What Is Ginger Cheesecake?

Cynde Gregory

Some folks prefer the cakey New York-style cheesecake, while others hanker for a good old-fashioned piece with a sour cream topping. Either way, cheesecake is a favorite dessert wherever it is served. Ginger adds a little zing, sometimes alone and sometimes with other ingredients such as pumpkin, ginger, or pear. Ginger cheesecake can even be made as a delicious a no-bake dessert.

A bowl of sour cream, which is used in making ginger cheesecake.
A bowl of sour cream, which is used in making ginger cheesecake.

Folks who find cheesecake a bit too gooey or cloyingly sweet should sink their teeth into a piece of ginger cheesecake. The ginger is crisp and bright enough to help cut through all that sweetness and balance it a bit. Ginger and lemon, constant companions in many types of recipes, are a particularly awesome team in a cheesecake. Their citrusy bright flavors mingle into a single, complex note.

Ginger can be used alone or in combination for a ginger cheesecake.
Ginger can be used alone or in combination for a ginger cheesecake.

Traditional cheesecakes are silky, rich, and delicious. They should be, given the ingredients. Eggs, butter, and cream cheese are on the grocery list together with sour cream. Most cheesecakes arrive table-side tucked into a crushed and buttery graham-cracker crust.

Ginger cheesecake, however, is usually found wearing a snug crust make of crushed gingersnap cookies. The crust echoes and enhances the minced ginger in the creamy body of the cake. The result is a cake that is sweet and somehow just a little bit hot.

Pumpkin is another good choice for a ginger cheesecake. Pumpkin puree, a little nutmeg, some cinnamon, and of course, the ginger change the taste up perfectly. This version is generally lighter and offers the added bonus of fiber as well as other good-for-yous.

For cooks who are watching someone’s waistline or concerned with all the fat, cholesterol, and calories in traditional variety, a number of substitutions can be made to lighten up the ginger cheesecake. Using thickened Greek yogurt cheese in place of sour cream is one option. Ricotta or low-fat cream cheese is also a help. Egg substitutes keep the cake light without adding too much of the bad stuff.

An easier, healthier ginger cheesecake is the icebox no-bake version. This one calls for gelatin; flavors that go especially nicely with the ginger include lemon and orange. The cream cheese and eggs are booted in favor of dry cottage or farmer’s cheese plus sugar. After hot water has liquefied the gelatin and the other things are added, all that’s left is to pour the batter into the ginger cookie crust and slip it into the fridge to set.

Eggs and cottage cheese are common ingredients in ginger cheesecake.
Eggs and cottage cheese are common ingredients in ginger cheesecake.

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