Sunday, November 11, 2012

Festive Fall Cheesecake Leaves and Pumpkins in Brilliant Autumn Colors

The sound of leaves crunching under my feet is music to my ears. Every fall, I find myself purposefully walking through every pile of leaves I can find, as I did yesterday during a visit to Columbus, Ohio.

We drove to our state's capital to pick up some cases of chocolate yesterday, but took the opportunity to do some site seeing with our exchange student while we were there. I had no idea the waterfront in the city was so lovely. It was really wonderful to stroll along the river watching the rippling water flowing quickly past us while crunching through leaves that had fallen from nearby treas which were still ablaze with ruby red, pumpkin orange, and sunshine yellow leaves.

Inspired by the beauty that is all around me this fall, I created these festive fall leaf and pumpkin cheesecakes for Thanksgiving. They are nice individual sized desserts that will certainly dress up any table.

Festive Fall Cheesecake Leaves and Pumpkins in Brilliant Autumn Colors (makes 8 cheesecakes)


butter, to coat the inside of your leaf mold

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
red, yellow, green food coloring (orange, optional) - you can use natural food coloring, if you prefer

Special Supplies Needed:

food processor or a mixing spoon
baking sheets
2 or 3 Wilton leaf and pumpkin silicone mold (you'll get 8 cheesecakes, so if you want all leaves you'll need 3 molds, otherwise you can make a few pumpkins)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Butter your leaf molds. For stability, I always set my silicone molds on a baking sheet before filling them.

Make cheesecake filling:
Combine cream cheese, sugar, heavy whipping cream, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until smooth. Alternatively, mix cream cheese and sugar together until well blended. Add whipping cream, eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Note: You don't want a lot of air in this mixture, so I don't recommend using a hand mixer. 

Divide cheesecake mixture into three or more bowls, depending on how many colors you'd like in your leaves. Color each small amount with food coloring. To create orange, make yellow then add a bit of red coloring. To deepen the red color, add one small drop of green.

In a bowl, pour in about a 1/4 cup of two of your cheesecake colors side by side, leaving room for the third color. Add the third color.

NOTE: You do not want to swirl your colors in the bowl nor do you want to fill one big bowl with all of the colored fillings. They will get swirled as you pour them into the leaf mold. If you were to swirl them while they were in the bowl, by the time you made a few leaves the colored would look muddy.

Use a spoon to scoop out some of your cheesecake colors from the center of the bowl. See how each of the colors is still pretty separate?

As you spoon the filling into the silicone leaf molds, the colors will swirl.

Tap the mold several times to remove excess air bubbles after each scoop of cheesecake filling you add.

Fill the mold so that it isn't completely full, so there is room for the cheesecake leaves to expand while baking. I filled this one too full and ended up scooping some out.

You can see that I don't have a lot of cheesecake filling left in the bowl and that is good, as it gets swirled as the spoon goes in and out of the bowl and will start to blend all together. Top it off with your three cheesecake colors and repeat the process.

If you have two molds and want to make some pumpkins with your excess cheesecake filling, mix what you have remaining together. You should get an orange color. Adjust the color using food coloring if desired. Remove a teaspoonful and put in another bowl. Add a small drop of red and a small drop of green. Mix to get brown. Use a spoon to paint the brown cheesecake filling into the stem area of the pumpkin cavity. Pour the orange cheesecake filling into the pumpkin cavity.

You should have enough cheesecake filling to make 6 leaves and two pumpkins, or any combination, you choose.

Bake your cheesecakes for 20-24 minutes until the top forms a smooth film and the center is still giggly but not wet.

Allow your cheesecakes to cool for an hour then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Carefully turn the silicone mold upside down and set it over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a cutting board and gently tug at the mold pulling it away from the cheesecake, allowing the cheesecake leaf to fall out of the mold. You will want the cheesecakes cold in order to move them onto dessert plates, so do it now, or refrigerate the tray of cheesecakes and plate them later.

NOTE: I made these leaf and pumpkin shaped cheesecakes twice while developing this project. The picture above was my first batch of cheesecake leaves and pumpkins. I wasn't happy with all of the air bubbles and the texture of the cheesecakes were a bit dry, but I had taken all of my step-by-step pictures during this process, so I wanted you to see the first batch.

When I made the second batch, I added whipping cream to the recipe, which really made them much creamier, I intensified the colors a bit, I shortened the baking time, and I really tapped my molds to remove all the air bubbles.

They are ready to serve, but can be kept in the refrigerator for several days. Place them in an airtight container. To keep moisture from forming on your cheesecakes you can use this trick - place a piece of paper towel over the opening of your container and set the lid on top. Seal the container leaving paper towel showing all around the outside edge. Don't lay the paper towel directly on the cheesecakes.

