Friday, November 25, 2011

Mini 5" Pumpkin Cheesecake With Maple Spiced Whipped Cream {with a DIY disposable 5"-round parchment pan tutorial!}

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This is my absolute favorite Autumn dessert! I wait all year to make it specially for Thanksgiving. Last year I baked it in a cupcake pan for individual sized cheesecakes, but I love a classic, tall, creamy, slice, that you can sink your fork into, making sure to get a little of everything in each bite. The only problem was, I only had a regular, 9" springform pan which was way too big for my family. So that is when I got creative... keep reading to find out what I used for a pan! I'm giving myself a pat on the back for creativity on this one ;) So excited to share with you...

... I ended up inventing a DIY parchment paper cheesecake pan! Yup, I made a makeshift springform pan out of some parchment paper. I was so excited when I came up with the idea and couldn't wait to share it with you. I knew I needed a pan with a removable bottom for my cheesecake, like a springform pan, ring mold, or tart pan... but didn't have time (nor did I want to) go out and buy a cheesecake pan the night before Thanksgiving, for my cheesecake that I make once a year. So I got to thinking... At first I was thinking of baking the cheesecake in an empty pineapple can with the top and bottom both cut off with a can opener. I figured I could rest the sides of the can on top of the lid for baking and then just slide it off when it was ready. Well, I ran into two problems, I couldn't find a can large enough for the size I wanted, and the bottom of the can was rounded and didn't have a lip for the can opener to work with. Next I thought of lining a small cake pan with parchment paper on the sides and bottom with an extra 2 strips of parchment, criss-crossing underneath the parchment circle lining the bottom of the pan... Well the smallest pan I had was a 6 inch, and I didn't want a thin cheesecake, so then I thought, well what if I just eliminate the pan and skip the sketchy "lifting the cheesecake out" process?! And there I had it, a ring of parchment as the sides of the invisible pan, placed on a piece of parchment as the bottom of the invisible pan. This way I could simple peel the parchment away after baking, for a perfect cheesecake in any size I wanted! Here is how I made it:

Parchment Paper Cheesecake Pan
By Lindsay Ann

You will need
  • parchment paper (not the same as wax paper!)
  • scissors
  • stapler
  • ruler/measuring tape OR round container the size you want your pan (optional)
  • baking pan or cookie sheet for baking on


Cut a piece of parchment paper from the roll, about18 inches long.

Fold it in half, lengthwise. This will help strengthen the sides of your parchment pan.

Fold it in half again, lengthwise, creating an 18x 4 inch piece of parchment.

Wrap your parchment strip around an item that is the size you would like your pan to be. In this case I wanted a 5 inch pan, which happened to be the same size as the oatmeal container I had. Cans of corn, beans, soup, etc. also work, to create mini 3 inch parchment pans. Staple the sides together, making sure there is a row of at least 3 staples where the parchment is connected (a staple on top, bottom, and in the middle).

Line the bottom of a cake pan or cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place your 5 inch parchment ring on top, in the center.

Voila! There you have your parchment cheesecake pan! Spray bottom and sides of parchment pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Now it's time to get started on the cheesecake. Crush your gingersnap cookies using a rolling pin and a plastic ziplock bag.

Mix cookie crumbs with butter and sugar to create your crust. Press it down into the bottom of your parchment pan using the bottom of a glass. 

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Make sure it is at room temperature, so you don't get lumps in your cheesecake. Add sugar and beat until smooth.

Add your pumpkin and egg. Beat on low until incorporated.

Add the remaining ingredients and gently beat until just combine.

Pour in top of your prepared crust.

Place a pan of water on the rack directly below the middle rack where your cheesecake will be. This is used in place of a water bath, which keeps your cheesecake moist and reduces the chance of your cheesecake cracking on top.

Place your cheesecake pan directly above the water pan, and bake at 325 degrees F for about an hour. Let rest in the oven, with the door ajar slightly and the heat turned off for about an hour.

 After  your cheesecake has rested and cooled off in the oven, continue to cool of a wire rack on the counter top. Refrigerate overnight.

Peel away parchment ring (being careful of staples).

Prepare whipped cream and pipe on top of your completely cooled cheesecake.


Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake With Maple Spiced Whipped Cream

Yield: 1- 5" mini cheesecake


  • 1/2-3/4 cup ginger snap cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature (do not use light or low fat)
  • 4 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Maple Spiced (Bourbon Spiked) Whipped Cream: 
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
Note: you can also sub a tub of frozen thawed whipped topping and gently fold in maple and spices.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of parchment ring (step-by-step directions shown above)

with nonstick spray

In a small bowl combine ginger snap crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into bottom of parchment circle, using the bottom of a glass to pack it down.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the sugars and beat until smooth. Do not over beat, this incorporates too much air into the batter, which can cause the cheesecake to rise and then sink during baking. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. On low speed, gently beat in the pumpkin and egg, until incorporated. Add the sour cream or heavy cream, vanilla, and cornstarch just until incorporated. Pour cheesecake filling evenly over prepared crust.  

Place a baking pan filled with water in the center of the bottom rack, directly under the middle rack where your cheesecake cups will be. (The steam helps keep your cheesecake moist and reduces chances of cracking on top.)

Bake for about 1 hour. Do not over bake. Cheesecake will be done when the center is still a little jiggly and the edges are lightly golden. Once cheesecake is done baking, you must let it rest. Turn oven heat off. Open oven door slightly and let cheesecake cool and set inside the oven for about 1 more hour. The center will continue to cook and set as it cools down.  

Remove cheesecake from oven and cool completely on a wire rack on the counter top. Once cheesecake is completely cooled, refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight before serving. Remove parchment ring carefully.

Prepare Whipped Cream:
Combine all ingredients in a large chilled bowl, and whip until soft peaks form. Pipe or dollop into cheesecake. (I used a Wiltom 1M star tip to pipe simple fancy swirls on each slice.

Cover leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Sitting tall and pretty next to my Pumpkin Pie and Apple Crisps

Click here to check out my entire Thanksgiving roundup for more fun ideas and recipes!
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