Monday, November 22, 2010

Recipe for Low-Sugar Spiced Pumpkin Mini Cheesecakes

Low-Sugar Spiced Pumpkin Mini Cheeseakes
Low-Sugar Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Cheesecakes for portion control!

I'm back sharing South Beach Diet friendly Thanksgiving Recipes, after an unexpected day off from the internet yesterday when a bad winter storm knocked out power to my house for about 18 hours. I stayed at my sister Sandee's house last night (thanks Sandee!) and luckily I had an iPhone so I didn't feel completely cut off from the world. I was sad that I had to wait a day to share this great recipe for Low-Sugar Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Cheesecakes, because I worked hard testing several different versions before I got one that I loved, and I'm guessing people who are at least aiming for portion control on Thanksgiving will like this idea of pumpkin cheesecake in a single-serving version.

I used a combination of Splenda, brown sugar, and agave nectar in these cheesecakes to get a low-sugar result with a flavor I thought was worthy of a Thanksgiving dessert, but I'm guessing you could adapt this recipe to use your personal sweetener of choice, or even use all sugar if you don't care about having a low-sugar option. The recipe does have one tablespoon of flour, and I found myself wondering how it would turn out if you omit the flour, making it a gluten-free dessert. If people try other versions I'd love to hear in the comments about how they turn out.

(This is the last Thanksgiving dinner recipe I'll be adding to my South Beach Diet friendly Thanksgiving recipes.  I will be adding at least one recipe for turkey soup made with leftover turkey, so check back for that.)

You'll need to have some foil baking cups to make these mini-cheesecakes. Start by turning on the oven to 350F/180C and spraying the foil cups well with non-stick spray.

Use a mini-mixer to beat together softened cream cheese, Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or sugar, brown sugar, and agave nectar. (I tried one version with a stand mixer and thought the mini-mixer was easier.)

Then beat in eggs, one at a time, using a relatively low speed. Next, add the canned pumpkin puree, yogurt or sour cream, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin pie spice, and pinch of salt and mix until combined.

Fill the foil baking cups about 2/3 full. (I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup and divided the batter between the 12 cups, putting slightly over 1/4 cup in each.)

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until cheesecakes look set and feels firm on the top. The cheesecakes will puff up a little and then sink down slightly when cooled, like the ones in this photo. Let cool and then chill at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, and enjoy! (Choose the lowest-sugar brand of whipped cream you can find for the South Beach Diet, but if you're making these for a holiday meal I would definitely add the whipped cream which makes this taste like pumpkin pie.)

Low-Sugar Spiced Pumpkin Mini-Cheesecakes
(Makes 12 cupcake sized mini-cheesecakes; recipe adapted by Kalyn from several sources, but mostly from Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake from Bon Appetit, November 2005.)

12 oz. (1 1/2 pkg.) low-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/2 cup Stevia-in-the-Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or sugar (Use Stevia or Splenda for South Beach diet.)
1/4 cup brown sugar (or use another 1/4 cup seetener for a lower-sugar version)
2 T agave nectar (I used amber agave, but light would work)
2 eggs
7/8 cup canned pumpkin puree (1/2 can or 7.5 oz.)
2 T plain fat-free Greek yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1 T flour (I used white whole wheat flour, but regular white flour will work)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (contains cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, mace, and cloves)
pinch salt
whipped cream for serving if desired (I used a low-fat whipped-cream-in-a-can product that had 1 gram of fat, 1 gram of carbs, and less than 1 gram of sugar per serving)

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Put 12 foil baking cups into muffin tin and spray each baking cup well with non-stick spray.

Use a small hand mixer to cream together the softened cream cheese, Splenda, brown sugar, and agave nectar. Add eggs, one at a time, using a relatively low speed to blend the eggs into the mixture. (Don't beat the mixture at high speed after eggs have been added.)

Add canned pumpkin, yogurt or sour cream, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and gently combine with mixer. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to divide the batter among the 12 foil baking cups (I used slightly over 1/4 cup of batter in each foil cup.)

Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the cheesecakes look set and feel barely firm on top. (Don't be alarmed when they puff up a little and then sink down slightly as they cool.) Let cool 30 minutes, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Good served with a generous dollop of whipped cream on top.)

