This recipe is based on one of my favorite desserts that my Mother, Georgette Camporini, used to make when I was a kid – Cream Cheese Cake with Sour Cream Topping. I still have her recipe card, written in her delicate and precise script.
I’ve added pumpkin and some pumpkin spice (especially for my friend Angela), changed the sugar from white to coconut palm, added some lemon zest. But, it is still basically the same recipe that my Mom got from Irene Maresso (as noted on her recipe card) who lived in the yellow house, right across the street from us in Indian Hills, Wisconsin, near Lake Geneva. It takes me back to those Midwest times. Thanks, Ladies!
Serves 8 – 16
- 8-inch or 9-inch spring pan, greased on bottom and sides, then lined on bottom with a round of parchment paper
- 4oz (by weight) of graham crackers, broken and ground to rough crumb
- 2-3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoons coconut palm sugar or white sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 2 – 8oz packages cream cheese, softened. Be sure to use regular, full cream cheese, not light or low-fat.
- 2 eggs
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 cup canned (or roasted and drained to thick consistency) pumpkin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice (a blend of cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom)
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup coconut palm or white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 – Move an oven rack to lower 1/3 of oven. Pre-heat oven to 325˚ F.
2 -In a small bowl, whisk together the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press into the bottom of the cake pan.
3 – To a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, the eggs, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and salt. Starting slowly with a hand or stand mixer, beat the ingredients for 2 to 3 minutes to combine well, or until the mixture is smooth and liquidy.
4 – Pour into the crust-lined cake pan and bake in a 325˚F for 40 minutes or until cake is set and slightly puffed. It will be a little cracked around the edges. Set it on a rack to cool for 10 – 15 minutes. When cooled, the cake will have settled, filling in the cracks, forming an edge around the top.
5 – While the cake cools, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, vanilla for the topping. When the cake has cooled, smooth the topping over the cake evenly, spreading it to the edges.
6 – Return to the 325˚F oven for 10 minutes to set the topping.
7 – Remove cake from the oven and cool for 30 minutes, before refrigerating the cake pan for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Remove cake from pan and serve cold, as is, or with berries or dates.