This Eggnog Mascarpone Cheesecake celebrates the season with classic holiday flavors. Eggnog and ginger give this cheesecake cozy flavor, and it is decorated with a wintry scene made of classic gingerbread cookies.
Happy December, sweet friends! For the past several years I’ve held a Christmas advent here on the blog, with new recipes each day leading up to the 24th. But this year I’m scaling things back a little to focus on family and to really be present in the season. I still have loads of new, original holiday recipes to post this month, just not 24 consecutive. And I’ll be linking my favorite recipes from Decembers past each day on social media. Be sure to check that out if you have holiday menus to fill, and especially if you’re making holiday cookie or candy trays!
I’m kicking things off with the creamiest cheesecake, ever! Eggnog is such a traditional and beloved holiday flavor, it’s easy to go overboard with it as an ingredient when December arrives. I’m an eggnog lover, you see. This Eggnog Mascarpone Cheesecake has just a hint of eggnog flavor, so even those with eggnog ambivalence will love it, too.
A two ingredient crust!
Begin with just two ingredients for the crust: gingersnaps and butter. You could swap in a different kind of cookie crumb if you like, such as famous wafer crumbs or even shortbread crumbs. But I think the gingersnaps are especially good with the light eggnog flavored filling.
Total disclosure. I call this cheesecake no-bake, but the crust needs a little time in the oven to set it. So it’s almost no-bake. Still. Not having to bake the filling for an hour or fiddle with a water bath makes it a breeze to put together.
Next, mix up the no-bake creamy filling. It’s a simple mixture of sugar, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, commercially prepared eggnog, and heavy cream (I told you it was creamy!). A little gelatin sets it to mousse-like consistency. Plan ahead because it needs at least 4 hours to chill.
More is more!
Unmold and decorate! If you’re not into making things so extra (guilty!) you could serve the cheesecake just out of the pan. I added swirls of whipped cream on top along with gingersnap crumbs. And, in true holiday fashion I created a wintry gingerbread cookie scene on top.
Here’s one of my favorite gingerbread cookie recipes (link). I have a few, but that one holds a good, sturdy structure for construction. The mini gingerbread house cookie cutter I used is discontinued, but you can find a similar one right here. I love these one-cut wonders! One cutter stamps out all the shapes for one complete mini gingerbread house.
I’ve been experimenting with stenciling cookies lately, and I really love how these turned out. It’s such a simple, pretty touch. I picked up the stencils for these cookies in the craft section at the dollar store for… well, just one dollar. You can’t beat that! I also have this set, which is made for cookie-stenciling. Stiff peak royal icing makes a great stencil medium.
Arrange the gingerbread pieces on top of, and around the edges of the cake just before serving. Even though the gingerbread cookies are sturdy, they will soften at the bottom over time, where cookie meets the cheesecake top.
This is definitely not a thick, dense, New York cheesecake kind of affair. This cheesecake is so light and mousse-like. It might be the creamiest cheesecake I’ve ever eaten. The gingerbread cookies are a nice extra bit of ‘crust’ to enjoy with all that creaminess, but I could also see this cake served with a quick cranberry compote.
Eggnog Mascarpone Cheesecake (No-Bake Filling)
- 1 1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 16 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups eggnog commercially prepared
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 packages powdered unflavored gelatin .25 oz. each
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 cup heavy cream whipped to soft peaks
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons gingersnap cookie crumbs
- 1 mini gingerbread house
- 2 gingerbread cookie trees
- 24 mini gingerbread stars
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
- Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl. Mix well to coat the crumbs with the butter. Pour into the springform pan and press into the bottom and 1/2” up the sides of the pan. Bake for 7-10 minutes to set the crust. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar. Beat well until creamy and consistent with no lumps. Pour in the eggnog and mix again. Add in the ground nutmeg. Let the mixer run on low speed while you prepare the gelatin mixture.
- In a small saucepan sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the cold water. Let stand until well absorbed, about 2 minutes. Place over medium-low heat and cook just until the gelatin liquefies. With the mixer still running, pour the gelatin in a thin stream into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the soft peak whipped cream (this step may take some time, and if lumps remain, disperse them by lightly whipping the mixture with a whisk). Pour the batter into the cooled crust and refrigerate until set, about 4 hours or overnight. To unmold, lightly run a knife’s point around the top edge of the cheesecake; loosen the springform collar and allow the cake to naturally pull away from the collar as you slowly loosen it from all sides of the cake. If the cake wants to stick a little, close the springform collar and wrap a towel that has been warmed with hot water around the collar to loosen. The collar should come away cleanly from the sides of the cheesecake when opened. Refrigerate while you make the whipped cream topping.
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar while beating. Whip to stiff peaks. Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip. Pipe large swirls of whipped cream around the top edge of the cheesecake. Immediately sprinkle on gingersnap cookie crumbs.
- Just before serving, garnish the top of the cake with the gingerbread cookie house and trees (See recipe notes for more info). Place a mini star between each whipped cream swirl on top of the cake, and 12 around the bottom edge of the cake. Serve immediately.
- Store leftovers covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
I’m not huge on eggnog and I’m brainstorming other flavors to potentially incorporate…cranberry? Coffee? I’m wondering if adding in cranberry sauce instead of eggnog might work…thoughts?
I adapted this recipe from another cheesecake I make with strawberry puree. Most any fruit puree would work in this recipe, including cranberry. The berries would need to be cooked down with sugar first, because they are so tart. The consistency needs to be thicker than brewed coffee to set correctly. You might consider swapping the eggnog for an equal amount of heavy cream, and adding 1 tablespoon of espresso powder (diluted in 1 tablespoon hot water) for coffee flavor.