Baked vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe with a gingerbread crust, creamy pumpkin filling and maple pecan pie topping! Easy, indulgent and beyond delicious! I've included options to make the cheesecake gluten-free, refined sugar-free, soy free and nut-free so EVERYONE can enjoy this vegan pumpkin dessert.
What to expect from this cheesecake
This is basically a baked vegan cheesecake with Autumn or Fall flavours of pumpkin pie and pecan pie! It's the ultimate vegan pumpkin dessert!
The crust is perfectly crunchy and a simple combination of gingerbread or gingernut cookies and melted vegan butter. The deep brown sugar flavours perfectly complements the creamy pumpkin filling.
I made the vegan pumpkin cheesecake filling with cream cheese and NO cashews which makes it as close as possible to non-vegan cheesecake. This will surely impress all your non-vegan family and friends.
Making the gingerbread crust
First we need to blitz the cookies in a food processor. I used a combination of gingerbread and gingernut cookies which are more firm than regular sweet cookies.
Due to their firmness, your food processor may take a little longer than normal to blitz them into crumbs, but be patient!
If you're in the USA and have gingersnap cookies, they may be softer than what I used so it won't take as long to blitz them.
Once you have cookie crumbs, simply add the melted vegan butter then blitz again.
Like a traditional cheesecake, press the cookie crumb base into your cake tin and bake it for 10 minutes. This helps the base stay crispy at the end!
Making the cheesecake filling
The filling is simple to make. Just add ALL your filling ingredients to your food processor and process until it's as smooth as possible. The filling includes:
Vegan cream cheese for the classic vegan cheesecake flavour.
Firm silken tofu (otherwise known as medium tofu). This usually comes in a tub and is a little firmer than silken tofu but softer than extra firm tofu. It may crack when you hold it but not as easily as silken tofu (for more info on the types of tofu, see this post). The firm silken tofu adds an unbeatable melt-in-your-mouth texture to the vegan pumpkin cheesecake.
Pumpkin puree. I made my own at home by roasting some butternut pumpkin/squash then pureeing it.
Maple syrup or cane sugar
Vanilla and spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
If you prefer a cheesecake without cream cheese, I'd recommend my baked vegan cheesecake.
Baking the cheesecake
For simplicity, you do not need a water bath for this cake. Honestly, the whole 'pouring water into the oven' stresses me out!
However, I'd recommend baking the cheesecake at 160°C (320°F) so it cooks slowly and evenly. The cheesecake will be ready after about 40 minutes. The edges may be golden brown but the middle will still be a little jiggly.
To cool the cake, leave oven door slightly ajar and allow the cake to cool in the oven for about 1 hour. This minimise any sudden temperature changes for the cheesecake which means little to no cracking!
But you know... it doesn't matter if the cheesecake cracks because we're covering it with an irresistible pecan pie topping anyway!
After that hour, you can place the cheesecake on your kitchen bench.
When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, simply pop it in an airtight container (or cover the cake tin with a plate) and chill it in the fridge overnight.
Making the pecan crumble
Any cheesecake needs a good topping. I topped the pumpkin cheesecake with a delicious pecan crumble reminiscent of a vegan pecan pie!
I also LOVE the crunch it adds to the cheesecake.
If you want a vegan pumpkin cheesecake which is nut free, substitute the pecans with sunflower seeds. Alternatively, top it with whipped coconut cream!
To make the pecan crumble, simply melt all the ingredients except the nuts in a small saucepan and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the pecans then remove from the heat. The crumble will be a little liquidy at this stage but it will firm up!
Generously top your cheesecake with the pecan topping. You can serve the cheesecake immediately or let it chill until you need it.
Substitutions for the vegan pumpkin cheesecake
To make the cheesecake GLUTEN FREE, simply use gluten-free gingerbread, gingernut or gingersnap biscuits for the base. All the other ingredients are naturally gluten-free.
If you want a REFINED SUGAR FREE pumpkin cheesecake, use appropriate cookies for the base such as my gingerbread recipe. Sweeten the filling with maple syrup and for the topping, use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar.
To make the cheesecake SOY FREE, make sure you use vegan cream cheese which is soy free. You can also replace the tofu with canned coconut cream (thick part only) at a 1:1 ratio, however the cream cheese and tofu combination creates a better melt-in-your-mouth texture.
If you don't want to use vegan cream cheese, I'd recommend using the filling in my baked vegan cheesecake recipe but add pumpkin puree and spices.
Since there are no cashews in the filling, it's easy to make the vegan pumpkin cheesecake NUT FREE. Simply replace the pecans with sunflower seeds for the topping. Or substitute the crumble with whipped coconut cream.
More vegan pumpkin recipes
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake (baked)
- ~2 ½ cups (300g) ginger cookies, gluten-free if needed (see note 1 if you only have regular cookies)
- ⅓ cup (75g) melted vegan butter, margarine or coconut oil
- ~2 ¾ cups (660g) vegan cream cheese, room temperature (3 x regular tubs)
- ~2 ⅓ cups (600g) firm silken tofu, also known as 'medium' or 'traditional' tofu
- 1 cup (200g) pumpkin puree, (~½ can pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie puree)
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar, or maple syrup to taste
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, (note 2 for homemade blend)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 160°C (320°F). Line the bottom and sides of a springform or loose-bottom cake tin (I used an 8-inch or 20 cm cake pan).
To make the crust:
- Add the ginger cookies to a food processor and pulse until they form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of your cake pan. Bake for 10 minutes and set aside.
To make the filling:
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until as smooth as possible. Pour the cheesecake filling into the cake tin and smooth the top. Tap the cheesecake on your kitchen bench a few times to remove any air bubbles.
To bake the cheesecake:
- Bake the cheesecake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the edges are slightly golden brown. The middle may still be a little jiggly but it will set over time.
- Leave the oven door ajar and allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for at least 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to come to room temperature. Cover the cheesecake and set it aside in the fridge overnight.
To make the pecan topping:
- Add all ingredients except the pecans to a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes then mix through the pecans. Remove from the heat.
- Pour the pecan topping on the chilled cheesecake. Serve immediately or store the cheesecake in the fridge until needed.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Alternatively, use 300g plain sweet cookies and add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg. If you only have graham crackers, use the same quantities as above and add ¼ cup (50g) of brown sugar.
- For homemade pumpkin spice, use 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg and a pinch of ground cloves. If you don't have any ginger, nutmeg or cloves, use extra cinnamon.
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