If you’re looking for a Christmas cheesecake idea to serve for the holidays, bake this 9 inch Gingerbread Cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and spiced molasses cheesecake filling.
Sometimes I feel I’m more obsessed with gingerbread than with peppermint. Usually when I walk into coffeehouses around Christmas, I almost always order peppermint mochas.
Next on my list was this Gingerbread Cheesecake (because duh – cheesecake is always on my list).
This gingerbread cheesecake recipe is simple; nothing fancy about it. Just a molasses cheesecake filling with a ginger cookie crust. For garnish I topped it with homemade whipped cream.
The best part? You don’t need a water bath.
Yes, you read that right. No hassle of putting your gingerbread cheesecake inside a hot water bath.
This Christmas cheesecake is packed full of flavor and is the perfect dessert to end your holiday dinner or to bring to office parties.
Need a smaller gingerbread cheesecake recipe? Check out my mini gingerbread cheesecakes.
What pan do you use to bake gingerbread cheesecake?
You will need a 9 inch springform pan for cheesecake (Amazon affiliate link).
Cheesecake is delicate, so you need to remove the sides; you cannot invert a cheesecake like you would with a cake.
How many servings does a 9 inch cheesecake feed?
You can cut a 9 inch cheesecake into 8-10 slices, which is equivalent to 8-10 servings.
Ingredients For Gingerbread Cheesecake
Gingerbread cheesecake is made up of a few easy ingredients:
- Gingersnap Cookie Crumbs: For an extra dose of ginger, I used gingersnap cookies for the crust. You can also use graham crackers. Use a food processor to crush them into crumbs.
- Butter: Needed to bind the crust so it doesn’t fall apart.
- Cream cheese: It’s not cheesecake without cream cheese! Make sure you’re using full-fat cream cheese (in blocks, not whipped). The low fat and fat free versions have more water in them and may be too watery after baking.
- Granulated sugar: Adds a bit of sweetness to balance out the tanginess of the cream cheese
- Eggs: Cheesecake is a custard, which uses egg for richness.
- Molasses: It’s not gingerbread cheesecake without the distinct flavor of molasses! Dark molasses is preferred, although you can use light if needed. Do not use blackstrap.
- Ground spices: Every gingerbread recipe needs cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove. It gives the cheesecake that cozy spiced holiday feeling.
- Vanilla Extract: It enhances all the flavors in the batter
Which type of molasses should I use for gingerbread?
For this gingerbread cheesecake recipe, you want to use a dark unsulfured molasses, sometimes referred to as full-flavor.
It has a more concentrated and richer flavor than light molasses (sometimes referred to as mild), so it’s ideal for baking.
I used Brer Rabbit full flavor molasses (not mild). However, I’ve also used Grandma’s Original Molasses when the store doesn’t carry Brer Rabbit.
Whatever brand you use, do not use blackstrap molasses as the flavor will overpower the delicate cheesecake.
How To Make Gingerbread Cheesecake
To make the best gingerbread cheesecake, first combine the gingersnap cookie crumbs and melted together until moist and clumpy then pat into the bottom and sides of your 9 inch springform pan.
Next, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until super smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Then beat in the eggs one a time, being careful not to overbeat the batter.
Finally, add the molasses, spices, and vanilla for flavor.
Transfer the batter to your crust and place the pan on a baking tray (no water bath necessary!) Bake at 350F degrees for 35-40 minutes.
How to know when cheesecake is done baking?
One of the challenges about baking gingerbread cheesecake is knowing when it’s done baking.
Because cheesecake is technically a custard, it will wiggle in the middle even after it’s done. If it doesn’t wiggle, you overbaked it.
The edges should be firm and brown. Only the direct middle will still slightly jiggle.
The best way to ensure cheesecake is done baking is with a digital thermometer. The internal temperature of a cheesecake should be 150F degrees.
Of course this’ll leave a hole in your cheesecake, but you can easily cover that up with whipped cream.
It’s better to have a hole (or two) than underbaked cheesecake.
Do I need a water bath for cheesecake?
No, you do not need a water bath for your Christmas cheesecake!
I’ve made this particular recipe dozens of times over the years. The top won’t overbake by the time the middle is done.
I still highly recommend putting the springform pan on a baking tray. Not only does this make it easier to transfer in and out of the oven, it’ll keep the pan from leaking all over the bottom.
If your pan is susceptible to leaks, you can cover the bottom in foil. The most I’ve seen my pan do is leak some butter from the crust. The cheesecake filling itself doesn’t leak.
