Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake

When my best friend's mom called yesterday with a question about pumpkin cheesecake, she knew what she was doing. I used to be a cheesecake maker of the highest order. Not necessarily the best looking cakes you've ever seen... But I baked cheesecake after cheesecake with a level of enthusiasm that could have been mistaken for obsession. Thankfully, that phase in my life passed a long time ago. However, I still have a soft spot for a really good cheesecake and I LOVE anything pumpkin.  

Margaret remembered a layered cheesecake she had made years ago that had a layer of the cheesecake batter and a pumpkin layer, flavoured with ground cardamom. She wondered if I would have any ideas on how to recreate this dessert for Thanksgiving this weekend. We discussed the finer points of the dessert and here is my rendition. It is delicious and I think your family is going to love this, Margaret! Call anytime.

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
Serves 12

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 Tbsp granulated sugar

Cheesecake filling:
3/4 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

Pumpkin Filling:
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Set aside until needed.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Press the crumbs evenly into the prepared pan. Set aside.
Beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and continue beating until very smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the vanilla and the sour cream and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture over the crumb crust and set aside.
Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cardamom in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs. Add the pumpkin, making sure the mixture is well blended. Stir in the coconut milk.
Gently spoon the pumpkin mixture over the cream cheese mixture, trying not to mix the two layers. Cover all of the cheese mixture with the pumpkin and bake for 1 hour in the oven. If the cake is still wet in the middle, leave it in for another 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and crack the oven door. Leave the cheesecake in the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the cake and serve cold or at room temperature.

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