For the crust:
1 14-ounce bag of gingersnap cookies, finely ground
6 tablespoons butter, melted
For the cake:
1 14-ounce can of canned yams in light syrup, mashed with fork until it makes 3/4 cup
24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider
3/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons cream
4 large eggs, at room temperature
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider (see note)
To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 1/2 -inch springform pan. You can optionally line the bottom and sides of the pan with buttered parchment paper. This makes it easier to remove the cake from the pan, but it is not essential (see note).
In a mixing bowl, combine the gingersnap crumbs and melted butter. Stir to mix well. Place the crumbs into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the prepared pan, tamping down to form an even crust. Bake at 350 degrees about 8 minutes until the edges of the crust just start to pick up some color. Cool completely and reserve.
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer with a paddle, combine the cream cheese, butter and sugar and mix until very smooth and well-combined. Pause to scrape down the bowl once or twice.
Add the reserved sweet potato puree and mix to blend. Add the apple cider, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cream and mix well. Add the eggs, two at a time, scraping down the bowl between additions and mix just until incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Pour batter into the reserved prepared crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn oven to 325 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. Turn oven to 300 degrees and bake an additional 20 minutes. Turn oven to 225 degrees and bake until the cake is just set around the edges, yet slightly jiggly in the center.
While the cake is baking, prepare the topping by whisking together the sour cream, sugar and apple cider.
When the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven to cool for 5 minutes and turn the oven to 350 degrees.
Spread the sour cream topping over the baked cheesecake, using a small offset spatula to ensure an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes until the topping is just set.
Remove from the oven. Gently run a paring knife around the top outer edge of the pan and allow the cake to cool completely.
Once the cake is cool, refrigerate it for several hours or up to two days before serving.
Makes 12 to 16 servings. Per serving (based on 16-slice serving): 484 cal., 33.6 g fat, 40.1 g carbo., 7.1 g pro.
NOTE: If you have lined the bottom of your pan with a parchment liner, remove the cake from the bottom by briefly running the chilled cake (still in its springform) over a medium-heat stove burner for 30 seconds. Remove the springform sides and loosen the bottom of the cake by inserting a long bladed knife between the crust and the parchment liner. The cake should easily pop off and can be transferred to a serving plate.
NOTE: You can substitute bourbon for apple cider in both the cake and topping if desired.