No bake pumpkin cheesecake mousse

date10.07.14

Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

This no bake pumpkin cheesecake mousse is a recipe for those of us in California wishing we could start celebrating fall desserts, but rejecting the oven in this wicked hot late summer. It’s what you whip up when your air-conditioner-less house is already 80°F in the coolest hallway when you get out of bed at 9am on Saturday morning in October. This pumpkin dessert will still satisfy all your fall cravings with way less effort (and heat) than baking a pie with a fussy crust.

Pumpkin Mousse

Full disclosure: I knew it was a terrible idea to turn the oven on when I woke up in a sweat, but the several cans of pumpkin purée on my counter beckoned to the season-loving girl in me and I cranked it up to 350°F anyway.

We’d just gotten back from a long weekend visiting my old neighborhood in Philadelphia where the tips of the leaves were just beginning to turn amber in preparation for their impending descent. The sun was still out, but the air had a subtle musty East Coast autumn smell as soon as we stepped off the train. Our day-trip out to the countryside brought back memories of the picturesque fall drive along the Schuylkill River on our way to Pottstown for Thanksgiving my first year in Philadelphia (for non-Philadelphians, that’s pronounced “Skoogle River” … some things still baffle me).

With a rush of fall over me, I craved pumpkin in the most feverish way. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin mac and cheese, pumpkin caramels.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

So despite my best judgement, I turned on the oven for a full-on fall treat bake-a-thon. And then (mostly) regretted the decision the moment the kitchen hit a muggy 90°F with no escape except standing in front of the fridge sipping iced tea. A snapshot on my Instagram feed showed a layer of “first snow” somewhere in Alaska.

Over here in California, Lucas and I argued over whether the neighbors could see me shooting pictures of pumpkin cheesecake mousse in my underwear through our sheer curtains (for the record: no, they cannot). Way too hot for clothes inside.

Probably Definitely my own fault.

No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

The weather says summer, but my taste buds want fall. Plus I promised after my meyer lemon love affair, I’d welcome pumpkin with welcome arms. So here we are with a few indulgent servings of chilled no bake pumpkin cheesecake mousse. This recipe is so simple that you can whip it together in about five minutes flat. On the road to making healthy pumpkin muffins (recipe coming soon), I found myself with 6 ounces of leftover cream cheese and half a can of pumpkin purée that I couldn’t very well let go to waste. So badda bing badda boom: no bake pumpkin cheesecake mousse.

Each spoonful is light and airy with a spiced pumpkin pie flavor throughout and a tang of cream cheese. Then we dropped a cloud of cinnamon whipped cream on top for good measure – the way pumpkin pie was meant to be eaten. The kind of nostalgic dessert that helps you pretend the melting heat is really just a warm autumn fireplace.

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

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No bake pumpkin cheesecake mousse
Author: 
Yields: 4-6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Optional: ½ cup crushed up ginger snaps to line the bottom of the cups (but only if serving the same day, or they'll get soggy).
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the whipped cream on high speed until it begins to froth, a couple of minutes.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until soft peaks form. Transfer the whipped cream to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of the stand mixer (no need to clean it), add the cream cheese and beat on medium speed until smooth.
  4. Add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves and mix until well combined, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  5. Fold in all but one cup of the whipped cream and mix until completely smooth.
  6. Using a piping bag fitted with a large tip*, pipe the mousse into 4-6 small ramekins.
  7. Optional: Line the bottom of the ramekins with crushed gingersnaps.
  8. Pipe a dollop of the reserved whipped cream on top of each ramekin and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  9. Chill for at least an hour before serving. Keep any leftovers chilled for up to two days.
Notes
*If you don't have a piping bag and pastry tips, you can also cut the corner off of a gallon-sized Ziploc bag or just scoop the pumpkin cheesecake mousse into the dessert cups.

You might also like this No Bake Caramel Cheesecake Mousse with Candied Walnuts:

No Bake Caramel Cheesecake

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84 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, I’m so glad I’m not the only one assuming that my neighbors aren’t that nosy. It’s totally normal to shoot mousse in your underwear. <<–I hope that ends up on my tombstone.

    This no bake sounds perfect! since I had to turn on the AC today…again. California, what is going on??

  2. Tyler says:

    I had the pleasure of eating one and it was delicious!

