No water bath required for this Gingerbread Cheesecake with a gingersnap crust and spiced molasses cheesecake filling! It’s a creamy Christmas cheesecake to serve for Christmas dinner or at office parties.
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.
This Christmas cheesecake is packed full of flavor and is the perfect dessert to end your holiday dinner or to bring to office parties.
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!
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.
A 9 inch cheesecake makes 8-10 servings, which is equivalent to 8-10 slices.
Need a smaller gingerbread cheesecake recipe? Check out my mini gingerbread cheesecakes.
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.
What can I substitute for molasses?
Gingerbread gets its signature flavor from molasses, so I don’t recommend swapping it out. If you don’t have any, I recommend making my classic cheesecake instead.
How To Make Gingerbread Cheesecake
Here’s how to make the best gingerbread cheesecake:
- Mix gingersnap cookie crumbs and butter then pat into the bottom and sides of your 9 inch springform pan.
- Beat cream cheese and sugar until super smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Beat in eggs, molasses, spices, and vanilla, being careful not to overbeat then transfer to the pan.
- Bake at 350F degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 150F degrees. There will still be a slight wiggle in the middle.
- Cool to room temperature then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
Refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week.
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 no water bath cheesecake 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.
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.
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.
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.
Gingerbread Cheesecake FAQ
Your cheesecake is done baking when it reaches an internal temperature of 150F degrees.
Don’t overbeat your batter and don’t overbake your cheesecake.
No, cheesecake must be refrigerated overnight because it is perishable with the cream cheese.
Yes, you can make it up to 2 days ahead of time.
No, this is a no water bath cheesecake recipe!
More Cheesecake Recipes
Looking for more Christmas cheesecake ideas? Here are more cheesecake recipes to bake:
- 2 + 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (can also use graham cracker crumbs)
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 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, melted butter, and salt. 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 on medium-high speed (using the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Scrape down the bowl then beat in molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove.
- Transfer the batter to 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).
- Cool 1 hour in the pan at room temperature then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
First published December 18, 2014