Allow cheesecakes to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

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- Beth

Products used to create this project that are available on (commission earned for sales)


  1. Those look delicious but have you ever tried using some kind of food coloring that wasn't artificial? Have any tips?

    1. Oh, thanks for reminding me. I meant to add a comment about that in the post. Yes, there are natural food coloring you can use instead. They are pricey, but do a good job at coloring food naturally.

  2. What wonderful little cheesecakes - I just love the swirl, just perfect!

  3. I gotta get me some silicone molds! I love how easy this is!

  4. This is brilliant!! I love these :) They look beautiful!

  5. Colorful cute cheesecakes ... simply wonderful!

  6. Brilliant is right. I love how you blended the colors. Thanks for linking up to Pin Me! I've pinned it!

  7. So cute, Beth. The little pumpkins are my favorite!

  8. How pretty! I am pinning these right now. I hope that you will share them at my holiday cookie exchange: I am so glad to have seen these at Crazy for Crust. Have a great week!

    1. I'd love to join in your link party, but I feel strange adding these as they aren't cookies!

  9. Oh, I love these! Very festive and the colors are awesome. The cheesecake recipe look super simple too! I would love for you to stop and link this up at Whimsically Homemade's Mixer Monday!

  10. Wow, these are gorgeous! They look like something I could actually make, too. I love how easily they seem to pop out of the silicone molds.

  11. I love this idea so much! I think I will make them next week when my family is in town for thanksgiving. My question is about adding a crust.. Do you think that you could add some sort of crumbled graham cracker crust to the tops of the molds after they are filled (so that when you flip them out, the crust is on the bottom?) I just can't decide if things would cook evenly if that happened. I may try doing it though when I make mine and I will let you know how it goes!

    1. Hi Emma,

      I thought about adding a crust, but worried that the crumbs would just sink into the cheesecake. I even toyed with the idea of baking cookies that would be cut into the leaf shape and setting them on the top in order to form a crust. In the end, I just opted for no crust at all, but I do love a crust on my cheesecake. I would love to hear if adding a crust works for you, so please let me know!

  12. These are simply amazing!!
    They look super difficult to make but actually it's quite easy
    Fabulous !

  13. This is one of the most beautiful ideas I've seen in a while!
    I would love to have you share this, or any other recipe of your at Wednesday Extravaganza - my Foodie Link Party with the chance to get a lifetime feature on my Wall of Fame. Here is the link:

    Can't wait to see you there!

  14. These look amazing!!! I love how the colors mix together so beautifully. Would love for you to link up with our Foodie Friends Friday linky party tomorrow night! I'm your latest follower!

  15. Those are so cute! I love the leaf time of year - but my husband hates it for all the raking, lol!

    1. Our last house had lots of trees and we spent days raking, so I can sympathize with your hubby. We only have one small tree now, so I can totally enjoy the leaves of fall with no work at all!

  16. cheesecake???? Yum, and yes, please! I came over from ginger snap crafts to invite you to join my month long Thanksgiving link party. It will be open for one more week, with fabulous features on Thanksgiving day! I would love for you to join us!

  17. These are amazing. I pinned and tweeted this so I can find it again later...also too good not to share!

  18. What a *fantastic* idea! With different molds and colors there's unlimited potential. A perfect treat for any event, thank you for the awesome ideas!

  19. These look great! Please come by and post on our blog party! Thank you! Please help spread the word!

    Warmest Regards,

  20. I just featured your delicious recipe in my Thanksgiving round up post Beth! Thank you so much for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  21. These look so delicious. I'll be pinning them for later!

  22. Featuring tonight Beth! Thanks for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  23. These are almost too cute to eat! I love them! They really capture the essence of fall. Plus I love cheesecakes so this would be the perfect fall dessert project for me! I'm visiting from Moonlight and Mason Jars (my link ups were #10 and 12)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Carrie. Fall is my favorite time of year and I love creating desserts using the red, orange, and yellow hues of autumn.

  24. Wow! These cheesecakes are gorgeous!! Very clever idea, i love it!

  25. i've been searching for hours to find a recipe for these molds! i bought the molds at salvation army for just .10 cents each!!

    1. Wow, what a bargain! I've also made a savory recipe using the molds too -

      Have fun.

  26. I made this last year for Thanksgiving and my family loved it! I'm making it again this year. The recipe was super easy to follow - the pictures really helped! I found the mold on amazon last November, but can't remember how much I got it for.

    1. I'm so happy to hear you made these and they were a hit with your family. It's one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Have a wonderful holiday season.


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