This fall create beautiful Cheesecake Leaves and Pumpkins to celebrate the season. Each individually sized dessert is colorfully decorated using brilliant autumn colors.
How much do you love the colors of fall leaves? Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the vibrant hues on the trees at this time of year.
This year, I was inspired to create these pretty cheesecake leaves and pumpkins to serve at our Thanksgiving dinner.
I've made decorated cheesecakes using colored cheesecake batter before and knew I could swirl colors together to make pretty fall leaves. The process is pretty easy and the results are impressive.
Your family will be amazed when you serve these for dessert.
- cream cheese - Use full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor and texture. Be sure to set it out on the counter several hours before you plan to make your cheesecakes. You want it to be very soft so it beats up into a creamy filling without lumps.
- sugar - Granulated sugar will add sweetness to your cheesecakes.
- heavy whipping cream - I typically use sour cream to make my favorite cheesecake but this filling needs to be a bit thinner so cream works best.
- eggs - Set your eggs on the counter with the cream cheese. It's best to use room-temperature eggs. Cold eggs will cause the cream cheese to firm up and form lumps.
- vanilla - I like to use pure vanilla extract.
- food coloring - You'll want red, yellow, and orange. You could also use green or brown too.
food processor or a mixing spoon
2 or 3 Wilton leaf and pumpkin silicone molds (you'll get 8 cheesecakes, so if you want all leaves you'll need 3 molds, otherwise you can make a few pumpkins)
UPDATE: This Wilton Mold has been discontinued, but you can get a similar mold on Amazon.com. I earn a small commission when you make a purchase using the links below at no extra cost to you.
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:
- Beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth.
- Add sugar and beat until creamy.
- Add whipping cream, eggs, and vanilla, and mix just until combined.
- DO NOT overmix the ingredients. You don't want a lot of air bubbles in this cheesecake batter.
- Divide the 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, you can add one small drop of green food coloring.
- In a bowl, pour in about a ¼ 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 color 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?
Note: I made this cheesecake filling using sour cream and it was very thick. I've adjusted the recipe to use heavy whipping cream which is thinner. I've used this recipe to make Tie-Dye Cheesecake Easter Eggs too. It tastes great!
- 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 excess cheesecake filling, mix what you have remaining. 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 freeze 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, 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 made the cheesecake filling thinner.
I also intensified the colors a bit, shortened the baking time, and 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 a 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.
- butter to coat the inside of your leaf mold
- 16 ounces cream cheese softened
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ 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
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Butter leaf molds.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, heavy whipping cream, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until smooth.
Divide cheesecake mixture into three or more bowls.
Color one bowl orange, red, and yellow.
Fill each leaf mold with a swirl of orange, red, and yellow filling.
Tap the mold several times to remove excess air bubbles after each scoop of cheesecake filling you add.
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 freeze for at least 3 hours.
Un-mold cheesecakes directly onto a serving dish.
Allow to defrost in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Store your cheesecake pumpkins and leaves in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.