Pumpkin Cheesecake (Cheesecake Factory Copycat)

SugarRush turns three this month and to celebrate I have been waiting to make this rich and creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake to celebrate. Some people are a little afraid of making cheesecake when really it is very simple when using a springform pan. The key is to cool the cheesecake in the pan completely at room temperature and then refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours before releasing from the pan.  A make ahead dessert is the best because it leaves you more time on the big day. It is a luscious dessert that's worthy of being added to any holiday menu. 

Happy Birthday SugarRush!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Ingredients for crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T. sugar in a medium bowl.

2. 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.

3. Put foil partway up the outside part of an 8 inch springform pan. My pan is 9 inch and works just fine but I wouldn't use one any larger.

4. 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.

5. Bake the crust for 5 minutes, then set aside until you are ready to fill it.

Ingredients for filling:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
whip cream & salted carmel sauce if desired for topping.

1. In a large mixing bowl combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.

2. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy.

3. Pour the filling into the pan.

4. Bake for 60-70 minutes until the middle is mostly firm and doesn't giggle. Try not to open the oven door to take a peak until you think it's done. Turn on your oven light and peek threw the oven window.

5. Take out of oven and cool completely in the pan on countertop. When cool, chill in refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

6. When chilled and ready to serve remove the pan sides and cut to serve. Wonderful with whipped cream  and a drizzle of salted caramel on top. If you have a Trader Joe's in your area their Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce is to die for.

Recipe from Todd Wilbur Secret Recipes.