This No-Bake Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake combines a crunchy Biscoff crust with a light and creamy pumpkin filling that's topped with an easy-to-make caramel sauce. Inspired by Fall, this no-bake cheesecake is your perfect make-ahead dessert for this holiday season.
It's that time of year where we need all the cosy baking vibes. My Pumpkin Chocolate Marble Bread, Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies and Apple Caramel Tart hit the spot completely. But sometimes we want those classic Autumn flavours, such as pumpkin spice and cinnamon, without having to actually bake.
Let me introduce to you my Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake. It has the traditional flavours of pumpkin pie but being a no-bake cheesecake means that the fridge does most of the work!!
A Biscoff spiced biscuit crust is filled with a creamy, flavour-packed, pumpkin filling and refrigerated until set to perfection. It's then drizzled in a rich, luxurious caramel sauce (that's made in ten minutes!) and decorated in crushed pecans. The cinnamon and ginger notes within the pumpkin spice shine through resulting in a comforting, hard-to-beat dessert.
The sauce used for this recipe is a quick and easy-to-make Caramel Sauce. Rather than waiting for sugar to liquefy and turn golden with the worry of it burning, I've opted to create a caramel sauce that can be made in under ten minutes and is fool-proof in its simplicity.
Made with Lyle's Golden Syrup, the result is a bowl full of glossy, velvety, perfectly sweet caramel sauce that is ideal to top this cheesecake with. Lyle's Golden Syrup is the perfect ingredient for our Autumn bakes at this time of year, complimenting the classic flavours, such as pumpkin, apples, pears, warming spices and toffee. Now available in a bottle, it stores for ages in your pantry and I for one always have one available to use.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Balanced taste. The sweetness of the caramel sauce is balanced against the creamy, lightly spiced pumpkin filling making you want to go back for more and more!
- Incredible texture. The filling is incredibly light and airy, almost mousse like and compliments the crunchy Biscoff base and the smooth caramel sauce on top.
- Ease of making. You get the best of both worlds with this cheesecake. It tastes like pumpkin pie but you dont have to worry about a pastry tart shell, or baking a cheesecake, water baths or cracked tops.
- Make ahead. This cheesecake is best when left overnight in the refrigerator to set fully making this the perfect make ahead dessert for your holiday or thanks giving dessert table.
The biscuit crumb base is made with a standard list of ingredients, as is the pumpkin caramel cheesecake filling. A couple of ingredients are heroes such as Biscoff biscuits in the base, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and pumpkin puree in the filling, but also Lyle's Golden Syrup in the Caramel Sauce.
- Biscoff Biscuits - These lightly spiced biscuits form the perfect flavour profile to pair with the pumpkin filling. And yes in my process image below my biscoff biscuits are the round sandwhich biscuits. I was unable to find the regular rectangular biscuits and so had to buy the sandwhich ones and scrape away the filling!!! Still tastes the same!
- Butter - The melted unsalted butter is the 'glue' that holds the cheesecake base together. It sticks all the crumbs together as it solidifies in the fridge.
- Sugar - Just a touch of light brown sugar to help sweeten the base and add flavour.
- Spices - A combination of ground ginger and cinnamon to ignite that pumpkin pie flavouring.
Pumpkin cheesecake filling
- Cream. It’s important to use double (heavy) cream for this no bake- pumpkin cheesecake as it contains 48% fat. The high fat content allows the cream to whip and stamilizes the structure of the cheesecake as it sets. If you want to use a lower fat % cream then refer to my FAQ section below for my recommendation.
- Cream Cheese. Full fat Philadelphia cream cheese is the best cream cheese to use due to it's thickness and creaminess. Both necessary factors when making this cheesecake. If you can buy it in block form then definitely go with that. If you can only purchase it in tubs then refer to my tip below.
