never be my first choice if there are other dessert options available. But this cheesecake was nothing short of impressive. And I know you’ll love it, too!
My Holiday celebrations will be much smaller this year. And I’m guessing many of you are facing a similar situation. So I wanted to make a dessert recipe that wouldn’t be overwhelmingly gigantic. I took an old recipe from the archives and changed up some of the proportions and the baking pan. And the result is this Small Batch Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Bourbon Whipped Cream. Which I recommend cutting it into five substantial slices. But you could certainly make each slice a tiny bit smaller and stretch it to feed six, if necessary.
This dessert has a graham cracker crust, a thick layer of cheesecake filling and a dollop of homemade whipped cream (with bourbon!) nestled right on top to finish it off. I also like to drizzle the slices with salted caramel sauce (I used this recipe minus the pecans), but that’s extra only if you’re feeling it.
The key to making the cheesecake filling smooth and luscious is you MUST use room temperature cream cheese and eggs in this recipe. Attempting to beat together the filling using chilled ingredients will leave you with lumps that will seemingly never go away. And that’s no fun. So please make sure you don’t overlook this step. And also be aware that you’ll need to chill the finished cheesecake for a couple hours before slicing into it. Which really means that this is a great make-ahead dessert for the Holidays!
The cheesecake filling uses both pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice mix (which I also add to the graham cracker crust) to ensure the pumpkin flavor doesn’t get lost among the other ingredients. You can purchase pumpkin pie spice mix from the grocery store. Or you can make your own by coming 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons each ground nutmeg and ginger and 1 teaspoon each ground cloves and allspice. I typically like to do this and keep my homemade mix in a small container to use throughout the Fall and Winter baking season.
Small Batch Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake with Bourbon Whipped Cream
For the Crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 8 full-sized sheets)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice mix
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Bourbon Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- Place the oven rack in the lower third of your oven. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a standard 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving about an inch hanging over the sides. Set aside.
- Add all the ingredients for the crust to a medium bowl. Stir them together with a fork until the crumbs are moistened. Dump the crust into your prepared loaf pan and press it down firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan. Transfer the loaf pan to your pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until completely smooth. Add the pumpkin purée, eggs, spice mix and salt and beat until fully combined and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Pour the cheesecake filling over your prepared crust and transfer the loaf pan to your pre-heated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the surface is set but there is still just the slightest jiggle left in the very center of the cheesecake. Remove the loaf pan from your oven and set it on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Then place the loaf pan in your refrigerator to completely chill and set the cheesecake, about 2 hours. The cheesecake can be made and stored in your refrigerator 1-2 days in advance.
- To make the whipped cream, first place the bowl of your mixer and the whisk attachment in your freezer for about 5 minutes to chill them. Then remove them from the freezer and immediately add the heavy cream and powdered sugar and start whisking on medium-high speed. Once the heavy cream starts to thicken, increase the speed to high and continue whisking until medium peaks form. Add the bourbon and whisk until it’s incorporated. Cover and refrigerate.
- To serve, lift the cheesecake out from its loaf pan using the overhanging parchment paper. Cut the cheesecake into 5 slices. Place the slices on serving plates and top with whipped cream.
I’ve never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte either!! Really not sure why, I just don’t really need it in my life.
That being said, pumpkin cheesecake plus bourbon whipped cream? You’ve found my soft spot.
Thanks, Sarah. I feel like I’m missing out on some serious social culture by not getting on the PSL bandwagon!
Drooool. Wow these look so moist and delicious!
YES PLEASE, LIZ!!! These look absolutely gorgeous. I am a total pumpkin addict and can’t wait to dive into these–that frosting sounds especially delicious 🙂
Thanks, Amy! Dive away!
These are so awesome Liz, seriously craving these now!
Gluten free graham crackeeeeeer! Ugh that sounds so good! I’ve been on the prowl for GF grahams and a pumpkin-y treat is such a perfect use for them! I don’t feel like you’re missing out on the PSL…especially since you have amazing pumpkin treats like these cheesecakes. SO tasty!
Thanks, Julia. The Annie’s cookies worked perfect in this recipe. And maybe I’ll give in some day and try a PSL. I feel like I should at least know what all the fuss is about!
Oh my gosh, these look fantastic! Love the caramel sauce and whipped cream together!
