Warm spices—cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg— transform a simple cheesecake into a holiday-worthy dessert suitable for company…if you feel like sharing.
This cheesecake features all your favorite holiday spices along with a ginger-laced, toasted pecan crust. Think of it as all the spices of a pumpkin pie, without the pumpkin aspect (as much as I love pumpkin, I realize not everyone does).
I’ve used Swerve sweetener in this recipe, but feel free to use whatever sweetener you prefer (be sure to measure your sweetener carefully–using a sweetener that subs for sugar 1:1 certainly makes it easier). Alternatively, if you don’t care about the carbs, just use real sugar.
Ok, about the Instant Pot….I know—it’s a departure from our slow cooker-centric existence. However, I know that more and more people are using Instant Pots now (I have had one for a few months). If you’re not familiar with the Instant Pot, it’s basically an all-in-one slow cooker/pressure cooker/rice cooker appliance that also lets you sauté food in it (handy for some slow cooked meat dishes where you want to brown the meat first, for example). Do not be deterred by the length of this recipe—a lot of it is just the prep steps which, if you’re new to Instant Pot pressure cooking, is helpful.
I created this cheesecake for a 6-inch springform pan, however for company and more servings, you’d probably want to bump up to a 7-inch pan—it will still fit in the Instant Pot. Don’t worry, I’ve provided the scaled-up ingredients for a 7-inch pan in the note below the recipe.
I’m new to pressure cooking, in fact, this is my first try at developing a recipe for the Instant Pot. There are lots of Instant Pot cheesecake versions online if you’re looking for a different flavor, but the methods are all basically the same. I hope to become more familiar with my Instant Pot this winter. Let me know if you’d like to see more Instant Pot recipes on this site!
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Cooking spray
- 2 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature (or 1 pkg. cream cheese and 1 pkg. neufchâtel cheese)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon molasses (if you'd rather not use any sugar source, omit molasses and increase Swerve sweetener by a Tablespoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Swerve sweetener (or 1:1 sugar replacement of your choice)
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup heavy cream (optional, for garnish)
- The set-up: Trace the bottom of a 6-inch springform pan onto a piece of baking parchment and cut out the circle to fit. Place the parchment circle inside the pan. (I flip the bottom piece of the pan over to eliminate the lip and make it easier to slide the cheesecake off when it's done.) Spray the parchment with cooking spray. Wrap the outside bottom of the pan in a piece of foil; set pan aside.
- Make a foil sling: Tear a piece of foil about 18 inches long; fold it in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again to make a long, sturdy strap (often called a sling in Instant Pot and slow cooker world). You will use the sling to remove the finished cheesecake from the Instant Pot. Repeat with a second piece of foil if you want to cross two strips underneath the cheesecake pan for extra security. Otherwise, it's possible to manage with just one sling—especially with just a 6-inch pan. I save the sling/s to reuse a few times before recycling them.
- Prepare the crust: Using a small food processor/chopper, grind the toasted pecans. Add the ginger and stir to mix it together. Press the mixture into the bottom only of the springform pan. Cover the outside of the bottom of the pan with a piece of foil. Place crust in the refrigerator while making the cheesecake filling.
- Prepare the cheesecake: Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese briefly on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the heavy cream, molasses and vanilla extract; mix on low briefly to incorporate the liquids. Add the sweetener and all the spices and mix on medium speed until ingredients are blended, about 1 minute (do not whip the mixture; it should be creamy, not fluffy). Scrape down the bowl again. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low speed just until incorporated. Transfer the filling to the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan onto the counter a few times to release any air bubbles. Place a piece of paper toweling over the top of the pan, then cover the top with a piece of foil to hold the paper toweling in place.
- Place the Instant Pot trivet/rack into the bottom of the pot and pour 1 cup of water into the bottom. Place the foil sling/s on top of the rack (if using two, criss-cross them over each other in the center). The ends of the sling/s should stick up the sides of the pot to the top (it's ok if they are a little taller than the pot). Carefully lower the filled cheesecake pan into the pot on top of the sling/s. Fold the ends of the slings down into the sides of the pot (or rest the gently across the top of the covered cheesecake).
- Cover the Instant Pot and set it for 32 minutes at high pressure. When it beeps, let it sit and naturally release pressure (do not use the vent) for 10 minutes, then vent to release the remaining pressure. Remove the lid, pull out the ends of the sling/s and gently lift the cheesecake from the pot and set it on a cooling rack or the counter. Remove the foil cover and the paper toweling. Gently dab any condensation off the top of the cheesecake.
- Let cheesecake sit until it reaches room temperature, then transfer it to the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before removing the edge of the pan. Cover the cheesecake lightly and return it to the refrigerator for several more hours—overnight is preferable—until thoroughly chilled and firm.
- To serve, slide a thin spatula between the bottom of the pan and the parchment to loosen, then lift the cake off using the spatula for help, pull the parchment off and place the cheesecake on a plate. Cut into 8 slices. If desired, whip the heavy cream and garnish each slice with a dollop of cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
To make a 7-inch cheesecake: Increase pecans to 3/4 cup; cream cheese to 3 8-oz. pkg, molasses to 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons, sweetener to 3/4 cup, cinnamon to 1 teaspoon, ginger to 3/4 teaspoon, nutmeg to 1/4 teaspoon, and use 3 eggs instead of 2. Cook time will be 30 minutes.