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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake

Coffee, Chocolate, Cheesecake ~ if you are lover of these 3 food groups, you will love when they are wonderfully brought together in this cheesecake.   There is just the right amount of espresso and a touch of cocoa in this creamy cheesecake batter which gets poured into a delicious and generous amount of chocolate graham cracker crust.  This combo bakes into a beautiful cheesecake, which could be enough, you could definitely leave it just like that and it would be wonderful.  But if you'd like to enjoy the coffee/chocolate flavors even further, garnish this cake with homemade chocolate whipped cream and chocolate covered espresso beans and maybe a sprinkle of dark chocolate shavings.  This cake was inspired by my nieces request for a coffee cheesecake for her birthday and adapted from Fine Cooking's Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake.

8 oz Chocolate Graham Crackers ~ about 2 cups of crumbs
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
7 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
3 - 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, at room temp
3/4 cup sour cream plus 1 Tbs heavy cream ~ whisked together
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
pinch of table salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsps instant espresso granules
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
 4 large eggs, at room temp
Chocolate Whipped Cream:
3 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs heavy cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Garnishes:  Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, Chocolate Shavings

Position a rack in the center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees.  In a food processor, process graham crackers until they are crumbs, add sugar and melted butter and process until evenly moist and clump together slightly.  Transfer this mixture to a 9" cheesecake pan and press evenly onto the bottom and along the sides ~ about 2 " up ~ using a flat bottomed measuring cup.   Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven.  Lower the oven temp to 300 degrees.
In a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sour cream/heavy cream mixture, flour and salt on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl and paddle as needed until very smooth and fluffy, about 4 mins.  The Cream cheese should have no lumps at this point.  Add the sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.  Add the vanilla and espresso and cocoa, beat until blended.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until blended and incorporated.  Do not overbeat at this point or the cheesecake will puff too much and may crack as it cools.  Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.  Bake until the center is still a bit jiggly about 65-75 mins.  The cake will look slightly puffed around the edges and the center will still look moist.  Remove from oven and after about 5 mins  run a knife around pan edges to help prevent cracking as it cools.  Let cool completely then cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight.  The whipped cream can be prepared the night before or at least 4 before serving.
Put chocolate chips into a medium bowl.  Pour cream into a small heavy saucepan, stir in sugar.  Heat over med heat and bring to a boil.  Pour the hot cream over chocolate chips, stir until smooth and chocolate is melted.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, until thoroughly chilled.  Transfer to a chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat to spreading or piping consistency.   Spread over entire top of cake if desired or pipe decoratively on edges or center of cake, alternatively top each cut slice with a dollop of whipped cream.  Garnish the cake as desired with your favorite chocolate covered espresso beans and sprinkle with dark chocolate shavings.  Let it sit at room temp at least an hour before serving.  Slice and Enjoy!!!!

My favorite Cheesecake Pan ~ Nordic Ware Leakproof Springform Pan, 10 Cup, 9 Inch, available here:


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