  3. Hi Sarah!
    I’m so glad I discovered your blog!! It’s so funny that you say that about living in CA and not wanting to turn on the oven!! My brother’s family and my husband’s family are in Los Angeles and they tell us everyday how hot is it there .. so I’m thinking of no bake treats for them like all the time. :P We are now in Wisconsin so we’re in the 50s now. . LOVE this bake-pumpkin-cheesecake-mousse!! This is perfection!! Pinned!

    • Oh my! I’m a bit jealous of your already-chilly fall (but on the other hand, I’m also excited about FINALLY getting to wear shorts and tank tops)! LA is even hotter than here – definitely don’t envy them right now;) Thank you so much, Alice!

  4. Allison says:

    I’m very happy to see some pumpkin on here! And everyone knows that pumpkin and cream cheese are BFFs. This looks just so incredible I want to grab a spoon and dive in! I really like the simplicity of this dessert and it just happens to be Canadian thanksgiving this weekend AND I’m looking to add a couple of pumpkin desserts to the spread :) Love this idea!!!

    • The very best of friends, right?! Oh my goodness – what good timing! I hope you make and love this pumpkin mousse! I’m definitely adding it to our Thanksgiving spread because it’s so easy to make that I can just whip it up and then get to work on all the rest of the time-sucker side dishes:) Either way – HAPPY CANADIAN THANKSGIVING!

  5. Sarah, you nailed this recipe! I am drooling all over my computer!

  6. Wow! This looks fantastic. I am craving a serving right now. Pinned!

  7. I totally used to live in Pottstown when I was in second grade! They really get the perfect mix of seasons in PA. Much better than the abrupt cold of WI. Anyway, I love no bake cheesecakes :) They’re so much easier than regular cheesecake and the pumpkin is perfect for this time of year. I hope you get the cold weather you’re craving soon!

    • What a coincidence! You’ve got that right – that’s one of many things I miss about Philadelphia. Thank you so much, Melissa – I’m totally all about less effort desserts. The quicker I get to eat them, the better;)

  8. I am so sorry to hear that it is still so hot there…hopefully a cool spell will come through very soon for you! I love that you created these awesome no bake cheesecake cups and that you shoot photos in your undies! Too funny and good that the neighbors can’t see :-)

    • Ha – it was so hot that I probably wouldn’t have cared if the neighbors could see (it really was my husband who was super concerned when he walked in and saw me!). Thanks for the wished for cooler weather!

  9. Sarah, this looks so good and easy to make. Bookmarked it! At least it’s slightly cooling down. I’m horrible though, it seems like I always turn on the oven when it’s hot — Nick thinks I’m crazy. But I just crave baked goods when it’s hot! This one is a great alternative though ;)

    • Haha – we should leave all the boys/men to hang out in one cool house while we turn another house into a sauna on those hot days. I was just thinking as I posted this that it would be so cute in mason jars with little labels like the ones you made for the s’mores jars but for a Thanksgiving spread.

  10. It has been SO hot, and it’s not fun when you don’t have an air conditioner. Luckily, we have a little fan to move the air around in our tiny apartment, but this weekend wasn’t pretty inside. I love fall desserts so much, and anything pumpkin is a welcome treat in my book. Good job!

    • I hear you – my husband and cats quarantined themselves to the east end of the house with the fan pulling in as much air as possible through the sliding glass door while I kept sweating in the kitchen. Thank you so much, Ashley!

  11. Bahahahaha oh dear….tmi from me, but I can relate to the underwear state of shooting pictures. EeekS! But I never told you that, okay?

    And these are so so so adorable!!!! I just want to grab them all and show them off in a bakery display. :D I’m surprised that I’m not all pumpkin crazy (yet), since pre-Selah I was eating it pretty much throughout the year. Also, that musty East Coast fragrance sounds so nice right now. Going there for the Fall is one of my “dreams”. ;)

    • Haha I will tell no one (except everyone who reads this – WRITE THAT DOWN FOLKS!;).

      Thank you so much, Ellie! I have faith that the pumpkin craving will come over you soon – maybe it’ll take the first rain? Also, I 100% recommend visiting the East Coast in the fall – I grew up with trees that changed colors, but they hardly compare to the trees in Philadelphia.

  12. I have a friend who lives in Cali who has been saying how hot is is there. Are you going to hate me if I say I’m jealous??? I love hot weather and I miss it already. I love this mousse – so perfect for fall!! Gorgeous photos, too.

