I am a sucker for a good cheesecake. I can blame my Mama for this, as cheesecake has always been one of her all-time favorite desserts and in childhood it was always seen as something decadent and special. Though I’ve made it several times over the years with success, I still feel such pride when I pull a beautiful, crack-free cheesecake out of the oven. Add a swirl to the mix and I’m pretty much in heaven- (what is it about contrasting swirly cheesecake that just looks like a work of art?)
Anyway- this is a delicious and festive cheesecake recipe that I think would be just perfect on a Thanksgiving dessert spread or for any other holiday get together. Is is oh so smooth and creamy, and the subtle taste of hazelnut from the Frangelico adds a delicious nutty flavor that sends this over the top.
I love this recipe because if you follow the instructions just so, it won’t crack and you’ll feel like an absolute cheesecake rockstar because of it. The key is to allow the cheesecake to cool very very slowly. When the temperature changes suddenly, the cheesecake seizes up and the result are the cracks we all know and dread. By leaving the cake in the oven for 2 full hours after it’s done baking, it cools gradually and the perfectly smooth top layer stays intact. Another trick is to resist the urge to peek on how it’s doing and not open the oven at all during baking. Believe me- it isn’t easy to resist checking on how it’s baking up- but it’s worth it in the end!
Note: This post was sponsored by Frangelico, but my thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own.
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from 8 whole graham crackers)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
- 3- 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, very soft
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 1½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- Preheat oven to 350F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and liqueur and stir until moistened.
- Press crust firmly into the bottom of a 7-inch spring-form pan, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer,) cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the flour, and mix until just combined. (Don't over-mix.)
- Add the vanilla extract and eggs,( one at a time,) mixing until incorporated before adding the next.
- Remove 1 cup of the cheesecake batter, stir in the tablespoon of Frangelico and set aside.
- Gently stir the pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice into the remaining cheesecake batter.
- Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter into the crust and then spoon the Frangelico batter into dots or circles over the top. Run a skewer or knife back and forth to swirl the two batters together.
- Place cheesecake on a middle rack and reduce heat to 300F. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the outside seems set while the inside of the cheesecake seems to giggle when you shake or tap the oven. (It is VERY important that you don't peek or open the oven the entire time it's baking.)
- Turn the oven off and allow cheesecake to slowly cool in the oven for 2 hours. (This will prevent cracking.) Cool the rest of the way on the countertop and then wrap with plastic and chill before serving.