Technically, so many things went wrong with this recipe, it’s amazing they turned out alright. I must have been tired when I was making these little cakes, because I felt clumsy and stupid and like I was making error after error. I had this new mini cheesecake pan from Norpro that I’d been dying to use for a while, and I had some fresh homemade cream cheese that was just screaming to be baked into a cheesecake. I also had some fresh whole cream and some pumpkin puree that both needed using before they went bad, so I felt almost obligated to get make mini pumpkin cheesecakes. But my heart wasn’t quite in the baking, I was overtired and distracted. So let’s just say that these little guys turned out well in spite of me, rather than because of me.
The first thing that went awry was the pan. I got it out of the box and washed all the pieces, but when I went to put the removable bottoms in, I found that there were only 11, instead of 12. After cursing heartily for a moment, I decided to go ahead and make 11. I figured if I had too much crust and too much filling, I would just eat it raw (yes, I have no shame). The second thing that went awry was that I forgot to brush the sides of each cheesecake hole with butter before putting in the filling. I’d spooned filling into two of the holes before I remembered, but scooping it back out again seemed like far too much work. So I just shrugged and figured two of them would get stuck and I’d just have to eat it out of the pan with a spoon (see? No shame whatsoever). The third thing that went awry was that I didn’t even THINK to put the cheesecake pan on a bigger cookie sheet to catch any drips. And drips there were aplenty, but I didn’t notice until I was baking something else a few days later and set off all the smoke alarms. But that’s a story for another day…
So you can see how my brain was not quite functioning while making these. I was just going through the motions, trying to use up ingredients before they went bad. Which makes it all the more astonishing that I not only managed to get little mini pumpkin cheesecakes without completely ruining them, but that they were insanely delicious too. I really wasn’t expecting much when I bit into my first one, but I was floored. I somehow managed to achieve incredibly creamy, sweet pumpkin cakes with a lovely hint of maple. I’m still in awe and I am not kidding when I say that. I’d like to say it is my enormous talents that pulled it off, but I have to chalk this one up to a fluke. Like I said, these turned out in spite of me, not because of me!
And you want to hear the funny part? There were actually 12 removable bottoms to my cheesecake pan. I must have put two of them into one hole and never noticed. And the other funny part? On the two where I forgot to brush the pan with butter, they didn’t stick at all. Now that’s a good non-stick pan!