- Pumpkin puree. Canned pumpkin puree is great- I have read that the US brand, Libby's is the best to use if living in the States. Over in UK (or elsewhere globally), go with what you can find as our options are reduced, but refer to my tip below to reduce the moisture content. Go for pumpkin puree rather than pumpkin pie filling.
- Powdered Icing Sugar. (Confectioners' sugar) This helps stabilise the cream - don't reduce the quantity as it will affect the consistency.
- Golden syrup. For added sweetness and taste. Definitely go for Lyle's Golden Syrup as the flavour and quality is far superior to any other. If you are unable to locate golden syrup then replace it with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Spices & Salt. ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg and ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves. You can use a store bought pre-made pumpkin spice mix if you choose. Salt is essential for balancing out any sweet dessert.
- Golden Syrup - Lyle's Golden Syrup has a taste like no other. Luxurious and thick, it's a superior sweetner for the caramel sauce. I've never used corn syrup but have heard that it can be used as a substitute if you are unable to find golden syrup.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter, and add in flaked sea salt at the end if you want to make a salted caramel sauce.
- Sugar - Light brown sugar is perfect for sweetness but also depth of flavour bringing a deeper flavour profile through the molasses content. Dark brown sugar can also be used.
- Cream - The cream is needed to create a caramel that is loose enough to pour. If you don't add it, the caramel will turn solid as it cools. It also adds richness and flavour that are a must in my view!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Now, without further ado, how do we actually make this caramel pumpkin cheesecake recipe? It's easier than you think. Firstly, we make the biscuit base, by hand or in a food processor for ease. Whilst that is hardening, we then make the Pumpkin cream cheese mixture. The filling comes together in under ten minutes and is poured right into the base before refrigerating, ideally overnight. Then an hour or so before serving you can make the caramel and dish up the dessert or your dreams!
1. Prepare the pan. A 23cm (9-inch) springform pan is prepped by lining the base with parchment paper. No need to line the sides as the biscuit crumbs go up the sides and once refrigerated and set, they release easily. (Image 1)
2. Blitz the biscuits. Add the biscuits to a food processor along with the brown sugar and spices. Pulse them until the biscuits are reduced to a sand texture. (Image 2)
Then pour in the melted butter and pulse again. It will resemble wet sand and this is the perfect texture that we need. (Image 3 & 4)
NOTE: If you don't have a food processor, you can crush the biscuits just as effectively by hand. Add the biscuits into a sealable sandwich bag. Push out as much air and seal shut. Then bash with a rolling pin until the biscuits are into crumbs. Pour into a bowl and mix in with a spoon, the sugar, spices and butter.
3. Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate. Pour all the crumbs into the base of the prepared springform pan. It will look like a lot, but because we a creating a biscuit edge to the cheesecake, as well as a base, all of them will get used! Now we need to push them flat across the base and up the sides until the biscuit crumbs are compacted together onto the tin. This will give you the best chance of having a sturdy shell for the Pumpkin Cheesecake filling. (Image 5 & 6)
Pop the pan into the refrigerator for 30 minutes or into the freezer for 15 minutes whilst you make the filling. (I always go for the freezer option as it's quicker!)
TIP: The best utensil/product to press those crumbs down is a measuring cup. A ⅓ cup size one to be exact!! It has the right surface area and height on the sides to get a smooth finish.
Pumpkin cheesecake filling
1. Whip the cream. Whipped cream is one of the main stabilises within the cheesecake. So you want to whip it enough for firm peaks to hold, but not so far as to make butter!! If you do think you took it too far, then add a bit more cream and whisk slowly again, and it will come back from the brink of over whipping.
I used a hand-held electric whisk but always slow it right down to low at the end, or finish it off by hand. But you can whip by hand if you like. (Image 7)
2. Beat the cream cheese. (See NOTE below if using creamcheese in a tub as opposed to a block) Next up the cream cheese gets beaten so that it can become creamy and smooth as opposed to lumpy. (Image 8)
TIP: British Cream Cheese vs American Cream Cheese.
