Some of you will remember that last year I entered Kraft Canada’s “Real Women of Philadelphia” contest. Despite my best efforts, I was not victorious in that contest. After taking a break from cream cheese, I decided to enter their last contest, “Cheesecake of the Year”. This is one of the recipes I created for this contest, hoping to have my recipe published in Canadian Living Magazine (and I wouldn’t say no to the $5,000 cash prize either). I can only hope that my recipe is short-listed so that the test-kitchen at Kraft has the chance to try this amazing cake. Light, smooth, and just the perfect balance of coffee and pumpkin flavour.
There are two seasons. Summer and Pumpkin. At a certain point, late in summer, people begin to crave anything with pumpkin and the warming spices that accompany them. This delectable no-bake cheesecake goes together in under an hour but has enough “Wow” factor to impress. Bring the coffee-house home with a slice of this rich, aromatic confection topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of finely ground cinnamon.
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free graham wafer crumbs (I used Kinnikinnick’s)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (divided)
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 (8-ounce) package softened cream cheese, divided
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, divided
- 2 Tablespoons espresso powder
- 2 (1-Litre) containers defrosted Cool Whip, divided
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
- 1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional, omit for nut-free)
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Since this cake will be taller than an average springform pan, use parchment paper to extend the sides. Cut parchment paper into a 5-inch strip, long enough to go around the inside of a 10-inch springform pan, overlapping them if necessary.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the graham wafer crumbs, granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, and melted butter until evenly mixed. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan, and use the bottom of flat-bottomed drinking glass or measuring cup to pat the crumbs into an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Using a hand-mixer, beat together 8 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 2 Tablespoons espresso powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1 cup of Cool Whip. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of Cool Whip. Carefully spread this mixture in an even layer over the cooled crust. Set aside.For the second layer, use a hand-mixer to beat 8 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 teaspoon maple extract. Mix to combine. Stir in 1 cup of Cool Whip. Fold in 1 1/2 cups of Cool Whip. Carefully spread this mixture in an even layer over the coffee-flavoured layer. Set aside.
- For the third layer, use a hand mixer to beat together 8 ounces of Philadelphia cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, the seeds from one scraped out vanilla bean, and 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract. Beat in 1 cup Cool Whip. Fold in the remaining Cool Whip. Carefully spread this mixture in an even layer over the pumpkin-flavoured layer.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before serving. To serve, remove the outside of the springform pan and parchment paper collar. Use a sharp knife, dipped in hot water and dried with a towel, to cut the cake into 12 even slices. Top each slice with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. Chocolate covered espresso beans are another great garnish for this coffee-house inspired dessert.