How to Make Chocolate Cheesecake

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Start to Finish: 8 hours
Servings: 12
Difficulty Level: Intermediate


The key to making rich, creamy chocolate cheesecake is whipping as little air as possible into the batter. When you beat the cream cheese and other ingredients too aggressively, air pockets form in the filling, which expand during cooking to create a souffle-like texture. Using a food processor to mix the batter creates a smooth, dense cheesecake.

Ingredients

  • Crust

    • 1 3/4 cups chocolate wafers, finely crushed
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

    Filling

    • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 4 large eggs
    • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
    • 3 tablespoons brewed dark coffee, cooled
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Crust

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, stir together the crushed chocolate wafers and sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are moistened and clump together.

    Press the mixture over the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the springform pan in an even layer. Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

    Filling

    Drop the oven temperature to 325 F.

    In a food processor, pulse the cream cheese and sugar until creamy and completely smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides two or three times during the mixing. Add eggs one at a time, pulsing after each addition until completely incorporated.

    Add the chocolate, coffee, vanilla and salt to the food processor and pulse until blended. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.

    Bake the cheesecake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the filling is set. The center should jiggle slightly. Remove the cheesecake to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan.

    Cover the cheesecake tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Release the springform pan and remove the sides. Serve with desired garnishes.

Tips

    • To make the chocolate cheesecake with a stand mixer or hand mixer, first bring the cream cheese and eggs to room temperature. This ensures that they will blend quickly, reducing mixing time. Mix the ingredients in as little time as necessary to blend properly and on low speed to avoid incorporating excessive air.
    • Avoid the temptation to cook the cheesecake until the center appears firm. The filling will finish cooking during the cooling process.
    • Use a thin, sharp knife to cut the cheesecake. Dip the knife in hot water before each slice and pull out the knife at the bottom of the cake to ensure the top stays smooth.
    • The cheesecake will keep for up to five days, covered, in the refrigerator.
    • If frozen, the dessert will keep for up to a month. Place the cooled cheesecake in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes, or until the top is firm. Remove the cheesecake and tightly wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap, followed by one layer of aluminum foil. Bring the cheesecake to temperature in the refrigerator overnight before serving.
    • To prevent cracks in your cheesecake, keep the oven temperature low and whip as little air as possible into the batter. If you wish to cook the cheesecake in a water bath, use a cheesecake pan without removable sides to ensure that no water gets in during baking.

Variations

    • For a boozy chocolate cheesecake, replace the brewed coffee with 1/4 cup of your favorite liqueur, such as raspberry, hazelnut or mint.
    • Mix up a quick chocolate ganache to spread over the top of the cheesecake for an extra rich treat. Heat 1/2 cup heavy cream to just below a simmer and pour over 6 ounces bittersweet or milk chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand for 30 seconds, then stir the mixture until completely smooth. Once cooled, spread the ganache over the top of the cheesecake before serving.
    • Top the cheesecake with chocolate curls or fresh berries and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
    • Fold 1/2 cup English toffee bits or chocolate chips into the batter before baking.

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References

  • The Art and Soul of Baking; Cindy Mushet
  • Photo Credit olvas/iStock/Getty Images
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