These pumpkin cheesecake bars are made up of a buttery cookie base and swirls of creamy vanilla and pumpkin cheesecake, cut into bars these are the perfect fall treat!
We're already in the second week of October and the fall baking recipes are in full swing. We've got pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cookies (I did one of these too 😉 here) and so much more... Well I know you probably aren't at a loss for fall baking recipes, but another good one doesn't hurt right?!
Cheesecake is the perfect match for pumpkin. Rich and slightly tangy cream cheese with sweet pumpkin is so good! These pumpkin cheesecake bars are just that, and they're great for a picnic, afternoon tea or lunchbox snack.
The ingredients in this recipe are pretty simple!
- Cookies/crackers: It's important to use a biscuit or cracker that you love, because it's going to make up a whole component of the cheesecake. If you're in Australia I love using Arnott's 'Scotch Fingers' because they're kind of like a cross between a shortbread and cookie. Some other favourites are digestive biscuits or graham crackers! Go with what you have available and love.
- Cream cheese: I use Philadelphia cream cheese, a classic, but for a baked cheesecake no other cream cheeses do justice. Make sure the cream cheese has come to room temperature before baking, this makes the assembly process easier as it prevents clumps of cheesecake forming in the batter.
- White sugar: Plain white sugar does the job here!
- Plain greek yogurt or sour cream: Either of these will work great. This is an important ingredient because it adds an extra creamy component to the cake without making it overly rich, instead adding a little tang!
- Thickened/heavy cream: The cream helps to thin out the batter, if you don't have thickened/heavy cream pure cream works well too.
- Eggs: Eggs can't be missed when making a baked cheesecake as they are the binding agent that holds it all together
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is the trick to an extra creamy cheesecake with the perfect texture. The cornstarch acts as a thickener, as flour would in traditional cheesecake recipes, however it thickens to a smoother consistency.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla compliments the pumpkin for a well rounded flavour
- Pumpkin puree: The star of the show! Both home-made and store-bought pumpkin puree work great here. See below for tips on pumpkin puree and how to make your own.
- Cinnamon: This was my spice of choice for flavouring the pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice mix will also work great here!
Tips for the perfect cheesecake
This cheesecake is pretty fool-proof, but here are a couple of tips to help you achieve the creamiest of cheesecakes!
Use room temperature ingredients
This is one of the most important tips when making cheesecake. Cold cream cheese is the worst because it forms clumps that are difficult to smoothen out once incorporated with other ingredients. Room temperature cream cheese in hand with other room temperature ingredients works perfectly to create a smooth batter.
Don't skip the cornstarch
The cornstarch helps bring a creamy texture to the cheesecake as well as giving the bars some extra structure.
Pass the batter through a fine meshed sieve (optional)
This is an optional step as it can be quite finicky, however passing the cheesecake batter through a sieve will ensure a silky smooth batter free from clumps of cream cheese.
If you used cold ingredients and have found your batter to be extra clumpy this is the perfect tip to save your cake!
Leave your cake in the oven after baking
Cooling the cake in the oven after it has been baked will help the cheesecake set without over-baking it!
How to make your own pumpkin puree
You can use storebought pumpkin puree to make these, however if you're somewhere where canned pumpkin isn't readily available then it's super easy to make it at home.
I recommend choosing a sweeter variety of pumpkin as this is the pumpkin flavour your cheesecake will take on. I used a kent/japanese which tends to be sweeter than other varieties.
To make the puree, peel the pumpkin and cut it into 3cm cubes. Place it in a steamer for 20 minutes until cooked through, or microwave in a heatproof bowl covered with cling wrap for 5 minutes. Once tender mash into a smooth puree.
Steaming is the best option as it doesn't add much extra moisture to the pumpkin while microwaving can add extra moisture due to condensation.
If you find your pumpkin puree is extra moist place a cheesecloth/paper towel over a fine meshed sieve and add your pumpkin puree. Set it aside and allow the extra moisture from the pumpkin to drip away!
Let's get baking
It's halfway through October now, so if you haven't already started fall baking, now is the time! These pumpkin cheesecake bars will be loved by everyone so why not give them a go this weekend 😉
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went.
Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok for more of my baking creations and updates! Until next time... happy caking!Print
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
A buttery cookie base topped with swirls of creamy vanilla and pumpkin cheesecake, cut into bars for the perfect treat!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 12 Bars 1x
- Category: Bars
- Method: Easy
- Cuisine: American
- 140g Digestive/shortbread biscuits (5oz)
- 50g Unsalted butter (⅓ cup)
- 500g Cream cheese (17.6oz), room temperature
- 130g Sugar (⅔ cup)
- 150g Plain greek yogurt or sour cream (½ cup 1 tsp), room temperature
- 150g Thickened/Heavy cream (⅔ cup)
- 2 Eggs, room temperature
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 100 g Pumpkin puree (½ cup), store bought or home-made (see above for homemade)
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F
- Place the cookies in the bowl of a food processor, blitz until a fine crumb
- Add melted butter and process until combined
- Transfer to a 8 x 8 inch square pan and press the crumbs into the base with a smooth bottomed object (I use my measuring cups)
- In a bowl beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth
- Add the greek yogurt, thickened cream and cornstarch, beat until smooth
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beat until no lumps remain
- Remove 1 cup of batter and place in a medium sized bowl with the pumpkin puree and cinnamon, mix until combined
- Pour the vanilla batter over the prepared base
- Add dollops of pumpkin cheesecake batter over the top
- Using a knife swirl the pumpkin cheesecake batter into the vanilla
- Give the tin a few firm taps and and place in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is set around the edges but slightly jiggly in the centre
- Turn the heat off and leave the cake in the oven for 30 minutes
- Cool and refrigerate overnight, or minimum 4 hours
- Cut into 12 bars and serve!
Keywords: pumpkin, cheesecake, fall, baking, pumpkin spice