What’s the difference? The cream cheese sold in tub form in the UK has a much higher fat content than the brick/block equivalent. This higher fat equals more moisture in the cream cheese and this results in a no-bake cheesecake that won't set. AKA a soupy mess! That's a no-no! So we have to try and remove some of this moisture by patting the cream cheese with a paper towel.
NOTE: If using cream cheese from a tub the extra moisture may cause your cheesecake to be runny and not set. Place the cream cheese on a paper towel, fold the paper over until the cream cheese is fully covered, and pat dry. Repeat with another two pieces of paper towel. (Image 9 & 10) Philadelphia that comes in brick/block does not need to go through this process.
TIP: Pumpkin Puree.
In the UK pumpkin puree is available down the International aisle of most large supermarket chains, however, there isn't much of a choice between brands. My only option is a brand called Baking Buddies and even though it is 100% pure pumpkin, it is SO watery. I learnt this the hard way whilst testing this recipe. It added way too much moisture into the cheesecake filling which hindered its ability to set. This resulted in one big soupy mess when I released the pan!
My advice, if your pumpkin puree looks in anyway watery, then place it into a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, (and I mean fine-mesh otherwise half the puree will pass through - again I learnt this the hard way!). With a spoon, gently move it around the sieve so that some of the moisture can pass through.
You can see in Image 11 below that the quantity of puree needed for this recipe produced nearly a ¼ cup of liquid!!
3. Add the remaining ingredients. (See TIP above regarding the pumpkin puree) Add Pumpkin puree, icing sugar, Lyle's Golden Syrup, spices and salt to the cheesecake and beat until lovely and smooth. (Image 12 & 13)
4. Fold in the whipped cream. Add the whipped cream and gently fold it through the pumpkin cream cheese mixture. Try to knock out as little air as possible from the whipped cream. The air is part of the reason the cheesecake sets in place without the use of gelatin. (Image 14 & 15)
5. Fill the biscuit base and refrigerate. Take the springform pan out of the fridge (or freezer) and you'll see that the melted butter in the biscuit crumbs has cooled and re-solidified creating a solid base for the filling to go into. (Image 16)
Spoon the filling into the biscuit base and smooth with an offset spatular. (Image 17) The filling level will go above the edge of the biscuit sides, but don't worry, smooth the filling right up to the edges of the pan. (Image 18 below).
Cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum of 6 hours. I actually recommend leaving it overnight as this gives the cheesecake best chance for the filling to set in place but also allows for the flavours to develop.
I make the caramel sauce about 1 to 1.5 hours before I need to serve the cheesecake. The reason is that it's far too hot when freshly made and will melt your cheesecake if you pour it straight on. The caramel sauce needs to cool right down to room temperature first.
1. Add the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup and heat. This caramel is super simple to make in two easy steps. The butter, sugar and golden syrup are melted in a saucepan until in liquid form and combined. (Image 19 & 20)
2. Add in the cream. When the caramel is simmering, add in the cream and keep the cream on low heat, bubbling away whilst whisking continuously for 5 minutes. This reduces the caramel and thickens it. After five minutes, pour it into a bowl and set it aside to cool to room temperature.
NOTE: Turn this into a salted caramel sauce by adding a teaspoon of flaked sea salt to the caramel after removing it from the stovetop.
Serve the Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake
1. Remove from the fridge and de-mould. Once ready to serve, the cheesecake comes out of the fridge and it's time to remove it from the springform pan. Before doing that though, run a butter knife all the way around the inside edge of the springform pan, then release the clip and lift off the springform pan ring.
Slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate.
2. Pour caramel sauce over and decorate. Pour the home-made caramel sauce over the cheesecake. I happily let it drip over the edges. You'll have some sauce leftover, but it can be stored to pour over ice cream! I sprinkle it with some chopped pecans, but that's optional. I love the crunch and flavour combination in situ and well recommend it. Then it's ready to slice and serve. A dollop of whipped cream is optional!
