This eggnog cheesecake is the ideal holiday dessert. It's loaded with bourbon and set atop a crunchy gingersnap cookie crust. Real eggnog in the cheesecake batter gives that wonderfully creamy texture with hints of nutmeg to really remind you it is the holidays. Dress her up with some sugared cranberries and rosemary and you've got a showstopping, decadent that dessert that deserves front and center on your holiday dessert buffet.
Getting that eggnog flavor into your cheesecake
I really wanted the eggnog flavor to shine in this eggnog cheesecake but when you add too much liquid to a cheesecake you could end up with cheesecake soup instead. There is ¾ cup of eggnog (use the full fat kind-no low fat versions in this holiday dessert please and thank you!) in the recipe.
This amount adds to the creaminess of the cheesecake without overwhelming it with liquid. There is also a healthy ¼ cup pour of bourbon. Because of this extra liquid, I added a few tablespoons of flour to the batter to help it hold its shape.
Also because of the runnier batter, the cheesecake will need to bake longer than typical. Mine was perfect at about 1 hour and 30 minutes but keep reading to see how to know if it is done as all ovens are different.
To also amp up that eggnog flavor, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg was added to the cheesecake batter and you can really taste the spice in the finished product. It tastes like everything that you love about eggnog, slightly spicy with a hint of bourbon and extra creamy.
Substitutes for the bourbon
Bourbon is my favorite liquor so it was a no-brainer to pair it with the eggnog. Eggnog is traditionally made with rum or bourbon/whiskey.
If you prefer to use a different alcohol, just sub the same amount of bourbon with whatever you desire. Rum would be delicious.
If you prefer not to include alcohol in the eggnog cheesecake, simply substitute the bourbon for an additional ¼ cup of eggnog.
Tips for a perfect cheesecake
- Room Temperature Ingredients: This is so important! Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature before mixing it. If it is still cold, you will likely have little lumps of cream cheese throughout your cheesecake filling and will incorporate too much air trying to beat it. You also want your eggs to be room temperature before adding them as well.
- Slow Cooling: To cool your cheesecake properly, when it is done cooking, turn the oven off and crack the door open. Let it cool for 1 hour in the water bath in the turned-off oven. Then, remove it and let it cool for another hour on the counter before placing it into the fridge to finish chilling for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. This will prevent it from cooling too quickly and cracking.
- When removing the cheesecake from the outer ring of the springform pan, you may want to run a sharp knife around the edge to make sure it won't stick to the edge.
- Redeeming Cracks: If worse comes to worst and your cheesecake still cracks, remember that the taste should be the same so just cover it with whipped cream and no one will know the difference!
Preventing cracks in your cheesecake
One of the more intimidating things about cheesecake is that they have a tendency to crack on top. While the flavor is still the same, unless you have a topping to put over the cake, that crack can be unsightly.
The best way to make sure you don’t have a cracked cheesecake is to cook it in a water bath. Cracks appear in cheesecakes due to it cooking too fast or cooling too fast.
A water bath will add more moisture to the oven while cooking and allows more even heat to cook the cheesecake. They are simple to do and I highly recommend cooking this cheesecake using the water bath method.
You simply take 2 pieces of heavy-duty foil and place your springform pan on top of them. Carefully wrap the foil around the pan until it is about ¾ up the side of the pan. Fold it down as necessary to fit.
Make sure there are no holes in the foil to allow water to seep through and get the cheesecake wet! If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, I would recommend using 3 layers of regular foil.
For an extra layer of insurance, you can wrap an oven-safe bag over the foil to make sure water won't seep in. I don't do this step and haven't had an issue but it can happen.
Place your foil-wrapped cheesecake pan in a larger roasting pan in the oven. You’ll pour hot water into the roasting pan until it’s halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Be careful to not get it past the foil surrounding the pan. Pour the water into the pan after putting it in the oven so you don’t slosh it around while moving it.
How to tell when it's done
Knowing when to take a cheesecake out of the oven can be intimidating. You just spent all of that time and money on this glorious cheesecake only to cut into a soupy mess. No one wants that!
Because of the extra liquid in this cheesecake from the eggnog and bourbon, it will bake longer than other cheesecakes. Mine was perfect at one hour and 30 minutes.
Begin checking the cheesecake for doneness around an hour and 10 minutes. When you give the cheesecake pan a slight jiggle, you should see the edges of the cheesecake are set and don't move. The middle part of the cheesecake should slightly jiggle but should not move like it is still liquid.
The cheesecake will keep firming up while left in the oven to cool down after baking. It will firm up completely after being refrigerated for at least 4 hours or for best results overnight.
How to serve the cheesecake
To serve the eggnog cheesecake like I did on a cake platter or other serving dish, the trick is to line the bottom of the springform pan with a layer of parchment paper.
Unlock the springform pan ring from the base and lay a piece of parchment paper on top of the base. Place the ring over the paper and the base and then lock it into place. You'll have excess parchment paper hanging out the sides of the pan like the picture above. As a bonus, this serves as another layer of protection from that water bath.
