This is it - this is the ultimate marriage of my two favorite desserts: chocolate and cheesecake. This chocolate cheesecake recipe achieves the seemingly impossible: it has a rich decadent chocolate flavor while maintaining the coveted creamy texture of cheesecake. And to top it all off, it is covered with a silky smooth ganache and a light chocolate whipped cream frosting.
Before I dive in - I want to share that this recipe is in collaboration with Catherine Desserts! If you guys aren't following her on Instagram, you are absolutely missing out. She is the winner of Zumbo Just Desserts, makes the most beautiful desserts, and I basically don't know how li'l me is getting to do a collab with her. You can check out her blog post on this recipe here.
HOW WE DEVELOPED THIS CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE RECIPE
So you guys probably know my most popular recipes ever are my perfect cheesecake, my fudgy brownies and my chocolate malt cake. When I started discussing ideas with Catherine, I went in thinking I want to do chocolate cheesecake because it only makes sense to bring together my favorite desserts. Surprisingly, Catherine had the exact same idea! Great minds think alike, I suppose 😉
In making this recipe, my main goals were:
- Creamy, luscious texture similar to my classic cheesecake
- A yummy crispy crust
- Beautiful rich chocolate flavor that isn't overpowering
- Light tanginess but not too much, as I feel like it doesn't go that well with chocolate
Thankfully we achieved all of that with this recipe! In fact, some of my trusted taste testers told me this was one of the best things I have ever made for them. 😉
Let's quickly go over the ingredients required to make this cheesecake:
- Oreo cookies: you can use any chocolate sandwich cookies you like, but Oreos have a lovely rich flavor which complements the cheesecake perfectly
- Melted butter: this helps bind the crust. You can also go for salted, but it will make the crust a bit salty
- Good quality semi-sweet chocolate: Use any brand you like, but make sure it is good quality! Because this is going to make the bulk of the flavor in this cheesecake. I went for an equal mix of Valrhona Caraibe and Valrhona Jivara
- Heavy cream: This is mixed with the chocolate to create a ganache which is then added to the cheesecake batter. You can use any brand you have access to
- Instant coffee / espresso powder: This is optional, but all my taste testers loved the light coffee undertones in this cheesecake. I use Nescafe
- Cream cheese: This, too, needs to be good quality. When making cheesecake, always opt for cream cheese that comes in a block, not the spreadable kind in a tub. Block cream cheese has higher fat content and creates a thicker, richer batter. I love using Philadelphia
- Granulated sugar: You can also substitute caster sugar
- Salt: A small pinch to balance out the sweetness
- Cocoa powder: This further adds to the chocolatey flavor, and also adds structure to the cheesecake batter. You can use any unsweetened cocoa powder, but I love using Valrhona Dutch Processed Cocoa
- Eggs: Unfortunately, you cannot substitute eggs in this recipe. They are what helps make the cheesecake a solid, for the most part
- Vanilla: Now, most people consider this a must have, but I am not a big fan of vanilla! So I actually skip it altogether in chocolate desserts
- Sour cream: This will add creaminess and a light tang to the batter
You can choose to have the cheesecake plain, but a simple ganache elevates it to the next level!
- Semi sweet, dark or milk chocolate: Basically any chocolate you enjoy the flavor of
- Heavy cream
Chocolate whipped cream frosting:
- Heavy cream / heavy whipping cream: You want cream with over 36% fat so it whips up and holds its shape
- Granulated sugar: This was my first time making whipped cream with granulated sugar instead of powdered, and I was so impressed with how much nicer it came out! I am a convert
- Cocoa powder: Use the same cocoa powder used in the cheesecake itself. I didn't know you could add cocoa powder to whipped cream to get a beautiful chocolate frosting - another thing I learned from Catherine
METHOD TO MAKE THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE
Now let's quickly go over the method! If you are a visual person, you can check out my collab reel with Catherine over on Instagram, in which we walked through this recipe.
First of all - make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature! Especially the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs. this is crucial to achieve a smooth cheesecake, as cold ingredients will form lumps. I take out my ingredients from the fridge about 2 hours before baking.
The detailed recipe is written in the recipe card below - but the main steps are:
Prepare the Oreo Crust
I like to bake my crust as it helps ensure it is tightly sealed and crispy
Make a chocolate ganache
Mix chocolate, cream and coffee over a double boiler. Set it aside to cool as you prepare the rest of the cheesecake batter
Make the cheesecake batter
First mix the cream cheese until it is creamy, then add the sugar, cocoa, salt and vanilla and mix for 3-5 minutes until everything is smooth.
During this process, it is important to keep scraping the bowl so there aren't any lumps of cream cheese in the batter. Then add the eggs and whisk, followed by the cooled down ganache and sour cream. Lightly mix until everything is combined, taking care not to overmix at this point as we don't want to introduce extra air into the batter.
Bake the cheesecake
Pour the batter into the pan with the crust. Cover the pan tightly with 2-3 sheets of aluminum foil on the bottom and edges (do not cover the top), to help ensure no water leaks in. Then place it in the oven in a larger pan that has 1-2 inches of boiling water.
The water bath helps ensure the cheesecake cooks slowly and evenly, and doesn't form cracks on the surface.
Let it cool!
I know it's hard to be patient, but you really do have to wait overnight (at least 8 hours) before diving into cheesecake. Otherwise the texture is not going to be set
Decorate and enjoy!
Make some more ganache and chocolate whipped cream, and decorate your cheesecake. And you can finally dive in!
For this recipe, you will need:
- A 9" springform pan - make sure your pan is good quality and leak proof! I use this one
- A stand mixer with a paddle attachment
- A heat proof bowl to use over the double boiler
- A rubber / silicone spatula
- Weighing scale / measuring cups
- A larger pan to create a water bath in the oven
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Let the cheesecake bake for 60 minutes. Then partly open the oven door and gently touch the center of the cheesecake - does it feel cooked instead of wet? And are the edges firm? If yes, you can probably take the cheesecake out of the oven. It should be jiggly in the center but will set more as it cools. A chocolate cheesecake will set more than a regular cheesecake due to the chocolate, so you don't need to bake it for as long
The lumps are probably from unmixed, cold cream cheese. Make sure your cream cheese is fully at room temperature, and continuously scrape the bowl while making the batter to ensure any lumps mix in.
Also make sure to sift the cocoa powder before adding it into the batter! Cocoa powder is naturally lumpy, too.
Cracks on cheesecake are usually an indication of sudden temperature changes. Make sure you don't open the oven before the 60 minute mark, and only open once to check for doneness. After this, allow the cheesecake to first cool at room temp before transferring to the fridge so the cooling process is also slow.
You should ideally use sour cream in this recipe. You can make your own if you don't have access. If you are completely in a fix, you can substitute it for heavy cream, but the result won't be the exact same.
A grainy ganache is an indication of heating the chocolate too much too fast. Chocolate is sensitive to heat, so make the ganache over a double boiler to prevent it from splitting.
If you followed all the steps properly and achieved a smooth batter, and your cheesecake is still grainy, it is likely overbaked 🙁 You should always calibrate your oven to ensure you are baking at the correct temperature.
Now let's get baking, shall we!?
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