How long is cheesecake good for?
Cheesecake can last up to 5-7 days in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze gingerbread cheesecake?
Yes, you can freeze gingerbread cheesecake! Either as leftover slices or as a whole cheesecake.
Place your cheesecake on a baking tray then freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to a freezer proof bag.
If you’re freezing a whole cheesecake, you may want to add a round cardboard piece underneath for extra support.
Freeze your cheesecake for about 1-2 months.
To serve frozen cheesecake, thaw it in the refrigerator. A slice will take only a few hours while a whole cheesecake will need to thaw overnight.
Is it ok to leave cheesecake out overnight?
No, cheesecake must be refrigerated overnight because it is perishable with the cream cheese.
You can leave it out for a few hours while it cools down, but then you need to refrigerate it.
How do you decorate a gingerbread cheesecake?
I topped my cheesecake with a double batch of homemade whipped cream.
Lemon also pairs wonderfully with gingerbread, so you can add some lemon zest to the whipped cream or even serve with a side of lemon curd.
Why did my cheesecake crack?
Nothing is more frustrating than spending all that time baking a cheesecake, just to have the top crack!
Here are several reasons why your cheesecake may have cracked:
- Overbeating the batter: We all love a smooth cheesecake but overbeating the batter incorporates too much air, which causes the cheesecake to puff higher than it should. As it cools, it continues to sink then crack.Solution: Only beat the batter for as long as it takes to mix everything together. You can try to beat some of the lumps out, but if it’s too lumpy, no amount of beating will fix that.
- Overbaking the cheesecake: I get it. You want to make sure your cheesecake is baked in the middle. However, overbaking will result in a dry top, which then results in cracks.Solution: Use a digital thermometer to determine the internal temperature reaches 150F.
- Cheesecake stuck to the pan: Sometimes the edge of the cheesecake will stick to the pan. Cheesecake naturally deflates when it cools. If it’s stuck to the pan, it’ll continue to deflate while the edges stay in place, resulting in tears and cracks.
Solution: Immediately run a knife around the edge to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan.
- Opening the oven door too much: It’s ok to open the oven door when checking for doneness, but you don’t want to do it too early or too many times. Every time you open the door, heat escapes and lowers the oven temperature. Too much drastic change in temperature can cause cracking.Solution: Only open the oven door towards the end of baking when you’re checking for doneness.
Why is my cheesecake lumpy?
If your cheesecake batter is lumpy, chances are your cream cheese and eggs are too cold.
Make sure they sit out at room temperature until no longer cold to the touch. I let my ingredients sit out about 2 hours or so, but it’ll depend on how cold your kitchen is (think summer vs. winter).
If your cream cheese is still too cold, microwave (without the foil wrappers!) in 5-10 second increments until no longer cold to the touch. Be careful you don’t accidentally melt it!
To warm up eggs, place them in a warm bowl of water and let sit for about 15 minutes or until no longer cold to the touch.
What to do if my cheesecake batter is lumpy
Unfortunately no amount of beating will smooth out the lumps. And the lumps certainly won’t melt while baking.
Sometimes you can use a blender to smooth out the lumps. This method may incorporate too much air, which could cause the cheesecake to crack. However, you can cover the cracks with a garnish.
Sometimes you can run the batter through a strainer. You may lose some of the batter in the process, but at least it’ll be smooth.
More Cheesecake Recipes
Looking for more Christmas cheesecake ideas? Here are more cheesecake recipes to bake:
Equipment you may need
- 2 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (can also use graham cracker crumbs)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 24 ounces (3 blocks or 24 tablespoons) full-fat cream cheese, softened and not cold to the touch (do not use fat free or whipped)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature and not cold to the touch
- 1/4 cup full-flavor dark molasses (can also use light/mild but do not use blackstrap)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
- Homemade Whipped Cream, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350F. Have a 9-inch springform pan ready.
- In a large bowl, mix together the gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Pat into the bottom and roughly 2 inches up the side of the pan. Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl then beat in the eggs, one at a time, for 1 minute each.
- Scrape down the bowl then beat in molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.
- Transfer the batter into the crust then bake 35-40 minutes or until the center is almost set and internal temperature reaches 150F degrees (it'll wiggle when shaken but top should be firm). Remove from the oven and cool 1 hour in the pan.
- Carefully run a knife along the edge to loosen the cheesecake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the pan side before serving with whipped cream.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
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