TIP: To Slice the Cheesecake.
If the cheesecake is refrigerated with the caramel on the top, the caramel will thicken. When it comes to slicing the cheesecake, the pressure of pushing a knife through the caramel will make for a really squashed cheesecake!
The best way to get around this is to use a sharp knife that has been heated in hot water and wiped clean before cutting. The heat from the knife will slice through the caramel by melting it ever so slightly.
- Biscuit Crust: Graham crackers, digestive biscuits or gingersnap biscuits are fantastic alternatives to make your cheesecake crust with. The next time I make this No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake, I'm definitely going to try it with a gingersnap crust.
- Pumpkin Caramel Filling: Instead of pouring the caramel over the top, you could swirl a ½ cup worth throughout the filling.
- Caramel Sauce: If you want to bump up the flavour and really love those cozy warm spices, then you could add a teaspoon of ground ginger to the caramel!
- Whip the cream enough. The cream provides stability to the cheesecake but it has to be whipped to firm peaks to create that structure when chilled.
- Compact the biscuit crumbs for a sturdier base. A measuring cup is the best utensil to push the biscuit crumbs down. The more the compact they are, the stronger your cheesecake shell will be when it comes to filling it.
- Remove the moisture from the pumpkin puree and/or cream cheese. If there is any extra moisture from the pumpkin puree or tub form of cream cheese, you ruin your cheesecake - refer to my tips above.
- Refrigerate the cheesecake. Don't cut down on the minimum chill time of six hours. I recommend overnight though!
- Slice the cake with a hot knife. To get clean neat slices through the caramel and soft mousse like filling, using a hot knife is a must.
Frequently asked questions
Technically you can use a lower fat cream. Having said that, the lower the fat percentage, the ability for the cheesecake to set decreases considerably. I would suggest making individual cheesecakes in ramekins or cups instead of relying on a sliceable dessert. The taste will be identical. Half the quantity of the biscuit base and pumpkin cheesecake filling. Spoon the biscuit crumbs into the base of your glass, then spoon the cheesecake filling over the top and serve with lots of delicious caramel sauce and a sprinkle of chopped pecans.
I personally don't make my pumpkin puree, but I have heard from those that do that it can tend to be a bit looser than store-bought puree. This in turn will affect the ability of the cheesecake to set.
Gelatin is definitely not required to make a successful no-bake cheesecake if you follow all my tips . These tips include whipping the cream enough, using the right type of cream, dealing with any moisture from the cream cheese and puree and chilling it to set for the required time.
Absolutely! I would reduce the biscuit base by ⅓ as with cheesecake bars there is no need for biscuit ‘sides’ as in this cheesecake. (Or keep them all if you love a super thick biscuit base!) Carry on following the recipe, the only difference is the base and filling are set in a 23cm (9-inch) square baking pan. Make sure that you overhang the parchment paper over the sides to use as a sling to help lift the bars from the tray.
How to store and freeze
To store: The cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. If the caramel has been poured onto the cheesecake, then it will harden in the fridge.
To freeze: The undecorated cheesecake can be frozen easily. Once it has set in the refrigerator, wrap well with plastic wrap, and then aluminium foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Do not freeze an unset cheesecake as the texture becomes affected and will turn grainy.
Equipment you’ll need
- Springform pan 23cm/9-inch: The best way to create the no-bake cheesecake in this tyoe of tin. It makes extracting the cheesecake from the tin a synch.
- Electric hand-held beaters: Makes whipping the cream and beating the cream cheese easy work using hand-held electric beaters.
- x2 Medium bowl's: For whipping that cream and mixing the filling in.
More caramel inspired recipes that you’ll like
I hope that this No-bake Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake becomes one of your fallback cheesecake recipes for thanksgiving this year. I truly love that you can make such an elegant dessert ahead of time and without having to turn the oven on. Just brilliant!
