Those who know me well (and also a few more eager readers of my blog) are keenly aware that I have a penchant for cheesecakes. Although I’m a big fan of the classic New York-style cheesecake, there’s no version of this delectable cake that I wholeheartedly wouldn’t try should the occasion arise. Such is the case of this ravishing, out-of-this-world, absolutely lush chocolate cheesecake.
This is a good day for all of you, confirmed chocoholics out there, for this cheesecake oozes chocolate through and through. There’s chocolate in the crust, tons of chocolate and cocoa in the filling and, on top of all that, more chocolate to round it all off. Who could resist such a beauty and a feast for their taste buds? I’ve tried but believe me when I tell you that I could hardly pull myself together…
I strongly recommend that you not miss the ‘Notes’ section at the end of the recipe before getting down to work; cheesecakes are not the most difficult task to face but you need to take a few aspects into account. And time. Advance planning is absolutely mandatory, so you may need to clear your schedule the day before. All the trouble will positively pay off the moment you sink your teeth into a bite of this cheesecake.
Having said this, there’s not much left for me to say, except that I shall not be responsible for the frenzy anyone may be drawn into after reading this recipe 😉
- 2 ½ cups (250 g) chocolate wafer cookies, finely ground
- ⅓ cup (75 g) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
- 12 oz (340 g) good quality dark chocolate, melted
- 4 tablespoons (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 700 g (24 ½ oz) cream cheese
- 3 eggs (L)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240 ml) whipping cream (for a milder flavour) / (230 g) sour cream (for a tangier touch)
- 4 ½ oz (130 g) dark chocolate
- ½ cup (120 ml) whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter
- A bunch of berries (optional)
- Preheat oven (electric) to 350º F / 175ªC and place oven rack in the middle position.
- First, butter the interior of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, especially the sides. To prevent cracks from happening on the surface of our cheesecake —and we, under no circumstances, want that—, the filling shouldn’t possibly stick to the pan.
- Then, wrap the outside bottom of the pan very, very thoroughly with a couple layers of foil, so that not a drop of water seeps through it later while baking our cheesecake.
- In a medium size bowl, mix ground chocolate wafer cookies (in the case that you’re using Oreo-type cookies, discard the filling first) ground cinnamon, and melted butter (that is still warm) together until totally combined.
- Transfer the chocolate crumbs to the buttered and wrapped springform pan, and press them firmly and evenly into the bottom and about halfway up the sides (you can use your finger tips or the back of a spoon). Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until the oven is ready.
- Place the springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack while making the filling.
A LOW MIXING PROCESS IS VITAL TO AVOID AIR GETTING INTO THE FILLING, WHICH WOULD ENCOURAGE CRACKS TO APPEAR DURING BAKING.
- Reduce oven temp to 325º F /165ºC and place a rimmed baking sheet in the middle position.
- Bring 1 - 1½ quarts (±1 - 1½ liters) water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop and melt the dark chocolate in a medium size heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, sift cocoa, mix together with sugar, and salt with a whisk until totally combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of our stand or hand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl), mix cream cheese until smooth and lump-free for 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, as well as the paddle, with a rubber spatula and repeat as often as needed after each addition of new ingredients.
- Gradually, and with the mixer running, add dry ingredients (see point 4) and mix for 4 minutes more.
- Next, add the vanilla extract and mix just until combined.
- Now switch the paddle attachment for the dough hook and, still at low speed, blend the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix each completely after the next addition.
- Add melted chocolate (still warm and smooth) and blend to integrate completely.
- Finally, mix in the whipping cream (or sour cream, depending on personal taste) until totally combined, making sure it is completely lump-free and smooth. If necessary, end up mixing gently by hand with a rubber spatula so as not to incorporate any air into the batter.
- Pour the mixture onto the crust making sure the top surface is smooth. Try beating the pan gently against the counter to release any air bubbles inside the batter (do not forget to place a kitchen towel underneath to avoid damaging either the pan or the counter). Wait a few seconds to see whether air bubbles may appear on the surface. If so, prick them out with a toothpick and smooth with an offset spatula if needed.
- Place the pan onto a rimmed baking sheet (or a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it) and pour enough boiling water into it to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Be extremely careful not to burn yourself or spill any drop of water into the filling.
- Bake for about 1 - 1¼ hours until the edges are set and the center wobbles a little. Switch off the oven and leave your the cheesecake there for an hour with the oven door either ajar —for a creamier texture— or totally closed —for a firmer texture—, allowing your cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath.
- After this time, remove from the oven and, really carefully so as not to burn yourself (there may be some hot water in the foil), remove foil.
- Run a blunt knife between the filling and the pan to prevent the cake from sticking while cooling and therefore, very likely, cracking and place the cheesecake, still in the pan, on a cooling rack. Let cool completely at room temperature.
- Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours before glazing (even better overnight).
- Roughly chop chocolate and place in a medium size heatproof bowl. Set aside.
- Bring whipping cream and butter to a boil.
- Immediately, pour the cream mixture over the chopped chocolate and let sit for one minute.
- Stir well with a rubber spatula until totally incorporated and smooth. Let sit for a few minutes.
- Spread the chocolate glaze over the top surface of your cheesecake with a spoon or an offset spatula.
- Carefully release the ring of the springform pan (leave the bottom to hold the cake) and serve with a few berries on top (optional).
If you want to get a clean cut, use a long, thin knife that has been run after hot water for a few seconds and lightly wiped with a towel. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cheesecake. It keeps for up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator well wrapped.
? All ingredients are at room temperature, especially cream cheese, eggs and whipping cream (or sour cream).
? You do not over mix the filling, especially after adding sugar.
? You do not over bake your cheesecake. This step may be a little tricky as all we need to do is to keep a close eye on the baking progression: neither do all the ovens behave in the same way nor do all ingredients respond in kind. Our cheesecake will be ready just when most of the filling is set around the edges but there’s still some wobbling in the center.
? You should use a proper pan (a springform pan, for that matter). Furthermore, it must be correctly greased; cracks may very likely appear when cooling if the filling stuck to the sides of the pan.
? Do not unmold your cheesecake until it’s totally refrigerated. Then, remove the ring piece very carefully (if the filling had stuck to the sides of the pan, run a blunt warm knife around it). However, leave the bottom piece to hold your cheesecake.
– If you prefer to skip the whole water bath setup —I personally think that, although it may be somewhat cumbersome, it is actually a very convenient procedure in order to get a fail-safe cheesecake baking—, you should play with oven temperatures. Set the oven temp to 465º F/ 240ºC to start with, and after the first 10 minutes reduce to 215º F / 100ºC and bake for 1 – 1 ¼ hours more until your cheesecake is set.
– Unglazed cheesecakes can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Wrap it in plastic wrap and foil to prevent them from freezer burn.
– National (USA) cheesecake day: July 30th.