  13. I’m so glad I have a can of pumpkin puree in the pantry right now, b/c I’m definitely making this PRONTO. Also, w.r.t. underwear photo-shooting…I definitely hopped out of the shower last week and started shooting right by our balcony window in my birthday suit b/c the light was so perfect. We have no shades/blinds/curtains. I’m convinced we live too high up to be seen by our neighbors though, so it should be OK….

  14. Very nice photography! How do you do it?! :)

  15. I would totally shoot pics in my underwear if it were too hot. Except that its in the low 60’s and we live at my parents house while we’re waiting to close on a house.
    So nevermind. I actually wouldn’t ;)
    LOVE these pictures, Sarah! These cheesecakes look gorgeous and yummy!

  16. These pumpkin ‘cheesecake’ mousses look SO delicious. I especially love that they are no bake! Great recipe, thanks for sharing it Sarah!

  17. This cheesecake mousse looks awesome!!What a colour and an original dessert!!!
    I love it!!

  18. Ohmygosh — I’ve TOTALLY done photo shoots “dressed” like that too! Sitting in front of the window with the sun shining down in blazing hot Sac… Thank goodness for fences because I wouldn’t want my neighbor to have to explain that to her kids. Not that they would have really cared, anyway… But I love your twin-version of dessert! I seriously want to trade. :) Pinned!

    • Thank you so much, Amy! Let’s trade – my hips will love me for it;)

      (Also…please stop spamming me with kindness – SHEESH!)

      (Also also – when are you coming to get lemons??)

  19. I am having the same exact dilemma with with fall flavors but the hot weather here in California! I can’t WAIT until we get some cool days and, if it ever happens, rain! This mouse looks so delicious. I would eat it off the screen if I could!

    • Yes – RAIN! We got one day last week and a few little sprigs of green popped up from our dead grass, but I could definitely use some more. Wouldn’t that be so great if I could figure out a way to deliver mousse electronically?? Thank you so much, Raquel!

  20. Mira says:

    This recipe is so in time for fall! I love that these are “no bake”, although I don’t mind turning the oven on (Chicago!) :) Pictures are more than beautiful Sarah!

  21. Hi! i was wondering how do you make you’re recipes on that template? I’m kinda new to the blogging world and would love to get some tips and tricks!

    thanks!

    • Hi Stephanie! I use the plugin called Easy Recipe Plus for my recipes and you can use the plugin to stylize the template to match your blog. It also allows you to add a bit of CSS if you want even more control over the style of it!

  22. And I thought Arizona was hot! We actually got some rain today and for the first time in forever I was freezing! I’ll try to send some cool weather your way! Or maybe this pumpkin mousse will be like a fall/rain dance and the more you eat the cooler it will get! These look awesome and like the perfect way to use the can of pumpkin that has been sitting in the cupboard for far too long now :)

    • Wow! Send some of that rain to California please (I read somewhere that we currently only have about an 18 month supply of water stored up here in California!). I like the way you think – I should definitely eat more of these then. I hope you like the mousse! Please let me know if you end up making it!

  23. I am a fall loving girl too! Thank goodness I live in the PNW. I couldn’t handle 80+ degrees in October :) These look divine by the way!

  24. Ania says:

    Great blog and delicious recipes. And beautiful photos :)

  25. Haha- I would have never guessed that’s how you pronounce Schulykill! That’s hilarious and really weird at the same time.

    I’ve been overseas for the past two weeks so I’m hoping that California will cool down for my return home tomorrow. If not, at least I can make this without breaking a sweat. Pumpkin and cheesecake are a match made in heaven and you can’t beat the ease of a no-bake recipe!

  26. Min says:

    It’s ridiculously hot over here too, but it’s not going to stop me from cranking up the oven because all my favorite fall veggies beg to be roasted. However, this no bake mousse sounds like the perfect way to enjoy pumpkin on days when it’s especially toasty.

    I actually shoot right next to one of the largest windows in the house. I’d rather not since I live in a really.really active neighborhood. To adults and children (and dogs and cats), I offer free entertainment. I’m glad you have the option of shooting in your underwear haha.

    Glad to hear that you’re reunited with your hubby! I’ve been to Philadelphia once to visit my best friend who was attending UPenn at the time. Skoogle river..I prefer that spelling over..I don’t even want to spell it haha. Hope you’re doing well!!

    • I bet it’s hot over there! And girl, I’m totally with you – I just can’t help but turn the oven on.

      Oh gosh – I love that your neighbors get to watch you shoot! I’m now imagining you living on a busy street where passersby stop to watch you cook through the window (like a cooking show on mute). Haha – probably not so, but makes me giggle!