If you tried this No-Bake Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
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Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
- 300 g Biscoff biscuits
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 115 g unsalted butter, melted
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
- 300 ml double cream (heavy cream), cold
- 685 g Philadelphia cream cheese
- 280 g pumpkin puree, canned
- 180 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar), sifted
- 50 g light brown sugar
- 50 g Lyle's Golden Syrup
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp allspice
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg, Alternatively use 1 tsp pumpkin spice instead of ginger, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 165 g light brown sugar
- 115 g unsalted butter
- 260 g Lyle's Golden Syrup
- 180 ml double cream (heavy cream), room temperature
- pecans, toasted & chopped, optional
- Prepare the pan. Line the base of a 23cm (9-inch) springform pan with parchment paper. (No need to line the sides.)
- Blitz the biscuits. Add the biscuits, brown sugar, ginger, and cinnamon to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the biscuits are crumbled finely.Pour in the melted butter and pulse again until the crumbs resemble wet sand.(Alternatively, crush the biscuits by hand. Add the biscuits to a zip lock bag, remove as much air out as possible and close. Use a rolling pin to crush the biscuits. Add them to a bowl along with the sugar, spices and melted butter and stir thoroughly.)
- Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate. Pour the biscuit crumbs into the prepared springform tin and pack the crumbs into the base and up the sides. They need to be as compacted as possible so that they don’t crumble when cutting the cheesecake later. I recommend using a ⅓ measuring cup for this.Refrigerate the base for 30 minutes minimum or freeze for 15 minutes whilst you make the filling.
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
- Whip the cream. In a medium sized bowl, add the cold cream and using hand-held electric beaters fitted with the whisk attachment, whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Beat the cream cheese.(See note below on cream cheese) In a separate bowl, add the cream cheese and using hand-held electric beaters fitted with the paddle/beater attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the remaining ingredients. (See note below on pumpkin puree) Into the cream cheese mixture add the pumpkin puree, powdered icing sugar, light brown sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup, spices, and salt and beat on medium speed until smooth, creamy, and combined.
- Fold in the whipped cream. Add the whipped cream to the pumpkin cream cheese mixture and fold through with a rubber spatula until fully combined. Take care not to deflate all the air in the whipped cream by over mixing.
- Fill the biscuit base and refrigerate. Remove the biscuit crust from the refrigerator, or freezer, and pour the pumpkin cream cheese filling into it. Smooth the filling throughout the base and use an offset spatula to smooth off the top.Cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum of 8 hours but I recommend leaving it overnight. This gives it the best chance to firm up.
- Add the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup and heat. 1 to 1½ hours before serving the cheesecake, make the caramel. Add the butter, brown sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup to a large high-sided saucepan, and over medium heat stir until the butter has melted, sugar has dissolved, and ingredients combined.
- Add in the cream. Once the mixture is simmering, remove from the heat and slowly pour in the cream and continue whisking as it may bubble vigorously. Return to low heat and allow the mixture bubble whilst continuously stirring for five minutes until the caramel has thickened.Remove from the heat and pour in a bowl and set aside to come to room temperature.
- Remove from the fridge and de-mould. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge, then using a knife, run the blade around the edge to loosen it, then release the springform pan rim and remove it carefully.Slide the cheesecake onto a serving plate.
- Pour caramel sauce over and decorate. Pour the room temperature caramel sauce liberally over the top of the cheesecake. (Any caramel sauce leftovers can be stored in the fridge.)Use a clean, sharp knife to cut into slices. If the caramel sauce has sat on the cold cheesecake for a while, it can firm up. If this happens then heat the blade of your knife under warm water, wipe dry and slice slowly through the caramel and cheesecake. Clean, warm and wipe the blade before each cut for the neatest slices.Alternatively, slice undecorated cheesecake and pour caramel sauce over individual slices.Serve cheesecake with optional toppings of chopped toasted pecans and whipped cream.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.