Our mouths are already watering just looking at this picture of Martha Stewart's Gingerbread Cheesecake! Don't be intimidated by the number of steps, it will all be worth it in the end!

And if you're interesting in purchasing Martha's collection of cake recipes, you can find her latest cookbook here!

Gingerbread Cheesecake
Makes 10 servings

Ingredients

All-purpose flour, for dusting
1/2 recipe Molasses-Gingerbread Cookie Dough (recipe follows; use remaining dough to make gingerbread men or reserve for another use)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 pounds (four 8-ounce bars) cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 Gingerbread Men, for decorating (see instructions below)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. On a generously floured piece of parchment, roll dough to a 13-by-10-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Brush off excess flour. Slide dough and parchment onto a baking sheet. Bake until firm and golden brown, about 14 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Break into large pieces, then pulse in a food processor until finely ground.

  2. Combine butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 cups cookie crumbs in a bowl. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and one third of the way up side of springform pan. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Wrap exterior of a 9-inch springform pan with a double layer of foil. Set a kettle of water to a boil. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and the vanilla, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in molasses, salt, spices, and zest. Pour filling into cooled crust.

  4. Set springform pan in a large, shallow roasting pan. Carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up side of springform pan. Bake cheesecake until set but still slightly wobbly in center, 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer springform pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours (preferably overnight).

  5. Before serving, run a knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen; remove sides of pan. Arrange gingerbread cookies in center of cake in a circle.

Molasses-Gingerbread Cookie Dough

You will only need half the recipe for the cheesecake; use the remaining dough to make cookie cutouts (see variation) or reserve it for another use; it will freeze up to one month. To make a honey gingerbread variation (as pictured on top of the cheesecake), replace 1/2 cup of the molasses with 1/2 cup honey, and substitute granulated sugar for the brown sugar.

Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup unsulfured molasses

Directions

  1. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.

  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg, beating well. Beat in molasses. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture; beat until just combined. Divide dough into 2 portions; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 1 hour.
    Gingerbread-Men Variation: Preheat oven to 350°F. On a generously floured piece of parchment, roll dough to a scant 1/4 inch thick. Freeze 15 minutes. Cut out gingerbread men with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Freeze shapes on parchment-lined baking sheets 15 minutes. Bake 6 minutes. Remove sheets from oven; tap firmly on counter. Return to oven; bake until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool completely. If desired, pipe buttons onto cookies with Royal Icing (recipe follows).

Royal Icing
Makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon meringue powder
Scant 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed

Directions

With an electric mixer on low speed, beat all ingredients until smooth, about 7 minutes. If icing is too thick, add more water, a little at a time, beating until icing holds a ribbon on the surface for a few seconds when beater is lifted; if too thin, continue mixing 2 to 3 minutes more. Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week; stir well with a flexible spatula before using.

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