      Thanks lady! Sadly, Lucas is back in China until Friday – it’s just me and the cats for now. And some pumpkin cheesecake mousse…

  27. Lila Smyth says:

    Yum! I couldn’t believe the heat. Ha, photographing in underwear, love it. I love fall too, just went to a pumpkin patch with my little guy today. So fun.

  28. I totally feel you over here in Texas, and I don’t judge you at all for taking pictures in your undies. Love your photos of this gorgeous mousse!

    • Thank you so much, Natasha! We just got back from Texas a few weeks ago and it was surprisingly cooler there than it was here! But believe me – I’ve definitely had my fair share of hot Texas visits in the middle of summer.

  29. Our weather has been really warm and amazing this year too! It’s not blazing hot, but just right, which is rare at this time of year. I’m so glad you braved the oven for us, because this pumpkin mousse looks amazing! Pinned!

  30. I will definitely welcome this “No bake pumpkin cheesecake mousse” anytime, esp. right now. Is it still warm in SF? I am in Thailand at the moment, and yearn for Fall weather.
    Though pumpkin is my favourite Fall dessert, and whatever you make, I am sure it will be so delicious.

    I am loving this mouse because I can make it in my mom’s kitchen right now. I can definitely create “Fall” in this part of the world with your good looking dessert.
    <3 <3 <3

    • Today was just a bit cooler, but definitely still warm enough to walk around without a sweater. I hope you get to try this mousse – it’s so easy and one of my new favorites. Thank you so much so your sweet words, Pang! I hope you’re having a great time in Thailand (when I saw you were in Thailand, I was definitely jealous:)

  31. I am so glad that I’m not the only one cooking in my undies. This week I have been dying to “bake” in my roasted Santa Monica kitchen… This is perfect. Thank you. And for the affirmation that pants are not a requirement.

  32. No bake? Count me in! This looks amazing!

  33. I cannot overstate how immediately I need to make these. I suspect you will agree that I should nix the chicken/broccoli for this week’s lunches and make these instead?

  34. Daria says:

    I’m so glad I discovered your recipe. I teach cooking classes for children, in my country, and these recipes really helped. Thanks!

  35. WOW! This sounds and looks delicious <3 Great idea!! xx

  36. I hope the frequency of my “stunning” comments doesn’t somehow impact the sincerity. I honestly cannot say it enough how beautiful your photos are. WOW!

    I couldn’t have put the mixed emotions about hating the heat but needing the pie any better. So so eloquent. Always love reading your stories :)

    xx Katie

  37. Haha glad the neighbours can’t see you when you did the photo shoot in your undies – hate how the oven warms up the entire place when you don’t need it too – no bake treats like this are just the answer. They look gorgeous! Pinned :)

  38. Oh boo hoo, it must be terrible being in CA when it’s a beautiful 80 degrees in October… with your backyard full of rainbows, sunshine, and Meyer lemon trees. No, I’m not jealous or anything… we might get a snow flurry this weekend here in NY. That’s right… now who’s jealous. Hahahahahaha.

    P.S. this mousse looks legit! Pinning!

  39. Elic says:

    I’m allergic to the corn starch in powdered sugar. Do you think this would work with Splenda instead? I’ve safely used Splenda to make other things.

    • Hi Elic! I haven’t used splenda in desserts before because I’m not huge fan of the taste. However, if you can’t use powdered sugar, this blog has a great tutorial on easily making your own powdered sugar without corn starch. You just need to mix granulated sugar and a bit of tapioca starch in a blender or food processor until it’s fine. Hope this helps!

  40. Rana says:

    Hi,
    Do you think I could make this the night before thanksgiving for early thanksgiving dinner? Wondering if the consistency would hold up. Thanks.

    • Rana! I’m so sorry for the delay. Somehow all of my comments went to my spam folder and I missed this. This is probably too late, but YES, I’ve kept it for up to 3 days in the fridge and the ginger snaps were still crunchy:)

  41. Scott says:

    Wow, this sounds great. Look forward to trying it! I also live in Southern California, and while I have air conditioning, I remember being grateful not to be entertaining on Thanksgiving last year when the temp reached 90 (in the city!)

  42. Jaci says:

    SO good to hear that there is someone else out there without AC – dying to cook & bake – in their underwear, of course – like me!!

    -Hot in Illinois :)

  43. nnyl says:

    Instead of gingersnaps, I’m thinking of using this to fill chocolate cups and drizzeling with salted caramel sauce.

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