Freshly back from vacation, I thought I’d start with a basic. This chocolate cheesecake was requested by my friend Margaret for her birthday, and our friend Melania requested that it be fully loaded with chocolate. The result, I have to say, was extremely pleasing.
One of the difficult things about blogging for me is that sometimes I add small amounts of ingredients that I don’t really think anyone will have or want to add. For example, I had some leftover chocolate cake scraps, so i broke them up and laid them on top of the crust in this cheesecake. If you have extra cake, or brownies, or cookies, feel free to crumble them and throw them into the batter. Baking is about being creative and putting your own twist on a recipe, so I don’t follow recipes to the tee and I don’t think you should either. A cheesecake is a block of clay for you to mold- make it beautiful, and make it tasty! Add in whatever you have and whatever you want. I mixed in chocolate chips, but there’s so much you can do- M&Ms, mini Reeses cups, broken up candy bars, pretzels, cookie dough- anything!
That being said, I wouldn’t alter any of the base ingredients to the recipe. I have read and experienced that a cheesecake made with low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) or Greek yogurt instead of sour cream doesn’t come out quite right. One time I tried to use lower fat ingredients and the cake sank to 1/3 its size, surprising me. Baking is science, what can you do?
So cheesecake is tempermental. To go along with that, I have to stress that all of your ingredients need to be at room temperature!!! Measure out the cream cheese and sour cream a half hour before you start. Place the cream cheese in your stand mixer and the sour cream in a separate bowl. Take out the eggs about ten minutes beforehand and put them in a bowl of warm water. All of these steps are absolutely essential to ensure the ingredients are at room temperature and the cheesecake batter comes together.
And now, without further ado…
- 2 sleeves of Oreos (about 26)
- 1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
- Grease a 10 inch springform pan with Pam and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil a teapot-full of water.
- Brake the Oreos in half and blend in a food processor until they are fine crumbs.
- Transfer the crumbs into a medium bowl and, using your hands, massage in the melted butter.
- Press the crumbs into the bottom and about a quarter of the way up the side of the pan.
- Cover the crust with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you make the filling.
Filling adapted from Joy of Baking
- 12 oz (2 cups) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chips or chopped
- 24 oz (3 packages) full fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 cup chocolate chips or other add-in
- In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium until soft and creamy.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave at thirty second intervals.
- To the cream cheese, gradually beat in the sugar.
- Add the melted chocolate and beat until fully incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well for about 30 seconds and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each.
- Beat in the sour cream and vanilla until completely smooth.
- Mix in the chocolate chips and other add-ins on low for about five seconds.
- Pour the batter into the crust and wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in foil. Place the springform in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven. Pour the boiling water from the teapot into the pan until it reaches an inch up the side of the roasting pan.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes until the center is a bit wobbly but the outside is set. Turn the oven off and open the door a few inches. Leave the cheesecake in about an hour to cool this way, then remove and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- To garnish, melt a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave at 30 seconds intervals, stirring after each. Pour the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and snip the end. Pipe lines or squiggles onto the top of the whole cheesecake or garnish each slice. Serve with whipped cream and raspberry jam, if desired.
Incredibly creamy, incredibly dense, and incredibly chocolately, this cake certainly more than satisfied the four of us who enjoyed it. The crust really contributed to the chocolate, and it was crumbly and buttery, providing the texture contrast. The chocolate chips also changed up the texture a bit inside the filling without adding another flavor element. I think this cake would also be great with dark chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch chips, or with a graham cracker crust. I wonder if applesauce instead of butter in the crust would perceptibly change the flavor. Joy of Baking gives a ganache as part of the recipe, but I think the cheesecake is rich enough without it. No one can be disappointed with it; just on its own it’s delicious.
Can you tell I tried to plate the cheesecake? Unfortunately, raspberry jelly does not take to smearing. That’s okay, it was tasty.