Do fall and Thanksgiving right by whipping up this decadent Sweet Potato Swirled Cheesecake. It's a wonderful combination of a classic cheesecake and southern sweet potato pie. Top it with a spiced caramel and chopped pecans for an even bigger bang!
This creamy dessert has a similar taste to pumpkin cheesecake and you don’t have to share it with anyone. The secret to the perfect flavor combination for this recipe is the gingersnap cookie crust and a spice blend of everyone’s favorite fall spices.
Classic Sweet Potato Pie is a pretty common dessert, especially around Thanksgiving time. Sweet potatoes are actually used to make a lot of dishes around this time of the year such as sweet potato casserole and sweet potato rolls. If you’ve never tried them, their taste is very similar to pumpkin, with some basic differences, which is why they work so well in desserts.
Cheesecake is a classic dessert that most people rave over. Since I’m a lover of both cheesecake and sweet potato pie, I decided they needed to come together to make a sweet potato pie cheesecake. The end result, after a few trial and errors, was magnificent and turned into this sweet potato swirl cheesecake I just had to share with you. It has since become a family favorite and is always requested for the holiday dessert tables.
Why We Love This Sweet Potato Cheesecake
- A change from the classic pumpkin desserts- While we love (insert pumpkin desserts), these sweet spuds are so underrated in baking! Let's use them more!
- Two desserts in one! Regular cheesecake mixture is swirled with sweet potato pie mixture to create a creamy decadent dessert.
- Spiced caramel- the pumpkin pie spice caramel and chopped pecans take this creamy sweet potato cheesecake over the top!
- Make ahead- this is a great Thanksgiving dessert recipe because it can be made up to 3 days in advance.
Sweet Potato Pie Cheesecake Swirl Ingredients
- Ginger Snap Cookies- molasses cookies or regular graham crackers (see tips below) will work as well.
- Unsalted butter melted
- Full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- Granulated white sugar
- Large Eggs
- Vanilla extract
- Sweet potato puree, fresh or canned
- Ground cinnamon
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Granulated white sugar
Salted Caramel Sauce
- Light brown sugar
- Heavy cream
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Vanilla extract
- Chopped Pecans, for garnish
How To Cook Sweet Potatoes to Make the Puree?
For this recipe, you can either use fresh sweet potatoes or canned sweet potato puree. To make this cheesecake using fresh sweet potatoes you must first make the sweet potato mixture.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pierce each sweet potato deeply with a fork or sharp knife a few times on each side at approximately 1-inch intervals. This allows the steam to escape during the baking.
- Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until tender.
- Let cool for 15 minutes then carefully peel the potatoes. Place flesh in a bowl and mash until smooth. A potato masher or fork works well to mash.
How Do You Make Sweet Potato Swirled Cheesecake?
This sweet potato cheesecake swirl has a few steps to it, but none of them are difficult or lengthy, I swear.
- In a food processor or blender, crush the ginger snaps into a fine crumb. In a small bowl, combine your crushed gingersnap cookies and butter, then press them into your pan with the bottom of a measuring cup to make the crust before setting it in the freezer while you prep the rest.
- In one bowl, whip together the cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and eggs until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together the sweet potato puree, spices, and more sugar. Add a cup of the cream cheese mixture to the puree mixture and pour over the gingersnap crust. Pour the rest of the cream cheese mixture on top before using a knife to swirl the two layers. Bake for an hour and, voila, you have the perfect dessert.
- If using the salted caramel, mix all the ingredients, except the vanilla into a saucepan and simmer until thickened. Add the vanilla and continue to simmer a bit longer. Let cool to thicken further before pouring over the sweet potato cheesecake swirl.
Tips for Making Sweet Potato Swirled Cheesecake
- It’s tempting to want to eat the cheesecake right away, but it’s important that it gets to chill for a minimum of 4 hours. This settles the ingredients and allows them to fully come together. If not fully chilled, the final product results aren’t quite as satisfying.
- To get the best caramel for the top of your sweet potato swirl cheesecake, let it chill for about an hour in a closed container. This will allow it to thicken nicely so it doesn’t just run off the cheesecake, but sticks to it like a proper topping should.
- When swirling the two layers together, be sure to avoid the very bottom of the cheesecake as well as the sides. In other words, don’t disturb the crust or it pieces of it could end up in the sweet potato pie cheesecake. Although it would still taste good, it wouldn’t look near as pretty.
Common Questions About Sweet Potato Swirled Cheesecake
What Makes Cheesecake Fall?
If the middle of your cheesecake has fallen and looks like a sinkhole could be hiding beneath, you’re not alone. The main reason for this is over mixing ingredients. It’s important to mix ingredients well however, if mixed too much, a lot of extra air will be included before the baking process. During baking, the cheesecake puffs up from the added air. During cooling, the air is released, causing a cave-in. This doesn’t usually ruin the taste of the cheesecake, just the look of it, which can be disappointing on its own. You may also see cracks from the added air as well.
Why do I have to use a water bath for cheesecakes?
The hot water poured around a cheesecake baking pan that is placed in a larger shallow dish helps avoid the sides of the cheesecake from burning and cooks it more evenly. I've done this recipe with and without the water bath, and can confidently say that the texture of this cheesecake is much better when used with the bath method. You can wrap the bottom of pan with multiple layers of aluminum foil to keep the water getting in, or purchase a larger cake pan silicon pan to place your springform pan in. I love this method!
Fall is my favorite time of the year specifically because it has all the best recipes. Of course, they can be made any time of the year, but it feels better when it’s socially acceptable. Whether you’re a crazy fall person like I am or just need a new Thanksgiving dessert idea, give this Sweet Potato Cheesecake a try!
If you loved this recipe, you’re sure to love these other potato recipes!
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Chopped Pecans for garnish
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees if using a dark springform pan, and 325 degrees if using a light-colored springform pan.
Place rack in the middle of the oven.
Generously spray springform pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine gingersnap crumbs and melted butter and press into bottom and sides of pan.
Place in freezer while preparing the cheesecake filling.
Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix together sweet potato puree, spices, and sugar.
Add 1 cup of cheesecake filling to sweet potato mixture and stir to combine.
Remove crust from freezer.
Pour sweet potato mixture into pan and spread carefully.
Pour remaining cheesecake filling over sweet potato mixture.
With a knife, carefully swirl the sweet potato mixture into the cheesecake mixture avoiding touching the crust.
Place cheesecake in center of the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the center is only slightly jiggly. Once done, remove from oven and cool to room temperature, about 30-40 minutes.
Once room temperature, chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
To make the caramel sauce heat brown sugar, cream, butter, salt and pumpkin pie spice in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium low heat.
Whisk gently for about 5-7 minutes until it has thickened.
Add Vanilla and cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes then pour into jar.
Once room temperature, pour over cheesecake before serving and garnish with chopped pecans.