It’s a pretty unbeatable combination! 🙂
I love pumpkin cheesecake, and those GF snickerdoodles sound like a great crust! I love the sound of that bourbon whipped cream, and I’m all over that caramel sauce. Delicious, Liz!
Thanks, Marcie! These are the ones I was making the day you posted your mini-cheesecakes a few weeks back. Great minds think alike!
Liz, you’re not alone with not ever having a Pumpkin Spice Latte… I’ve never tried one either. 🙂
This creation is seriously amazing! My most favorite (more so than chocolate!) is caramel… and pumpkin, together! I’m definitely wishing I had this to eat right now!
Thanks, Gloria! Glad I’m not the last person on Earth who hasn’t had a PSL! This salted caramel is so good I just eat it straight off the spoon!
Ya know….there’s a reallllyyyy simple way to remedy that tragic PSL confession you just made… 😉 But really, these look delicious! A coworker made me a pumpkin cheesecake for my birthday last year and it was soooo good! I need to try yours! Because bourbon, obviously.
Thanks, Stephanie! Yeah I should just try one (or make one myself!) and join the madness that this the PSL!! Hope you like the cheesecakes!
I’ve also never had a pumpkin spiced latte! It’s just not a thing here in Australia? These sound incredible though and the bourbon whipped cream with salted caramel, ugh! Amazing!
Thanks, Jess! If you try the cheesecakes, let me know how you like them!
I bet the bourbon whipped cream and salted caramel sauce are incredible! Yum!!! It’s hilarious you actually live in Seattle and haven’t tried a pumpkin spiced latte 🙂
I know, right? I feel like I am committing some kind of crime by not having one!
These are incredible! That sated caramel sauce is calling out to me…so luscious!
I think the caramel sauce might be my favorite part of these little cheesecakes!
Love these Liz! I’m not a huge pumpkin person but do enjoy it in certain foods and this I can do, especially that frosting! yum!
Thanks, Kayta! They aren’t overly pumpkiny so I think you’ll love ’em!
Bourbon whipped cream?? Clearly, you know the way to my heart. (and that caramel sauce is seriously the best!)
Thanks, Erin. Bourbon makes everything better!!
Liz, love that you waited until October to share this one with us!! love the Annie’s Gluten Free Snickerdoodle Bunny Cookies for the crust!! sounds great and these look amazing! and get thee to a Starbucks and try a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s fall. 🙂
Thanks, Alice! And I do feel like I am seriously missing out on some pop culture by not having had a PSL. I need to get my butt to Starbucks and just do it!
BOURBON!!! And salted caramel? Yummm! These cupcakes look amazing!
These little cheesecakes look delicious, Liz! I especially love the caramel on top. So perfect for this time of year!
Thanks, Gayle! Yeah for fall and salted caramel!
These look so dang good!! LOVE!
What an amazing recipe to kick off pumpkin season! I LOVE that you added bourbon to the whip, and that caramel sauce looks seriously to die for!!
Thanks, Allie! I love the bourbon whipped cream in this recipe!
Oh gosh, these look so good! I can’t believe all the great flavors you packed into these. Totally perfect for fall! 🙂
Thanks, Beth. They certainly are packed with all kinds of fall goodies!
Yum! These look super amazing, especially with the bourbon whipped cream and salted caramel. Need to try these!!
Thanks, Rachel. If you try them, let me know how you like them!
These cheesecake look fabulous! So good, cannot wait to try them out!
Oh gosh!! Yess!! I am drooling. .. This is absolutely fantastic.. the bourbon cream and the salted caramel are just top notch. . Simply amazing!!
Thanks, Arpita! It’s all about the toppings! 🙂
You had me at bourbon whipped cream! These look insane!
Thanks, Amy! The bourbon part is my favorite too! 🙂
I’ve also never had a pumpkin spice latte! I’m still crazy for pumpkin-spiced desserts and these sound like little bites of heaven, especially with that salted caramel drizzle.
Thanks, Sarah! I think we should all put salted caramel on everything!
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Love this update, Liz, and indeed, things will be different. Making a small batch dessert is so smart. Or better yet, making two small batch desserts! I’m lovin that bourbon whip! Bring on Thanksgiving 2020!
Ha yeah I like your enthusiasm!