It was bound to happen. I jumped aboard the pumpkin train! I did manage to hold out until mid October. Things get a little crazy this time of year on food blogs with an abundance of recipes containing pumpkin and pumpkin spices. But I truly do love this time of year, and the smells and tastes associated with it. And these pumpkin cheesecakes are truly delicious. So here’s my obligatory fall pumpkin submission. Enjoy!
One of the great things about these mini cheesecakes is that they are significantly easier than making a big cheesecake. They are also easier to serve. No water bath, no wrapping your spring-form in foil so it doesn’t leak or let water in, no worried anticipation when you take the spring-form off wondering if it’s going to remain beautiful, no cracked top or slicing pieces for guests. Just mix, fill, bake, chill and enjoy. Guests serve themselves little cheesecake cupcakes, there’s less clean up and everyone is happy.
I really like the chocolate Oreo crust, but you could stick with graham crackers or use gingersnaps for some extra fall spice. Another variation would be to make these all pumpkin and add about 3/4 to 1 cup of pumpkin to the filling. Keep the spices the same.
This filling is going to make more than enough for a dozen cheesecakes by about 2 or 3, with more pumpkin than plain filling. I suggest either adding a couple extra Oreos and a tad more butter initially and baking up a few more cheesecakes OR put an entire whole Oreo in the extra baking cups and fill those with the remaining filling. Bake these after you bake the full tin and keep an eye on them, they will probably bake up a little quicker. Or you could do as this lazy woman does and just toss the extra. I’m sorry if wasting food appalls you. I typically don’t do it. But I had a crying baby on my hands and needed to finish as soon as possible!
These would make a great addition to a fall dessert table, the orange and black qualify them for Halloween and they would also be perfect for Thanksgiving. Since they have to be chilled you can make them ahead of time, up to but not more than 48 hours. After the initial chilling make sure to cover them if they will be kept more than a day in the fridge.
2 packages cream cheese, room temperature (full or low fat)
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place cupcake liners in cupcake tin and spray lightly with cooking spray.
Crush Oreos (either in a food processor or in a plastic bag using a rolling pin and some muscle) to fine crumbs.
Combine Oreo crumbs with butter and mix to combine evenly.
Divide crumb mixture equally between muffin cups (about 2 rounded teaspoons per cup).
Press down firmly and bake for about 6 minutes. Make filling while these bake.
Beat cream cheese, sugar and sour cream together until fully combined. Add in eggs, vanilla and salt, then beat well. Scrape the bowl and beat for another 30 seconds or so.
Remove a little less than half (about 1 1/4 cups) of this mixture to another bowl. Add in the pumpkin and spices and mix well.
On top of each cooked crust spoon one spoonful of plain and one spoonful of pumpkin filling. Repeat with another spoonful of each, pumpkin on top of plain and plain on top of pumpkin, then swirl them together without mixing too much.
Repeat with the rest of the cups. Each cup should be almost full, but you will probably have a little more filling left over. See above for how to deal with the excess.
Reduce oven to 325°F and bake for 20 minutes, then increase oven to 350°F and bake 5 minutes more. When the centers of the cheesecakes jiggle just a bit when you shake the pan they’re done. If they seem really jiggly, bake a few minutes more. Remove from the oven, let cool for 30 minutes, then transfer entire pan to the fridge for a few hours. Serve up!
Throwing food away, especially fruits, vegetables and meat, really bums me out and I get kinda mad at myself for not making better use of it and being a better planner. I’ll just get too excited about all the fruit that looks good at the store and wind up with way more than our family of 4 can consume before it goes bad. Thankfully our son would eat nothing but fruit if we’d let him, so he helps out a lot when we have a surplus. I’d bought a container of fresh pineapple for a fruit salad and had over half of it left. I’d mixed some of it in with coconut yogurt (a terrific tropical summertime breakfast by the way) but wasn’t going to use it up in time that way. Solution? Cupcakes.
These were tasty and I’d make them again. They are sweet, but not too sweet. One cupcake for dessert was the perfect size. The cake has great moist texture and all the cupcakes came out cleanly. Some of the topping got stuck in the pan and so I had to fix a couple of them. But overall these were pretty easy and quite lovely.
The original recipe, found here, uses canned pineapple. I’m sure they’d be great with canned pineapple, but if you have access to fresh you should use it. I ran out of cherries and so a few of the cupcakes just had pineapple…and I kind of preferred them that way. While there is something wonderfully nostalgic and lovely about the cherry in the center of the pineapple ring I like the simplicity of the pineapple by itself.
The only change I made was to use a little less butter and brown sugar in the topping. It calls for 1/2 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in each cup. That just seemed like a lot to me. I had to eyeball the butter, a little less than 1/2 tablespoon per cup. And I used about 2 teaspoons of sugar in each cup. I guess that’s not a huge change and it probably doesn’t make any difference…
I filled the cups 2/3 full. While filling them up I realized that there was going to be a lot of batter left over, enough for 2 or 3 more cupcakes. They baked right up to the top of the cups, so each one could have used a bit more batter, but better to have them too short than overflowing. Enjoy!
Place the butter and milk for the batter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts. Place in a bowl and let cool.
While the butter cools, prepare the topping. Spray the muffin pan with nonstick spray. Place a little less than 1 tablespoon of butter into each muffin cup then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of brown sugar over the butter. Place the pan in the oven until the butter melts, about 3 minutes.
Arrange the pineapple and cherry on top of the melted butter. This may take a little finagling depending on the size of your pineapple pieces. Set pan aside while you finish the batter.
To finish the batter, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and stir just to combine. Then add 1/2 of the milk mixture, stir just to combine. Follow by 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour, stirring between additions.
Pour the batter into the muffin pan, dividing it evenly among all the cups. Bake the cupcakes until they’re lightly browned, dry around the edges, and pulling away from the pan a little, about 25 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Use a butter knife to carefully loosen each cupcake from the edges and bottom of the pan, then place a cookie sheet over the top. Invert the pan, turning the cupcakes out onto the cookie sheet, then flip them pineapple side up to cool completely. You may need to replace some of the pineapple if it sticks in the pan. Serve at room temperature.
These cute little cupcakes were for a December birthday lunch at work. I really over-committed myself this week. We attended Ben’s office party on Tuesday night, I volunteered to make a dessert for the birthday lunch, I’m bringing Swedish meatballs and a very time consuming little cookie to a Christmas party tonight, and I’m hosting a cookie swap tomorrow that I have yet to bake cookies for. Yikes! Needless to say, I did not want to make something complicated or too terribly time-consuming. So, I made spice cupcakes…from a box!
I wasn’t lazy enough to use canned frosting, so I made a basic cream cheese frosting and added a few tablespoons of maple syrup. It was a bit of a stretch for me as a recipe follower, but it turned out to be a nice frosting for the spice cupcakes.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
Cream together butter and cream cheese.
Mix in powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until it is a bit thicker than your desired consistency.