Spiced pumpkin cheesecake topped with fresh pumpkin and drizzled with dark chocolate sits on a white and gold plate ready to be served.

Since cheesecake is said to have originated in Eastern Europe, perhaps it’s not surprising that the variety of cheesecakes on offer is astronomical. My current favourite has to be this pumpkin version, with slivers of caramelised pumpkin and melted chocolate sauce to top it off. You can either make your own pumpkin puree or use the shop-bought stuff sold in tins for pies – just bear in mind that it will be drier than homemade, so you’ll need to use slightly more. And if you don’t have any fresh pumpkin to make the topping, you can just scatter some caramelised nuts over the cooked cheesecake.

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Recipe by Zuza Zak | Photography by Ola O. Smit
Course Dessert
Servings 12 people


  • 100 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs lightly beaten
  • 500 g cream cheese
  • 300 g pumpkin puree or 1 x 400g tin of pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Freshly grated nutmeg – optional


  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g pumpkin peeled and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons soft brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom


  • 100 g dark chocolate
  • 25 g unsalted butter


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 20cm springform cake tin.
  • Blend the butter and sugar in a food processor until pale and fluffy then, with the machine running, start alternately adding the eggs and cheese, bit by bit. When all the eggs and cheese are incorporated, add the pumpkin puree, cornflour, vanilla and spices and pulse to combine. Scrape the cheesecake mixture into the tin.
  • Half-fill a heatproof bowl with water and place in the bottom of the oven. Slide the cheesecake onto the middle shelf and cook for 5 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 160°C and cook for 1¼ hours or until barely set. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, to make the pumpkin topping, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the slivers of pumpkin with the salt, sugar and spices until caramelised – 15 minutes should do it. Set aside to cool.
  • For the chocolate sauce, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir in the butter to make a smooth, glossy sauce. Allow to cool slightly before using.
  • When the cheesecake and topping are both completely cool, carefully unmould the cheesecake and transfer to a serving plate, then top with the caramelised pumpkin and drizzle over the chocolate sauce. If you’re lucky enough to have any leftover cheesecake, it will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Amber & Rye Cookbook Cove
Image & text from Amber & Rye by Zuza Zak; photography by Ola O. Smit. Murdoch Books RRP $55.00.
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