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
I find that using a combination of Splenda and sugar gives the best flavor in low-sugar baked goods, but of course this recipe would be even more South Beach Diet friendly and low-glycemic if you made it with all Splenda. However, even with the small amount of sugar and agave nectar I'm using, it's still a pretty low-sugar option for a holiday treat, especially if you only have one mini-cheesecake. Even with all Splenda, these cheesecakes couldn't be approved for phase 1 due to the pumpkin, but I'd consider them to be okay for a "once-in-a-while-treat" for phase 2 or 3.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Pumpkin Cheesecake Ideas You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Low-Sugar Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie from Kalyn's Kitchen
Sugar-Free Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake from Kalyn's Kitchen
Reduced Sugar Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake from Kalyn's Kitchen
Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen
Double-Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Gluten-Free Sugar-Free Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes from Pinch My Salt
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Yum!!! This looks delicious! I've been dying to try pumpkin cheesecake lately =)


  2. Couldn't it still be gluten free if you used a gluten free flour mix and a pinch of xanthan gum?

  3. Kalyn
    Love the portion control of the mini muffin size.

    I made a light version of pumpkin cheesecake parfaits which turned out fantastic also.

  4. Calophi, I think that would work but I can't say for sure since I'm not that experienced with gluten free baking. Would love to hear back from you if you try it.

    Susie, sounds good!

  5. This sounds delicous! Definitely making it for my cheesecake addicted husband. If i do not have the nectar stuff how much more sugar would i add to make it sweet enough?

  6. These look wonderful, Kalyn! Glad you got your power back, these made it worth the wait.

  7. Mommy of Three, it would be best to replace the Agave Nectar with an equal amount of honey if you're not trying to keep it low-glycemic, since Agave is about the consistency of honey. I'm guessing just using 2T more sugar would also work, but haven't tried it with that substitution.

    Thanks Christine! Yes I am VERY glad to have my power back!

  8. I love mini desserts. These are perfect for Thanksgiving.

  9. I was so excited to find your website. I was looking for low carb recipes and this showed up. I am new to this GI business and it helps to know you can survive. :)

  10. Maria, the mini ones are great for portion control (or if you have a lot of choices to sample!)

    AL, oh yes, you can do much more than survive. Good luck.

  11. wonderful! thank you, i will try the honey. With three kids that is definitely something i have in my house. =)

  12. These were definitely worth the wait! One of my Thanksgiving guests is a cheesecake fanatic, and I think he'll love these minis.

  13. Lydia, they were really good! I think I'll have to make a few more so I have some left for Thanksgiving.

  14. Im all for portion control - and these look great! Im so glad you were able to get them posted by Thanksgiving!

    I think the gluten free option would work quite well - and may not even need the xanthan gum since the eggs and dairy will bind it.

  15. Mini anything is the greatest way to go with protion control. Its also easier to serve and looks great.
    I'm bookmarking this cheesecake to try out soon.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Kalyn.

  16. I saw all your tweets about the power being out! yikes. Hope things are back to normal. (Whatever that is.) Love these portion-sized pumpkin cheesecakes! I'll be making a triple layer cake for the big day. Portion control is a mere dream. Oy.

  17. These look delicious! I'm a converted fan to both pumpkin pie and cheesecake, so this would definitely be stretching my boundaries!

  18. Georgie, I hope someone tries the gluten free variety and reports back. I'm guessing you're right that it will work without the xanthum gum.

    Aparna, thanks! I think Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday.

    Joanne, it was pretty awful! My power was out for about 18 hours. Luckily I was at my sister's house most of that time.

    Mimi, the pumpkin flavor isn't super strong; bet you would like it!

  19. These do sound amazing Kalyn. I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgviving. Ther is so much to be thankful for.

  20. Val, that is so true, everyone who is affluent enough to use the internet has so much to be thanksful for. I know your Thanksgiving is over, but happy holidays to you!

  21. Why would anyone go anywhere else for low-sugar goodness? You are an inspiration - Have a most wonderful holiday!


  22. I love the idea of mini-cheesecakes. A whole slice of cheesecake is usually way too rich for me. This sounds perfect! Happy Thanksgiving, Kalyn!

  23. I love pumpkin, Kalyn, and you have so many neat cheesecakes to explore. I think it's great that you give everyone yummy options for the holiday - it's such a great service.

    Wishing you a fabulous Thanksgiving...I'm sure that everyone dining at your table will be thrilled with your offerings.


  24. Donna, Karina, and Amy, thanks for the holiday wishes and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

  25. Kalyn,

    These look amazing! Have a lovely Thanksgiving :-)

    xo Elana

  26. Can not say enough marvelous things about these mini pumpkin cheesecakes! Made them for Thanksgiving so that my hypoglycemic husband (and son probably has it, too) could actually have dessert this Thanksgiving. It has been at least 10 years since he has had any pumpkin-related dessert on Thanksgiving. You should have seen his face when he took the first bite. Pure joy. :) Thank you, Kalyn!!!

  27. Sarah, that really makes me smile! So glad they liked the cheesecake.

  28. Hey Kalyn! Just reporting a broken link on this page. The "printer friendly version" doesn't seem to be working.

    Can't wait to make this for Thanksgiving!

  29. Jamie just fixed the link. THANK YOU so much for letting me know. I hate it when I do things like that!


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