Almost exactly a year ago, I made my first attempt at a vegan pumpkin swirl cheesecake. It was a spectacular failure. Looked fabulous, tasted not so fabulous.
An entire year later, I finally found the determination to give it another go. And thank goodness I did because this version rocks. It’s wonderfully creamy, yet still maintains enough of a light, airy texture to avoid tasting overly-rich.
The magical thing about this particular pumpkin cheesecake is that the flavors kind of hit your tongue in waves. You get the traditional flavor of cheesecake in one part of the swirl, then suddenly the flavor changes as the spices appear from the pumpkin portion of the swirl. And finally the graham cracker crust base pulls it all together in a symphony of YUM. And if you’re like me, you’ll prefer it topped with a dollop of whipped cream (vegan or non) which adds another dimension of flavor. Oh my, yes.
Another beautiful thing about this recipe is that it’s incredibly easy to make. It uses one of my very favorite kitchen appliances too! A food processor. You could instead use a high-speed blender though, so don’t panic if you don’t own a food processor. But um…basically everyone needs a food processor, so go buy one asap.
I think my favorite part about this cheesecake is the swirl. Every time you make it, the swirl pattern will be different. It’s kind of fun having to wait for the cheesecake to cool and set before you can cut into the creaminess and discover what pattern you’ve created. The anticipation is totally worth it! I used a butter knife to swirl mine because I wanted lots of swirls. But you can use whatever utensil you want, depending on what kind of swirl patten you want. You can try a spatula, tooth picks, a fork, whatever! Give it your own personal flair!
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6 Tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 8 oz. vegan cream cheese
- 12.3 oz. (1 package) Mori-Nu Silken Lite Firm tofu
- 1/2 cup agave nectar
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/5 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 3 Tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Prepare the graham cracker crust. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9" springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until well-combined.
- Press mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Make sure the crumb mixture is evenly distributed to ensure consistent baking.
- Bake for 7-9 minutes. Allow crust to cool slightly before filling.
- While the crust is cooling, make the cheesecake filling. Place the first 6 ingredients (cream cheese through vanilla extract) in a food processor and blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Scoop out 1 heaping cup of the mixture and set it aside.
- Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients (pumpkin puree through cinnamon) to the mixture still in the food processor. Blend until smooth and completely combined.
- Pour the pumpkin mixture into your cooled crust. Spoon the set-aside filling in small dollops on top of the pumpkin mixture. Use a butter knife (or spatula, toothpicks, etc) to gently swirl the plain filling with the pumpkin filling.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the center is almost set. Test your cheesecake by inserting a toothpick in the center; if it comes out cool and liquidy, continue baking.
- Allow cheesecake to cool, and then cover and place in refrigerator until completely chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.
- To serve, top with a dollop of whipped cream (vegan or non) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Cheesecake can be kept in the fridge, covered, for 4-5 days. The crust may begin to get soggy if kept for longer.
- One 9-inch cheesecake
- (per 1/10 cheesecake)
- Calories: 301
- Fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 40g
- Sugar: 24g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 4g
- Sodium: 182mg