Just a few days after baking this cheesecake my oven caught on fire. I was preheating it to bake some bread rolls. When the oven beeped to let me know it had reached its temperature I walked on over to throw my dough in. That’s when my heart stopped beating. Beyond the small glass window in the door a huge orange flame leaped and jumped inside. My first thought was “Oh no, my bread rolls!”. I was actually upset that I wasn’t going to get to bake them. Then I thought, “Oh no, my oven!”. Then finally some logic entered my brain and I thought, “Oh no, my house!” then, “Oh no, my safety!”. Luckily by the time I found my phone to call someone the flame had extinguished itself. I’m just so grateful that our oven has a glass window and I realized there was a fire before opening the door and letting in a big gulp of oxygen before I bent over to stick my pan in.
The fire probably started because there was grease on the bottom below the electric heating element. I don’t think I’ll ever preheat my oven again without checking to make sure it’s spotless inside. And making sure I’ve got a fire extinguisher nearby. At least the fire didn’t start while my cheesecake was baking. That would have been AWFUL.
Taste: Like a sweet, sweet, rich chocolate cappuccino. The coffee flavor becomes more pronounced as it sits in the fridge.
Texture: The crust is crunchy, the ganache layer is thick and fudgey, and the cheesecake is rich and smooth.
Ease: I simplified this recipe quite a bit from its original version because I felt that even simplified the cheesecake is beyond divine and indulgent. I’ve found Medaglia d’oro espresso powder at Whole Foods and King Arthur espresso powder at Sur la Table.
Appearance: Pretty dang impressive. This would look marvelous on any dessert table for any occasion (except maybe a child’s birthday party).
Pros: Scrumptious, gourmet dessert that’s easy enough to make.
Cons: Not exactly healthy but definitely great for a special treat.
Would I make this again? Yes.
Adapted from Bon Appetit Cookbook
- 1 (9-ounce) box chocolate wafer cookies
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 cup Kahlua, or other coffee-flavored liqueur
- 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons light molasses
- 4 large eggs
For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray.
In a food processor grind the chocolate wafer cookies until they are fine crumbs. With the motor running, add melted butter and pulse until combined and mixture resembles wet sand. Press mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan using the bottom of a measuring cup or glass. Bake for 7 minutes.
For the ganache:
Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate and Kahlua. Whisk until chocolate melts and ganache is thick and smooth. Pour 2 cups of ganache over bottom of prepared crust. Freeze crust until ganache is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache in an airtight container in the fridge.
For the filling:
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until well combined. Beat in flour, espresso powder, vanilla, and molasses. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
Pour filling over cold ganache in crust. Place cheesecake on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F until top is brown, puffed, and cracked at edges, and center 2 inches move only slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour. Transfer cheesecake to cooling rack until completely cooled, about 3 hours. Chill in fridge overnight.
When ready to serve, carefully release cheesecake from springform pan onto a platter or cake stand. Remove remaining ganache from fridge and beat with an electric mixer until lightened in color and pliable, about 3 minutes. Spoon whipped ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe ganache in star dollops around the edge of the cheesecake.
Cheesecake will keep in fridge for up to 4 days.