The other day, Zoe of Zoebakes made this scrumptious Bourbon Pumpkin Cheese Cake, and I knew I had to have one for my very own (plus, that it would make a very pretty addition to the Thanksgiving spread).
It was (is) DELICIOUS. I can’t taste the bourbon, nor could anyone else, but I’m sure it’s in there doing something – the flavor is just wonderfully complex and smooth, the texture soft and silky.
The recipe went fairly straight-forwardly, although I decided early on to skip the sugared cranberries and just go with pomegranate seeds instead for the garnish – still pretty and elegant. I also went for the easy way out and made a graham cracker crust, which I think went fabulously with the cheese cake – just the right richness of flavors to complement the pumpkin.
I didn’t use a foil tent to bake it, and ended up with the double prophylaxis of cake strips and water bath, which might be why it took well over an hour to set up enough to do the sour cream layer – but it didn’t crack!
The biggest gap, I think, was in the removal of the cake. “Refrigerate for a couple of hours” does not get me from cake in pan (non-springform, mind you) to cake on plate. I wasn’t falling for that one. After giving it some thought, I stuck the cake in the freezer for a couple of hours, then rested the bottom in a pan of very hot water for about half a minute, and then carefully upended the cake onto a layer of parchment paper. Came out smoothly – go me! Only lost a little bit of the edge to the paper, too. Thawed beautifully, transported without any fuss, and was enjoyed by many.
Is still being enjoyed by us – there weren’t enough people at Thanksgiving to eat it, the carrot cake, and the chocolate tarts, so we have leftovers. Time for another party!
Bourbon Pumpkin Cheese Cake
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups  roasted pumpkin or canned
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon (corn or potato starch)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
1 graham cracker crust
Preheat oven to 325° and prepare an 8 by 3-Inch Round cake pan with parchment and the graham cracker crust. [I prebaked the crust for 10 minutes] Set aside.
To prepare cheese cake batter:
Mix together in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment the soft cream cheese and brown sugar, until smooth.
In a separate bowl combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, sour cream, vanilla and bourbon. Slowly add to the cream cheese mixture, scraping down the sides often.
In another bowl whisk together the sugar, starch, spices and salt. Add this to the cream cheese and pumpkin mixture. Beat on medium/low speed until well combined, scraping down the sides often.
Pour into prepared pan. Gently tap the cake pan several times on the counter to bring any air bubbles to the surface.
Bake in a water bath and with a foil tent [as I said, I skipped this step], for about 45-55 minutes or until
set, slightly puffy and no longer wet looking. [It took me more like 70 minutes]
While the cake is baking mix together all the ingredients for the topping, set aside.
Once the cake is fully cooked very gently spread the on the sour cream topping with an Offset Spatula .
Bake uncovered with the topping for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the cake and allow to cool slowly still in the water bath. Carefully run a thin blade knife around the edge of the warm cake so that it won’t crack.
Put in the refrigerator to cool for at least a couple of hours. For absolute safety, freeze for a couple of hours before removing from the pan. After freezing, warm the bottom of the pan briefly to re-melt some of the butter in the crust, and then up-end onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or something else nonstick, and reverse onto your platter or serving dish of choice.
Decorate with pomegranate seeds, cranberries, etc.