Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe


From the archives, because every Holiday table deserves this turtle pumpkin cheesecake. Seriously… You need to make this!

I can usually avoid desserts, but cheesecake is my weakness.  I can’t be in the same room with a cheesecake and not just have to have some.  It was love at first bite for me, and it’s a love affair I’m happy to say is still alive and well. That’s why when I saw a recipe for Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake on the cover of a store circular, I knew I just had to make it.

I’m glad I did.  The result was an intensely mousse-like custard with the subtle flavor of a pumpkin pie covered in melting vanilla ice cream.  And you don’t need any ice cream!  This really is one for the “go to” list of recipes, especially if you’re looking for an alternative to pumpkin pie for the holidays.

A word of warning though.  This is a massive cheesecake.  You probably won’t want to make this unless you’ve either got help polishing it off, or you’re addicted to the gym.  It’s good enough that you won’t be able to stop eating it, and according to the information on the unmodified version, each slice is going to cost you about a quarter of a recommended daily caloric intake. (My version is most definitely higher in calories.)

This thing is like pumpkin flavored crack.  It’s addictive.  You have been warned.

Now where’s my dessert plate?

Turtle Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate animal cracker crumbs (about 30 crackers)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Caramel Bourbon Vanilla Sauce
  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Wrap foil around sides and bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan. Spray bottom and sides of pan with cooking spray or grease with shortening. In a small bowl, mix animal cracker crumbs and melted butter. press mixture on bottom and one inch up sides of pan. Set aside.
  2. In another small bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin. Set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat cream cheese at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time at low speed just until blended. Beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth. Pour liquid over crust.
  3. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until outside of cake is set but center still jiggles slightly when shaken. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen the cheesecake. Turn oven off and prop door open at least four inches. Allow to rest in the oven for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Cool pan on cooling rack for an additional 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least six hours before serving.
  5. Just before serving, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake, remove side of pan. Sprinkle walnuts over top of cheesecake. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate and vegetable oil uncovered on High (100%) for 1 minute to 1 minute and 30 seconds, stirring once halfway through, until melted. Drizzle chocolate over walnuts. Drizzle with Caramel Sauce.
  6. Share and Enjoy!

What I would have done differently had I thought of it at the time:

Could have used a little nutmeg.  It had more than enough cowbell.  This is GOOD!

Links to other recipes like this:

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  1. says

    We gave most of it to the troops in the dorms. One slice each for the wife and myself…

    @Bellini Valli,
    I don’t wonder at that!

    Yep. That about sums it up

  2. PKSH says

    I am going to make this this weekend and I was reading how to make the caramel sauce and just a bit confused on when to put the whiskey and lemon juice?
    I dont see it in the instructions or maybe my computer load it correctly.
    Can someone please tell when to add these two items.
    Thank you and very excited to try this.

    • Jerry says

      Add the whiskey and lemon juice after adding the cream (step 2 of the instructions). Do NOT attempt to add them beforehand. The result could be dangerous.

  3. Sonja says

    Could you give me a suggestion for what to use in place of the bourbon…something other than liquor since I never have any in the house? Do you think vanilla would work well or some rum extract?

    • Jerry says

      Rum extract would be perfect. We’ve done it that way ourselves. It does change the flavor slightly, but that’s not a bad thing

  4. Lesley says

    Could not find chocolate animal crackers any where. So what would u suggest ginger snaps or gram crackers or Oreos with out the cream of course.

  5. Goreti says

    Made this for Thanksgiving and it is absolutely delicious. It was a big hit. The only change I made was use a mix of dark & milk chocolate since my family is not too keen on dark chocolate. I also used heavy cream instead of oil making it like ganache. I actually passed up on some of the side dishes to save calories but for this little beauty. It was worth every calorie. Yummmmmmm


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