Vegan pumpkin cheesecake swirled with vanilla bean cheesecake, paired with a spiced cookie crust, salted caramel, and coconut whipped cream… This is the fall dessert of my dreams. I honestly can’t imagine many desserts better than this.
Cheesecake has undoubtedly always been one of my favorite desserts. It’s the thing I almost always requested for my birthday as a kid. I was just always obsessed with the creamy richness and the tanginess. My mom was also known for making a killer homemade cheesecake. So, naturally it’s something I’ve missed a lot since becoming vegan.
Granted, the internet is loaded with recipes for healthier, raw, no-bake cashew cheesecakes with date nut crusts. Which are great in their own right, but they don’t really hit the spot when you’re craving a baked New York-style cheesecake. At least in my opinion.
So, I decided to try making a baked vegan cheesecake. I scoured the internet for recipes, most still called for cashews and coconut cream. I wanted my recipe to be nut-free, and I also didn’t want it to require a blender or food processor. I’m pleased to announce I finally came up with something that is just as simple to make as a regular cheesecake, and tastes surprisingly legit.
I also decided to take it to the next level by making it into a vanilla bean cheesecake with a pumpkin spice swirl, because Fall. In addition to that, I swapped out the traditional graham cracker crust for a gingersnap pecan crust (Yes, please!). Lastly, I served it with a salted caramel sauce drizzle and some vegan whipped cream. Perfection.
Truly, you’re not missing anything with this recipe. The texture is creamy and rich. It’s perfectly tangy and vanilla-y. It’s loaded with the flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, and ginger. The crust is buttery and crisp. Perfectly indulgent.
This vegan pumpkin cheesecake doesn’t “taste vegan” whatsoever. This is definitely the kind of dessert you can share with your non-vegan friends and family. It’s absolutely perfect for the holidays as well, I’m pretty sure this is one of the desserts I’ll be serving at Thanksgiving this year.
If you’re looking for more fall baking projects, might I suggest my Extra Spicy Vegan Ginger Cookies?
Alright, I think I’m finally done tooting my own horn. Recipe time. If you try this recipe out, be sure to take a pic and tag me on Instagram @thepeacefulepicurean
Vegan Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake
- 1 10" Springform Pan
- 1 1/2 cups gingersnap or speculoos cookie crumbs (sub GF cookies if you're gluten intolerant)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup vegan butter or refined coconut oil (melted)
- 4 x 8 ounce packages vegan cream cheese (see notes for brand recommendations)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean pod, or sub vanilla extract)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (or sub arrowroot starch)
- 1/2 cup vegan yogurt (I used a vanilla cashew yogurt from Trader Joe's; any plain or vanilla non-dairy yogurt should work)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pumpkin Swirl Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- Vegan Salted Caramel Sauce
- Non-Dairy Whipped Cream (such as CocoWhip, ReddiWhip or Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream)
- A Sprinkle of Pumpkin Spice for Garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9 or 10-inch springform pan by spraying it liberally with non-stick baking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the springform pan in aluminum foil, this will prevent water from entering the pan when baking it in a water bath later on.
- In a bowl, combine all of the crust ingredients until combined. Add the mixture to the springform pan and spread into an even layer. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass, or the back of a spoon to pack it down and press it flat. Place the pan on a center rack in your preheated oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely while preparing the cheesecake.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until combined. Add in the vanilla paste, lemon juice, yogurt, cornstarch, and salt. Mix until smooth. Stop halfway through to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated.
- Remove two cups of the cheesecake mixture and add it to a separate bowl. To this bowl, add in all of the pumpkin swirl ingredients. Mix to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
- To assemble the cheesecake: alternate between dolloping large spoonfuls of the vanilla cheesecake better and pumpkin swirl batter on top of the crust until you have used up both batters. It doesn’t really matter how you dollop it, you just want to ensure you get some of each batter in every section so each slice has some of each type of cheesecake. Use a wooden skewer or knife to swirl the batters together in the pan. Tap the pan on your counter a few times to flatten out the top.
- Place the springform pan into a dish that is large and deep enough to fully hold the pan. I would recommend a deep roasting pan or a half sheet cake pan. Carefully pour boiling water into the pan, taking care not to get any water into the cheesecake. I usually add 1- 1 ½ inches of water, or about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
- Place the pan onto a center rack in your preheated oven. Bake for 75-90 minutes, or until the outer edge feels “set” and only the very center of the cheesecake jiggles if you shake the pan. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door slightly. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour. This allows the cheesecake to finish cooking, and allows it to cool slowly so it doesn’t crack.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool completely before placing it in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 3 hours before removing it from the springform pan.
- Serve with caramel sauce, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and vegan whipped cream. Enjoy!