My husband will insist he doesn’t have a sweet tooth, but I don’t have enough fingers to count all of his favorite sweet treats – chief among them is cheesecake. He’s a vanilla kind of guy, but my daughter is all chocolate all the time.
The chocolate cookie base is the perfect crisp foundation for the luscious, creamy chocolate filling. The whole thing is topped with none other than chocolate ganache.
If you have a chocolate lover in your life, this cheesecake is certain to bring a smile to his or her face.
A CHEESECAKE FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS ONLY
This cheesecake is for those who LOVE chocolate. It’s rich, decadent, and filling. A small slice goes a long way.
Top a slice with freshly quartered strawberries piled high, drizzle with raspberry sauce, dress it with lightly whipped cream to counter the richness of this dessert, or love it as it is.
Cheesecake takes a little time and some planning ahead, but it’s so worth it.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST CHEESECAKE
To help your cheesecake turn out rich, creamy, and crack-free, follow a few simple steps.
- Beat on low: Always beat your cheesecake on low speed. Cheesecakes often crack because too much air is beaten into them – either by whipping or beating on high. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Use room temperature cream cheese and scrape down the bowl often. Fat (aka cheese) likes to stick to the sides and bottom of the bowl. For a creamy silky cheesecake without lumps, let your cheese sit out for a couple of hours and get comfortable with your spatula during mixing. All this low beating and scraping down the bowl might seem tedious, but this prevents overbeating. (Think of the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”)
- Use a water bath. I’m sorry. I hate them as much as you do, but they really do make a huge difference, especially with this cake. I’ve gotten away without a water bath when making a vanilla cheesecake, but not with this one. For the best results take your cheesecake for a swim.
- Proper foil size: You need the long (17- to 18-inch) roll of aluminum foil to wrap a cheesecake so the water doesn’t seep in. The standard kitchen drawer size won’t work.
HOW TO BAKE A CHEESECAKE IN A WATER BATH
A water bath, also known as a bain-marie, is simply a pan with water in which another pan, dish, or pot is set.
In the case of cheesecake, triple wrap the springform pan in foil, add the cheesecake filling, and set the cake in the center of a roasting pan. If you don’t have a roasting pan, a large, wide-bottomed Dutch oven may also work.
Fill the roasting pan with water halfway up the side of the springform pan. Place the whole shebang in the oven.
HOW TO TELL WHEN CHEESECAKE IS DONE
Cheesecake is basically a custard. It likes slow, even cooking, and time. All ovens are different so it’s best to peek in on your cheesecake every now and then to make sure baking is going according to plan. Your cake is done when it looks smooth across the top and has a slight jiggle, but doesn’t slosh in the center.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST GANACHE
Ganache is the chocolate equivalent of a day spa. It’s all luxury and excess. The best part is it’s way less expensive than a spa, and you don’t have to drive anywhere to eat it!
Most ganache recipes, including this one, call for heating the cream and pouring it over chopped chocolate, then letting it rest for a few minutes before stirring. The goal is a smooth ganache without bubbles or unmelted chocolate bits. I also add a little corn syrup. It helps provide a glossy sheen, but it’s optional. It’s simple to make perfect ganache, just follow these steps.
- Chop your chocolate into small pieces so they are more likely to melt completely.
- Use a spatula to stir it together, and do your best not to lift the spatula out of the chocolate too often. Lifting the spatula out of the ganache while stirring can add air bubbles which could show up when you pour the ganache.
- Leave the ganache on the counter to cool while the cheesecake cools, then transfer them both to the fridge.
- Pour it over the top of the cheesecake so it drips down a little on the sides just before serving. You will need to heat it gently in the microwave before doing this. Go ahead and zap it for 15 seconds. Give it a stir and pour it over the cooled cake.
WAYS TO USE UP LEFTOVER GANACHE
You probably won’t use all of the ganache for this recipe. Leftover ganache has many uses.
- Before warming it to pour over the cake, divide it in half. Warm some to pour over the cake and use the rest to pipe rosettes on top.
- Scoop cooled ganache into little balls, and roll it in cocoa powder to make truffles
- Freeze ganache balls. During the winter months, heat a pot of milk and add the ganache balls to make the most luxurious hot chocolate.
HOW TO DRESS UP THIS CAKE
If a dripping ganache finish isn’t one step short of perfection for you, go ahead and bring on extra decadence!
- Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls and place them in a ring on top of the cake
- Top with sliced fresh fruit like strawberries, raspberries, or cherries
- Make candied nuts, crush them, and sprinkle them on top
- Top with candied orange peels
HOW LONG DOES CHEESECAKE LAST?
I find that the crust begins to weep after about day three. It’s still fine to eat, but maybe not to serve to company. Unless that company is your best friend, and she shows up to your door wearing sweatpants and holding coffee. In that case, your best friend is perfect, and she doesn’t care about weeping crust, and neither should you.
CAN YOU FREEZE CHEESECAKE?
You absolutely can freeze cheesecake. I prefer to freeze it whole, but you can freeze individual slices, and enjoy them as needed. If you want to read all about how to freeze cheesecake, click here.
LOOKING FOR MORE CHEESECAKE RECIPES? WE HAVE YOU COVERED!
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe
Let the eggs and cream cheese come to room temperature before making this cheesecake. You will also need make this cake 24 hours before you want to serve it to allow adequate time to chill, and frankly, we all need a bit more chill time.
For the crust:
- 8 chocolate graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/3 cup (66 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cup (250 g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
For the ganache topping:
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2 Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal s-blade attachment, add the graham crackers. Pulse until they are ground fine like sand.
Add the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Pulse 2 or 3 times until just combined. Pour melted butter around the bowl in a circle, pulse 4 or 5 times combine it. The mixture should clump a little bit, but may still look a little dry.
Dump the mixture into the bottom of your ungreased springform pan. Use your fingers or the underside of a cup to press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, making it as even as possible.
Place the crust in the oven and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
3 Reduce the oven temp and melt the chocolate: Once the crust has baked, reduce the oven to 300°F.
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottom saucepan set over low heat, combine the chopped chocolate and 1/3 cup heavy cream. Stir continuously, for about 10 minutes. Once melted, remove from heat, and set aside. You will fold it into your filling later.
4 Make the cheesecake filling: In a small bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, gently beat the eggs, vanilla extract, and salt together with a fork. Set it aside.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a hand mixer set to low and a large bowl), add the cream cheese. Beat the cream cheese on low or stir speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Beat again on low for about 1 minute. With the stand mixer still on low, slowly add the sugar and two tablespoons cocoa powder. Stop the mixer. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Beat for another minute or two until light and fluffy.
With the mixture still on low, add the egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Pour the cooled, melted chocolate into the bowl of the stand mixer and (you guessed it!) beat on low for about a minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat on low again for about 30 seconds, or until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Alternatively, you can fold in the chocolate in using a spatula.
5 Prepare the water bath and add the filling: Wrap the outside of the your springform pan in 3 layers of aluminum foil. Be careful not to tear or puncture the foil. Bring the foil all the way up the sides. Set it inside a roasting pan or a large Dutch oven.
Pour the filling into springform pan.
Fill the roasting pan with warm water about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. (I usually just heat it in a tea kettle.) Be careful not to splash any water into the cheesecake pan or inside the foil.
6 Bake the cheesecake: Put the pan in the oven and bake until the cheesecake is just barely set in the center, 55-65 minutes. It will still jiggle slightly, but shouldn’t slosh in the center when moved.
7 Let it cool, then chill: Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Let the cake cool in the water bath for about an hour. Then remove it from the water bath and transfer it to a cooling rack on the counter for another hour. Finally, keep the cake in the springform pan, and let it chill, uncovered overnight in the fridge.
8 Make the ganache: Place chopped chocolate in a medium-sized bowl. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the heavy cream, corn syrup, and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Pour the heated cream over the chopped chocolate. Don’t stir. Let sit for 5 minutes, then add the vanilla. Use a spatula and stir gently to combine. Let the ganache cool at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve the cheesecake.
9 Finish the cake: The ganache is probably too thick to pour. Simply warm it in the microwave for 15-second intervals (or more depending on how powerful your microwave is) until it’s pourable. (Be careful, though – chocolate can burn quickly in a microwave.) Stir it gently.
Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan. Pour about half of the ganache over the top, just until it drips down a little on the sides. You probably won’t use all of the ganache. Save the rest to add to hot milk for the most luxurious hot cocoa or freeze it in scoopfuls for when you need a little chocolate fix.
10 Serve the cake: Serve the cake with sliced strawberries (if you wish), slice, and enjoy!
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