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Painted Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

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  • Prep 30 min
  • Total 9 hr 0 min
  • Servings 12
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A creamy pumpkin-flavored cheesecake with a painted chocolate cat on top for Halloween.
Updated May 3, 2017
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  • 18 chocolate graham cracker squares (or 9 whole rectangles)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Chocolate Cheesecake Paint

  • 1/4 cup of the cheesecake filling
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  • 1
    Line the outside of a 9 or 10-inch springform pan with several layers of tin foil, unless you are using a leak-proof pan.
  • 2
    Crust: Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • 3
    Crush the chocolate graham crackers into fine crumbs using a food processor (or by putting them in a zip top bag and smashing them with a rolling pin or pan). Combine the crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • 4
    Cheesecake Filling: Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, salt and beat until creamy.
  • 5
    Add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating until creamed. Add pumpkin puree, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix just to combined.
  • 6
    Reserve 1/4 cup of filling and pour the rest on top of the chocolate crust in the spring form pan.
  • 7
    Stir cocoa powder into the reserved filling. Add heavy whipping cream to thin out the batter. Pour chocolate cheesecake “paint” into a squeeze bottle or pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe it over the pumpkin cheesecake batter to create a spooky cat silhouette.
  • 8
    Set springform pan in a roasting pan and then place in oven. Pour boiling water into roasting pan, filling it so that the water goes half way up the side of the spring form pan, being careful not to spill water into the cheesecake.
  • 9
    Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until the center still looks wobbly, but is not wet.
  • 10
    Open oven door and turn off heat. Allow cheesecake to sit in water bath for 30 minutes. Then remove from water and allow it to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Expert Tips

  • tip 1
    To be sure the cheesecake is properly baked, insert an instant read thermometer into the center of the cake. The cheesecake should have an internal temperature of 154-160 degrees.

Nutrition Information

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • It's easy to draw your own cute or scary cheesecake designs – all you need is a little imagination! Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday. I remember all the fun I had as a kid getting dressed up in my costume and running through the neighborhood collecting free candy. Every year we host an elaborate Halloween party and I'm always looking to create exciting new desserts. Recently I discovered how easy it is to paint on cheesecakes. By just reserving a small amount of the cheesecake filling you can color it and pipe it on top before it goes in the oven. The design bakes right into the top of the cake and looks really striking! This is such a simple technique – all it requires is a small amount of artistic ability. I'm not one of those people who can just draw something from my imagination (I need to cheat a bit) so I use free clip art or coloring pages to use as a guide. I keep my designs really simple, but if you are a talented artist, the sky is the limit. I chose a simple black cat silhouette for this pumpkin cheesecake, but you could paint black bats flying over the moon or create an elaborate haunted house. Be creative and have some fun! Fall is the perfect time to serve pumpkin cheesecake, so I started out by creating a spiced pumpkin cheesecake filling. The cheesecake has just the right amount of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger and a lovely pumpkin flavor. Since I knew I was going to add a black cat I decided to use chocolate graham crackers for my crust. I love the combination of chocolate and pumpkin, but this cheesecake would taste great with a plain graham cracker crust (or even gingersnap).
  • It's important to bake your cheesecake in a water bath so you don't end up with cracks on top. This is a very thick cheesecake and it takes quite a long time to bake, so if you don't use a water bath this cake will surely crack! I filled a large roasting pan with some boiling water, then set my filled springform pan in the roasting pan. I then added more water until the water level came halfway up the side of the springform pan. If you aren't using a leak-proof springform pan it's very important that you add a few layers of tin foil around the bottom of your pan so it doesn't leak. My cake took about an hour and 15 minutes to bake, but because this cake is so thick and I wanted to make sure the center was baked through, I left it in the water bath with the oven door open and the heat turned off for an extra 30 minutes. The cheesecake was perfectly baked and had a wonderful creamy texture. This cheesecake doesn't take much prep time, but you're going to have to wait to dig in. It needs to cool for at least one hour at room temperature and then in the refrigerator for at least four hours. You can keep the cheesecake in the refrigerator for several days before serving. Cover the top of your springform pan with paper towels, then wrap the pan in plastic wrap and store until you're ready to use it. The paper towels will keep moisture droplets from forming on top of the cheesecake. I like to keep mine in the springform pan until I'm ready to serve them – it keeps the shape nicely and won't get bumped around. When you're ready to serve the cheesecake, run a thin spatula around the outer edge and remove it from the pan. Then set it on a serving platter. I decided I didn't want the edge of my springform pan base to show, so I piped some chocolate frosting rosettes around the edge of my cheesecake. Have fun personalizing your cheesecake for Halloween (or any holiday).
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