The perfect fall dessert, and the most beautiful finish to your Thanksgiving dinner: Lightened-Up Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. This cheesecake has all of the classic flavorings of a pumpkin cheesecake: starting with a graham cracker crust, working up to a flavorful filling of pumpkin with cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, and nutmeg. You will never believe that this cheesecake is “lightened-up,” and with no use of artificial sweeteners, the flavors of this dessert are appealing to all. Be sure to include this recipe in your holiday menu this year.
What makes this recipe lightened-up?
Even though this recipe doesn’t taste it, this is a lightened-up pumpkin cheesecake. Each slice rings in at only 200 calories. But what exactly makes this a lightened-up recipe? Most of the ingredients are the normal amounts of the real-deal; there are just a few swaps that help reduce the calories for this recipe:
- light butter is used to make the graham cracker crust
- 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) is used for the filling
- the cream cheese is stretched by using plain-non fat Greek yogurt in the filling for a low calorie option, which you do not taste
- only 1/4 cup sugar is used for the filling, as compared to double the amount in traditional recipes
- real maple syrup is used in the filling as a sweetening and flavoring agent
Aside from the substitutions noted above, all of the ingredients in this recipe, including all of the delicious pumpkin spice spices, are the traditional ingredients you would find in this recipe. That’s what makes this recipe great, it’s the real deal, just modified slightly.
What you will need to make this recipe
- graham cracker crumbs
- You can crush your own graham crackers, or you can buy the crumbs already crushed, like these.
- light butter
- canned pumpkin puree
- Make sure the only ingredient is pumpkin; make sure it is not pumpkin pie filling.
- 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese
- plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- I use the Fage brand.
- vanilla extract
- maple syrup
- This adds natural sweetness without adding more sugar.
- kosher salt
I also recommend using a spring-form pan here.
How to make Lightened-Up Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
To make this recipe, start by preheating the oven to 350F and creating the graham cracker crust. Melt the butter and combine it with the graham cracker crumbs. Spray the spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray, and then press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the pan. Make sure the crust covers the entire bottom of the pan, but not the sides. Bake the crust for 15 minutes to harden up, and then remove it from the oven while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the other ingredients using a stand or hand mixer to break down any lumps. Spray the spring form pan again with non-stick spray, and then pour the filling in. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, then turn the oven off, but leave the cake inside for another 15 minutes. Traditionally, cheesecakes are made using a water bath (to create steam while cooking) but I have eliminated that step here, just for simplicity purposes. Feel free to use a water bath if you typically do that with your cheesecakes (this is simply putting the spring form pan in a larger baking pan, filled a few inches with water). This creates steam so that the cheesecake topping doesn’t crack. But again, this is optional.
Remove the pie and allow it to cool; once cooled completely, place the cake in the refrigerator, a minimum of 4 hours before serving, but best overnight. Serve with whipped topping.
Lightened-Up Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake
- spring form pan
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup light butter, used: Land 'o Lakes light butter with canola oil
- 8 oz light cream cheese, Neufchatel; used: Philadelphia 1/3 fat
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- whipped topping and extra cinnamon for serving, I used fat-free Cool Whip
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Spray the bottom of a spring-form pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a bowl, melt the light butter and combine with the graham cracker crumbs.
- Press this mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan until the entire bottom is covered. Do not worry about the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
- In a mixing bowl, add the other ingredients and whisk using an electric hand mixer.
- Spray the bottom and sides of the spring form pan with more cooking spray, and pour the cheesecake filling into the crust.
- Bake for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Remove the cheesecake to cool on the counter top. Once at room temperature, move to the fridge.
- Refrigerate minimum of 4 hours before eating. Serve with whipped topping and more cinnamon.
- 9 WW points (blue, green and purple plans)