For a show-stopping, special occasion dessert, it doesn’t get much better than Spiced Cheesecake with Oatmeal Cookie Crust!
Spiced Cheesecake – Perfect for the Holidays!
Somewhere along the way in the last several years, I’ve developed quite a taste for what I think of as fall and winter spices. I’m talking about cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, etc. I just love combining them for big flavor in my baking!
This beautiful dessert starts with a crust that’s much like an oatmeal cookie. It’s the perfect companion to all those spices! The cheesecake begins as a fairly traditional one, but it gets amped up with a little brown sugar and a blend of spices. Then it’s topped off with a sweetened vanilla bean whipped cream and a few toasted pecans.
Let me tell you, my friends, that this cheesecake is amazing. It’s absolutely beautiful and wonderfully delicious. If you’re looking for a special holiday dessert, this may very well be your answer.
What You’ll Need
See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and instructions. Here are some notes about the ingredients you’ll need to make this cheesecake.
- Brown sugar – I like light brown sugar in this crust, but you can use dark brown sugar if that’s your preference.
- Unsalted butter – Let the butter soften at room temperature until it holds a thumbprint when pressed but is still cool. Learn more: How to Soften Butter
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour – Measure by weight or spoon and sweep. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
- Oats – Using old-fashioned rolled oats gives this crust a chewy cookie texture. You can use quick oats if you prefer. Be sure to substitute by volume, not weight.
Cheesecake Filling Ingredients:
- Cream cheese – Let the cream cheese come to room temperature for easier mixing and a smooth filling. Full-fat cream cheese works best.
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Eggs – Bring the eggs to room temperature along with the cream cheese.
- Vanilla extract
- Sour cream – Set out the sour cream along with the cream cheese and eggs.
- Heavy cream – Look for heavy cream or heavy whipping cream. Make sure it’s cold when you begin whipping it.
- Sugar – Granulated sugar or confectioners’ sugar will work. I’ve listed a quantity in the recipe, but you can easily adjust this a bit to suit your tastes.
- Vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste – Either is fine. I like the look and flavor that vanilla bean paste provides.
- Toasted pecan halves – Use these to garnish the finished cheesecake.
How to Make Spiced Cheesecake
Don’t be daunted by making the separate components for this cheesecake! It comes together quite easily; just be sure to set aside enough time to get it done, including the long oven time.
Make the Crust
Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan.
Mix the wet ingredients. Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until the mixture is fluffy and lightened in color.
Add the dry ingredients. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and salt. Mix just until combined.
Press the crust into the pan. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, and press it evenly into the bottom.
Bake. Place the pan in the heated oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Then set aside while you make the filling.
Make the Cheesecake Filling
Mix the ingredients. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Next, mix in the eggs and vanilla, followed by the spices. Finally, mix in the sour cream.
Begin baking. Spread the batter evenly over the partially baked crust. Bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the oven temperature. Reduce the temperature to 200°F, and continue baking the cheesecake for 2 hours.
Turn off the oven. Carefully remove the cheesecake from the oven, and gently run a thin knife around the edges. Return the pan to the oven, and leave it in the turned-off oven for 2 hours.
Cool. Place the pan on a wire rack, and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours, although overnight is better.
Add the Topping
Make the whipped cream. Place the cream in a large, cold mixing bowl, and beat at medium-high speed until it begins to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla, and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
Top the cheesecake. Spread the whipped cream over the chilled cheesecake. If you like, garnish with toasted pecan halves.
Tips for Success
- Don’t over-mix the filling. Too much mixing can cause your cheesecake to crack, despite the low and slow baking method.
- Take your time. This isn’t a quick recipe to make. Most of the time is hands-off, but make sure you block enough time to get it done.
- Did your cheesecake crack? Despite your best efforts, sometimes it happens! Luckily, the topping will help cover minor cracks and imperfections.
- Make it in advance. One of the best things about making cheesecakes is that they can be baked and chilled for a few days before serving. For the best-looking cheesecake, wait to make the topping until the day you’ll be serving it.
Ideas for Variations
- Change the crust. A cookie crust would work well, too. Graham crackers, vanilla wafers, or speculoos would all be great choices. Learn more: How to Make a Cookie Crumb Crust
- Adjust the spices. The spices in this cheesecake lean toward a pumpkin spice blend. If you prefer a different blend, feel free to make that change. You can use something like my Fall Spice Blend, substituting the total volume of the spices.
- Use a different garnish. Try a different nut or go with glazed pecans. Or skip the nuts in favor of something entirely different like roughly chopped spiced cookies.
How to Store
Wrap the cheesecake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or transfer leftovers to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
How to Freeze
This cheesecake will freeze best without the topping. Wrap it well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then place inside a freezer-safe bag or container. Properly stored, it should keep in the freezer up to 3 months. Thaw the cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator, and add the topping before serving.