This gingerbread cheesecake is deliciously creamy with warm spices and a hint of molasses. It tastes like Christmas in cheesecake form, and makes for a unique holiday dessert.
Every year I like to make a new cheesecake recipe for the holidays. I had seen a few recipes before for a gingerbread cheesecake before – and after testing and retesting – I can honestly say that this recipe has the perfect gingerbread flavor in a creamy, luxurious cheesecake form. This recipe uses a gingerbread crust, and I like to top it with cinnamon whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
The Perfect Gingerbread Cheesecake
Because I decided to go all out with this recipe – we’re making a gingersnap crust in addition to the gingerbread filling. You don’t need to make any gingersnap cookies, you can simply use a store-bought version. You want to choose something that’s dry and crunchy for the crust – in Australia, I used ginger nuts. You’ll crush them in a food processor (or ziploc bag) just like you would when making a graham cracker crust, mix with melted butter, and press into the bottom of your springform pan.
The filling is based off of my favorite New York cheesecake recipe. It’s made with full-fat cream cheese and sour cream for a texture that’s thick, creamy and velvety smooth. For the gingerbread flavor we’re adding in brown sugar, molasses and warm spices. I don’t recommend using blackstrap molasses because the flavor is too bitter. Instead, I recommend using fancy molasses or cooking molasses.
This recipe, like all my favorite cheesecake recipes, is baked in a water bath. It may seem a little nit picky, but it really reduces the likelihood of the cheesecake cracking and keeps it velvety smooth. With a water bath, it’s really important that your springform pan has a tight seal so that water doesn’t seep in. You’ll wrap your springform pan in aluminum foil at least 4 times so that the bottom and up the sides are covered, and all the seams are covered. The unbaked cheesecake with the pan wrapped in foil goes into a large roasting pan, then you’ll pour about 1/2 -1 inch (1-2 cm) of water into the roasting pan. The whole thing then goes into the oven to bake.
The cheesecake will need to cool and then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving for it to set properly. I typically make the cheesecake the night before I plan to serve it, then let it chill in the fridge overnight. Right before serving, I decorated the top with a few swirls of cinnamon whipped cream (I included the recipe below). A drizzle of caramel sauce really takes the flavor to the next level, but its equally delicious served plain.
And for more Christmas cheesecake recipes, be sure to try my favorite:
- 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan
- large roasting pan (big enough to fit the springform pan inside)
- Aluminum Foil
Ginger Snap Crust
- 1 1/2 cups gingersnap crumbs use a dry, crispy cookie
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
Gingerbread Cheesecake Filling
- 24 ounces full-fat, brick-style cream cheese* softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar I used dark
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons corn starch or flour
- 1/4 cup molasses do not use blackstrap molasses
- 2/3 cup sour cream* use full fat
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs*
- boiling water for the water bath
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- salted caramel sauce for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325F degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan in aluminum foil at least 4 times so that each seam is
- Stir together the cookie crumbs and brown sugar. Then slowly stir in the melted butter - note that you may not quite need all the butter, depending on how dry your gingersnap cookies are. It should feel like damp sand.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and keep the oven turned on.
- In a very large bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, white sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and corn starch so that there are no lumps.
- Beat the sugar mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
- Mix in the molasses, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract.
- With the mixer on low speed, mix in the eggs 1 at a time. Only mix until the eggs are incorporated.
- Place the springform pan (still wrapped in foil) in the middle of a large roasting pan.
- Spoon the cheesecake filling into the pan and smooth the top. Then pour about 1/2 -1 inch (1-2 cm) of water into the roasting pan.
- Place the whole thing in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the top looks just set and if you give the pan a gentle nudge there's a slight wobble in the cheesecake, but it doesn't seem liquidy.
- Turn off the oven and open the oven door. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven (with the door open) for about 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and continue cooling until it reaches room temperature.
- Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan (keeping it in the springform pan) cover with aluminum foil and place in the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream & Serving
- In a large bowl beat the whipped cream, powdered sugar and cinnamon until stiff peaks form.
- Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and trace around the outside edges of the pan with a sharp knife. Unclamp the outer ring of the springform.
- Optionally, pipe whipped cream rosettes around the edges with a piping bag.
- Slice the cheesecake with a sharp knife making sure to go all the way through the crust.
- Top each piece with a dollop of whipped cream (if you didn't pipe around the edges) and optionally a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
- I used Ginger Nut cookies for my crust. You want to choose a ginger cookie that's crunchy as opposed to soft and chewy for the crust. Alternatively, you could substitute gingersnap crumbs with graham crumbs.
- Make sure the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are room temperature before getting started.
- I do not recommend using blackstrap molasses. Molasses labelled cooking molasses or fancy molasses works well.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only and based on 1 slice with whipped cream but without any caramel sauce, assuming the cheesecake is sliced into 14 equal pieces.