Here’s a cross between a cake and cheesecake. The base is a moist soft pumpkin cake with added candied ginger for a little heat. The topping is a thin layer of creamy pumpkin cheesecake. The cake is baked just until a cake tester comes out clean, but not until the cake picks up color. Then it’s cooled briefly while the cheesecake batter is mixed. The latter is baked at reduced oven temperature just until softly set. The result is a perfect cheesecake texture and moist and tender cake interior.

Serves about 8-12

For the cake base:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (corn or canola)
  • 7½ oz (exactly ½ can) canned pumpkin puree (reserve the rest for the topping)
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

For the cheesecake topping:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ½ cup fine granulated sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (pinch) salt
  • 7½ oz (the remaining ½ can) canned pumpkin puree

Make the cake:

Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 9×13-inches cake pan with oil and line with parchment paper extending the parchment up the longer sides of the pan for easy removal of the cake.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a large liquid measuring cup whisk the oil, pumpkin puree, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in the ginger.
Pour into the prepared cake pan and spread evenly. Place the cake pan onto a baking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let neither the cake get brown nor the cake sides start pulling from the pan. It shouldn’t be overbaked.

Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack while making the topping. Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.

Make the cheesecake topping:

In a medium bowl with the electric beaters on medium speed beat the cream cheese and sugar until creamy and completely lump-free. Beat in the sour cream. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs, one at a time just until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract, flour, nutmeg, and salt. Transfer about 1/3 cup of batter into a small Ziplock bag, set aside for a moment. In another bowl with the same electric beaters (no need to wash) beat the pumpkin puree until smooth. Beat in about a cup of the cheesecake batter and mix to combine, then add the pumpkin mixture into the remaining cheesecake batter, mix on low just until color is uniform. Pour the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the cooling cake base, spread to level. Snip a corner of the Ziplock bag and pipe random lines over the top of the pumpkin batter, make swirls with a skewer. Place the cake pan onto the baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off, open the door ajar (use a wooden spoon handle to keep it open), and let the cake stay in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on the cooling rack to cool. Once cooled, refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours before slicing. For neat slices, dip a knife into hot water and wipe it dry before each cut. Store the cake, covered, in the fridge. But bring it to the room temperature before serving.