Thanksgiving Showstopper Cheesecake

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Thanksgiving Showstopper Cheesecake


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Everyone seems to have their own designated responsibilities when it comes to Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law, Tracy, is a fantastic hostess and loves to cook. She usually makes the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, and whatever side dishes that she grew up with in New Jersey. I believe cranberries are one of those, “It’s not Thanksgiving without this dish” kind of ordeals. My husband swears up and down that it’s not Thanksgiving without Sweet Potato Casserole. After one year of not having that at my family’s gathering, he was disappointed. So, I promised to make that for him when we didn’t go to his family’s house for Thanksgiving. Spoiled hubby.

My responsibilities every year are Baked Mac ‘n Cheese and some kind of massively awesome dessert, along with cookies. With my family, cookies typically end up being more of an appetizer than dessert, because half of them disappear before we even eat dinner. I call them the Cookie Vultures, because it’s an incredibly appropriate nickname.

I have been wanting to make this dessert to share it on the site for YEARS, but time slipped away in the chaos of life and it just didn’t happen.

Well, it’s here.

If you’re not gluten-free, no worries! Just use regular all-purpose flour in place of the gluten-free flour for the cake. Yep, that’s the only thing that makes this entire dessert gluten-free is that one simple little change…and literally no one notices.

I’m in love with Pumpkin Cake covered with Cream Cheese Icing, but this dessert got a major makeover by adding an ENTIRE CHEESECAKE in between those layers of cake. You see that caramel sauce dripping down like that? That’s heaven, right there. I’m sure of it.

Thanksgiving Showstopper Cheesecake

For the Cake

2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup maple sugar*

1 cup coconut oil, melted

4 eggs

15 oz. can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl or standing mixer, beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans, spoon batter evenly between pans and spread into a smooth layer. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Place pans on cooling racks for 10-12 minutes. Place paper towels or wax paper on cooling racks, turn cakes out of pans to cool completely.

*Can be substituted with light brown sugar. I prefer maple sugar because it’s a sweetener used in Paleo recipes, has a wonderful flavor, and has a lower glycemic index with more nutritional value than cane sugar.

For the Cheesecake

4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup maple sugar*

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Double-wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, place inside a 12 inch cake pan.

In a medium size mixing bowl orĀ standing mixer, add 8 oz. cream cheese, cornstarch, and 2/3 cups sugar. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer or the paddle attachment (for standing mixer) until mixture is smooth. Add another 8 oz. cream cheese, along with 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until smooth. Add remaining cream cheese and granulated sugar, one at a time, until smooth. Slow mixer to stirring speed, add vanilla and one egg at a time, scraping down the sides. Turn on to stirring speed and slowly add heavy cream and beat just until mixed in (do not overmix). Spoon batter into springform pan and spread into an even layer.

Pour 3 cups warm water into the 12 inch cake pan, creating a water bath (this prevents cracks). The water should come up at least 1 inch around the springform pan. Carefully place pans in oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Remove pans from oven, pull the springform pan out of the larger pan and place on a cooling rack for about 4 hours to cool completely. Remove aluminum foil from around pan.

Cover springform pan with plastic wrap and place in freezer to set for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Remove plastic wrap from springform pan, release and remove sides of springform. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of cheesecake, turn upside down onto a flat surface. Carefully remove bottom of pan, turn back over onto a serving plate.

*Can be substituted with light brown or granulated white sugar. I prefer maple sugar because it’s a sweetener used in Paleo recipes, has a wonderful flavor, and has a lower glycemic index with more nutritional value than cane sugar.

For the Cream Cheese Icing

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 lb. unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 lbs. confectioners sugar

In a medium mixing bowl or standing mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, and shortening. Beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes, add vanilla and powdered sugar, continue mixing for another 2-3 minutes.

For the Caramel Sauce

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

sea salt

In a small saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Cook on medium heat, until it turns into an amber color. Remove from heat, stir in butter until melted. Slowly add heavy cream and vanilla, stirring constantly. Transfer to heatproof container to cool before spreading into an even layer on top of icing. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, return to freezer for caramel layer to set.

Putting It Together:

Spread a small amount of icing on the bottom of a cake stand. Place one layer of pumpkin cake on top (this helps keep the cake from sliding around while you decorate it). Spread about 3/4-1 cup icing on top of cake, place cheesecake on top. Spread another layer on icing on top of cheesecake layer, followed by the other pumpkin cake layer. Cover cake with remaining icing, decorating as desired. I used a 1M tip for the rosettes all around the cake. Spread caramel layer on top, sprinkle with chopped pecans, if desired. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in freezer for 6 months.

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By | 2023-11-10T13:30:00+00:00 November 17th, 2021|Cakes, Cheesecake, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Holiday|0 Comments

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