If you love cheesecake and pumpkin desserts, then this dessert is for you! It’s kind of like seeing Les Miserables at the Queen’s theatre in London for the first time – it’s more exciting and better than you ever imagined it could be!
You’ll take one bite, and you wonder where this cheesecake has been all your life. Seriously, it’s the best mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe! Read below for the recipe.
What’s in Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake?
This mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe consists of a graham cracker crust base, a layer of pumpkin cheesecake, and it’s topped with lightly salted caramel.
The actual cheesecake includes cream cheese, sour cream, pumpkin puree, eggs, sugar, a handful of pumpkin pie spices, and vanilla.
You really could call this a mini pumpkin pie cheesecake filling, but it tastes slightly different from pumpkin pie. If you love pumpkin pie, however, you will still enjoy this dessert because it has the same warmth and creaminess.
Is Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Easy to Make?
Yes, this is an easy mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe! You just need a hand mixer for the cheesecake filling. The graham cracker crust is super easy to make too. All you have to do is stir it and portion it with a tablespoon scoop.
The salted caramel is the most technical aspect of this dessert, but it’s fairly straightforward as it only contains 4 ingredients.
If you need a quick tutorial on how to make caramel, check out my story highlight on Instagram. It shows a slightly different method than what I use in this recipe, but it will still give you a basic overview of how to make caramel.
Paper Cupcake Liners Vs Foil Cupcake Liners
When I was making these mini salted caramel pumpkin cheesecakes, I tested two different types of cupcake liners to see which worked best.
My conclusion was that the paper ones were fine but not the best. They were a little more fragile when I tried to remove the cheesecake cups from the pan.
The main problem was that the paper edges tore sometimes. When they tore, I then had to grab another edge of the wrapper to pull the cheesecake out of the pan.
It wasn’t a huge deal, but it’s not great if you want to present the pumpkin cheesecake in the wrappers.
The foil cupcake liners, however, were the winner. They were much sturdier, never tore, and they held their shape beautifully.
3 Foolproof Tips for Making the Best Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
Tip #1: Press the Crust
One of the most important parts of any cheesecake is the crust. When you unwrap a mini pumpkin cheesecake, the base needs to be firm and solid, not crumbly.
After adding the crust to each cupcake liner, use the back of a round 1/4 measuring cup to press the crust down into each cupcake well.
There may be some graham cracker crumbs coming up the sides of the liner after you press the crust down. To fix this, push the crumbs down so that you have a really clean and even crust.
Tip #2: Pipe the Pumpkin Cheesecake
Portioning the cheesecake into cupcake liners can get messy. To make this super easy (as promised), pour the pumpkin cheesecake filling into a gallon freezer bag.
Snip off about a 1/2 inch opening on one corner of the bag, and pipe the filling into each cupcake liner. It makes the process super quick and easy, and it’s easy to see if all of the liners are filled evenly.
Bonus: you won’t end up with cheesecake on the pan or edges of the liners!
Tip #3: Let the Cheesecake Cool
The cheesecake needs to cool for 1-2 hours before going into the fridge. Why? Because warm cheesecake creates condensation once placed in a storage container.
And we definitely don’t want condensation making the cheesecake watery and soggy!
Be sure to follow these 3 foolproof tips, and your mini pumpkin cheesecake with salted caramel will turn out beautifully!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups with Salted Caramel
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Chill Time: 2 hours
- Cook Time: 23 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 53 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
- Category: Cake
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- 188 g fine graham cracker crumbs (1 1/2 cups)
- 85 g unsalted butter, melted (6 Tbs)
- 13 g granulated sugar (1 Tbs)
For the Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- 226 g full-fat cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
- 30 g sour cream, not low-fat (2 Tbs)
- 113 g pumpkin puree (1/2 c)
- 60 g powdered sugar (1/2 c)
- 1 tsp molasses
- 1 eggs, separated
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/8 tsp ginger
- 1/16 tsp nutmeg
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Caramel Sauce
- 100 g granulated sugar (1/2 c)
- 120 ml heavy cream, warmed (1/2 c)
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter, preferably European style (like Plugra)
- 1/2 tsp fleur de sel or fine sea salt
- Whipped cream (optional for topping the cheesecakes)
To Make the Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a standard cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
- Combine graham cracker crust ingredients in a bowl and mix until graham cracker crumbs are moist and mixed.
- Portion 2 tablespoons of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner, and press down to flatten and even out the graham cracker bases. Bake for 5-6 minutes and let cool. The graham cracker crust should not be browned at this point- just lightly baked so it doesn’t absorb as much moisture from the cheesecake.
To Make the Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Keep oven at 325 degrees. Combine the cream cheese and sour cream in a medium bowl and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer until completely smooth.
- Add pumpkin puree, egg yolks, and sugar, and mix until smooth. Don’t mix on high speed as we don’t want to incorporate too much air. Then add the remaining ingredients (excluding the egg whites), and mix.
- Next, whip egg whites to stiff peaks, and gently fold the whites into the cheesecake mixture.
- Pour cheesecake filling into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip, or use large freezer bag and cut off the corner.
- Fill the cupcake liners with cheesecake filling until almost full. You can fill the liners close to the top, just don’t fill to the very rim because the pumpkin cheesecake puffs up a bit during baking.
- Next, boil 6-7 cups of water. Then place the cupcake pan on a rimmed half sheet pan and put it in the oven, and pour the boiling water into the half sheet pan until it comes half way up the sides of each cupcake well.
- The water bath helps the inside and outside of the cheesecake cook evenly, so don’t skip this step!
- Close the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until centers are barely jiggly.
- Remove cupcake pan from half sheet and let cool for 1-2 hours at room temperature. Remove liners from the pan, and then transfer to a covered container to refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled.
To Make the Salted Caramel Sauce
- In a large, heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the sugar on medium-low to medium heat. Do not stir too often, but instead let the sugar begin to melt. Once it begins to melt, stir occasionally.
- To prevent any sugar crystals from staying on the side of the pan, dip a pastry brush in water and wash down the sides of the pan where any sugar crystals are hanging on.
- If any of the sugar crystals make it into the caramel after the caramel is made, then it can cause the caramel to become grainy and unpleasant!
- Stir caramel more often as it melts, and add the butter once the caramel is the color of a brown paper bag. The darker the caramel color, the richer the flavor, so you can decide just how light or intense you want the flavor to be by the color of the caramel.
- Next, add the salt and the heavy cream, whisking rapidly as the cream goes into the caramel.
- Strain the caramel just in case there are any seized caramel bits that won’t melt down. Place in the fridge to cool caramel.
To Assemble the Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel
- Remove cheesecake and caramel from the fridge. Warm the caramel in the microwave for 20-30 if it is stiff, which it will be if the caramel has been in the fridge for a few hours.
- Top the cheesecakes with as much caramel as you desire and whipped cream (optional). These mini cheesecakes don’t need the whipped cream to be delicious, so it’s just a matter of preference. For a more intense flavor, leave the whipped cream off. For a slightly milder flavor, add whipped cream.
This is a Baker Street Society original recipe.
Keywords: mini pumpkin cheesecake, salted caramel, graham cracker crust