After the cheesecake cools completely, run a knife around the inside edge of the ring to loosen the crust. Undo the ring and slide the cheesecake out on the base.
Carefully remove the base from the parchment paper while sliding your hand under the cheesecake. Use a sharp knife to loosen the cheesecake from the parchment paper and little by little slide it off the parchment paper onto whatever you will serve it on.
If you don't mind the base being on top of whatever you serve it on, then just simply skip the parchment paper and serve it on top of the springform base!
I like to pile the whipped cream in the middle of the cheesecake and then grate some fresh nutmeg over top. You could also get real fancy and pipe the whipped cream onto the cheesecake in whatever design you desire. Serve the remaining whipped cream on the side for people who want more (me!).
How to make sugared cranberries and rosemary
If you'd like to get real festive and decorate it like I did in the pictures, here's the directions for making the sugared cranberries and rosemary:
- Combine ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar in a saucepan on medium and stir until the sugar is dissolved completely and then remove from the heat.
- In batches, place the cranberries and rosemary in the saucepan and roll them around to coat all sides in the simple syrup. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the syrup and transfer them to a parchment lined baking tray.
- Allow them to cool for about an hour. I removed some of the cranberries at this step so I would have a mixture of sugared cranberries and bright vibrant ones just coated with the simple syrup.
- Sprinkle the rosemary and cranberries with about ½ cup sugar and toss them all the evenly coat them in the sugar. Decorate as desired!
How long does the cheesecake last?
This cheesecake can be placed in the refrigerator for 3-4 days tightly wrapped.
Can the cheesecake be frozen?
You can make the entire cheesecake and then freeze it if you need to plan ahead. Cool the eggnog cheesecake completely then remove it from the springform pan. Place it on a round cardboard circle or a heavy-duty plastic plate.
Freeze the cheesecake for about an hour uncovered. It needs to be cold enough to wrap tightly without squishing it. After an hour or so, remove the cheesecake and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. It should last for about 1 to 2 months like this.
To thaw it out, place the cheesecake into the refrigerator the night before you will need to serve it. You can also slice the cake prior to freezing it and freeze individual slices of cheesecake, wrapped in the same way as a whole one.
For more cheesecake recipes, check out:
- Mango Cheesecake with a Coconut Graham Crust
- Raspberry Cheesecake with a Brownie Crust
- Frozen Strawberry Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust
- Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
Tag me on Instagram @themarblekitchenblog if you make this and leave a star rating and comment below! Thanks and enjoy!
- 10 oz gingersnap cookies crushed into fine crumbs (about 2 ½ cups)
- ¼ cup brown sugar packed
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 8 oz blocks of cream cheese full fat and softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup eggnog
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Crush the gingersnap cookies using a food processor or place in a zip top bag and crush them using a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.
- Add the brown sugar, melted butter, and salt to the food processor (or bag the cookies were crushed in) and pulse to combine.
- If you would prefer to serve the cheesecake off the springform pan base, line the base with a piece of parchment paper and then lock the ring around the base. If you’ll serve off the base directly, then skip this step. (See post for more details).
- Pour the crumbs into a 9 inch springform pan and press into the bottom of the pan and 2 inches up the side using your fingers or the bottom of a glass to press it down tightly.
- Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes until it starts to get fragrant. Cool on a wire rack.
- Prepare the springform pan for a water bath. Once the crust has cooled, wrap the springform pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil wrapping and folding the edges at least ¾ up the sides of the pan. For an extra barrier, if desired, place an oven bag around the foil and tie it around the foil to secure it.
- Combine the softened cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer) and mix on medium until smooth, about 2-3 minutes scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.
- Add the eggnog, bourbon, and vanilla and mix well.
- Add the flour, nutmeg and salt and mix until combined, about 10 seconds.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the crust. If you have too much batter or your crust wasn’t pushed up the sides far enough, only fill until the batter is at the top of the crust. Either discard the additional batter or make individual cheesecakes using paper cups in a muffin tin and baking for about 25-30 minutes or until they are almost set in the middle.
- Place the springform pan into a roasting pan and place in the oven. Carefully pour very hot water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the springform pan being careful not to get any water between the pan and the foil.
- Bake the cheesecake at 325 degrees 80 to 90 minutes. The cheesecake is done when the middle is still slightly jiggly but the edges are fully set.
- Turn the oven off and slightly prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon if it won’t stay open on its own. Allow to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- Carefully remove the roasting pan from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water. Remove the foil. Cool for another hour on a wire rack.
- Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator, covering the top with foil or plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Combine the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low gradually increasing to medium high until stiff peaks form. Alternatively, use a hand mixer and medium bowl.
- Decorate the top of the cooled cheesecake with the whipped cream and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg if desired.
- To decorate with sugared cranberries and rosemary like in the pictures, see the post above for directions.
- The cheesecake will last for 3-4 days covered in the refrigerator.