Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Mini pumpkin cheesecake swirls #Thanksgiving #desserts

By Mary Jane Maffini

Many people are having much smaller Thanksgiving celebrations this year, or at least different from usual. That was certainly true for this Canadians family for our October get together.  I adapted this recipe from our traditional pumpkin swirl cheesecake, a dessert with many fans. Converting the cake to small cupcakes gives a lot of flexibility. We were able give some of the cupcakes to friends and neighbors, even though we couldn’t share a meal with them.
  But even if you don’t need flexibility, these little cupcakes are delicious! Two added bonuses: no forks to wash and, if you have a dog, see the end for the dog ‘treat’.

This recipe makes 36 ‘short’ cupcakes or 24 thicker ones. They’re quite rich, so we were happy with the shorter ones.  If you want only a dozen or eighteen, you could easier cut the recipe in half.  Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving week. I hope you have much to be thankful for. 


2 cups finely crushed ginger snaps  (I used a food processor)

1/2 cup finely crushed pecans (food processor here too!)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

3  8 oz packages Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup sugar, divided

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 eggs (room temperature, lightly beaten)

1 ¼ cup canned pumpkin (or cooked mashed pumpkin) Most recipes say 1 cup, but I like the texture better with 1 ¼ and it's not quite as sweet. Whatever suits you.

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

Plus liners for 3 muffin tins (12 each) 


Preheat your oven to 325°F   

Mix cookie crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of lined muffin tin, to make crust. Oh dear, the dog appears to have eaten this photo. The crust can be quite thick. This recipe makes three dozen cupcakes. But you could make do with two and thicker cupcakes. 

Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. 

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each just until blended. 

Remove 1 cup plain batter.  

Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter using a large spoon. Yes, I realize that looks pretty messy. 

Do not overbeat or it will be too runny.  That’s the voice of experience. 

Spoon the pumpkin batter into the muffin tins.

Top each one with ¾ tsp of the plain batter. 

 I used a wooden skewer to swirl the marble pattern.  It’s easier to get a beautiful pattern with a full cake, but I thought these were pretty anyway


Bake at 325 for 18 – 20 minutes or until centers are almost set.

Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours and transfer to a suitably festive plate, large or small!

Here’s that dog bonus:


Do you hate having leftover canned pumpkin?  I am happy to announce that our vet tells us that frozen cubes of pumpkin are fantastic snacks for your dogs (thaw first).  The dogs agree. What do you like to do with leftover pumpkin? All suggestions welcome so please drop in with all and any bits of wisdom.  



Mary Jane Maffini is the award-winning author of three and a half mystery series: the Camilla Maffini mysteries, the Fiona Silk capers and the Charlotte Adams mysteries – number six coming soon!  The Charlotte Adams books have recently been optioned for television films. Details to come when they can be made public. With her daughter Victoria Maffini, MJ collaborated on The Book Collector Mysteries as Victoria Abbott. Victoria Abbott spent several happy years on Mystery Lovers Kitchen. MJ  is very glad to be back and Victoria is waving at you all!

Don't forget to check out MJ's Canadian books:  Camilla MacPhee features a fortyish widowed lawyer who runs an advocacy agency for victims of violent crime, in Ottawa, Canada's capital city. Life would be easier if she didn't have the world's worst office assistant, the world's bossiest sisters and, arguably, the world's greatest stubborn streak. If you like your mysteries a bit edgy with a side order of humor, these could be for you.  

Keep up on the news!  You can sign up for updates about MJ and Victoria plus fun and prizes through our newsletter HERE 



  1. Perfect little niblets!
    I'm going to be sure to get this to my sister and niece.

    1. Thanks, Libby! I hope you all have an excellent Thanksgiving. Hugs. MJ

    2. These look delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Thank you for the recipe AND the picture of your dachshunds! I'm a doxie mom too, and mine love pumpkin and sweet potatoes. I have one that eats apples.