Friday night was my dear friend N’s birthday party, a beer and cheese themed birthday party! I thought well, play to your strengths, woman! bring a cheesecake!
What cheesecake to bring, though? So I flipped open my go to cake book, The Whimsical Bakehouse. I read this on page 46:
A customer once said our Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake was better than sex.
Friends, that it is mighty claim, indeed. Gauntlet? Thrown.
Here’s what I ended up doing, screw ups included. The results? Quite a few people who read here ate some. Your comments will be appreciated. I dunno about better than sex, myself, but it was pretty damn good.
Thanks, Fibby, for both of the photos!
Espresso Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 Package Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
1/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
4.5 oz. melted unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10″ x 2″ springform pan. (If you’re me, your springform is 9″ x 2″ and you just plunged merrily ahead.) Wrap the bottom and outside of the pan in foil and set it in a large, deep roasting pan.
Put the cookies in a ziplock bag, seal it, and smash the bejeezus out of it with a rolling pin or saucepan or frying pan or meat tenderizer (not the pointy kind, the flat kind!).
Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl and blend until moist. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of and about an inch up the springform pan. Set this aside while the oven preheats and you make the filling.
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 T. instant espresso powder
2 pounds cream cheese
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 1/4 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips
Heat the cream in a small saucepan to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the powdered espresso. Let the mixture cool a little while you whip the cream cheese.
In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone on medium speed until it’s smooth and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl thoroughly and often. Reduce the speed to low, and add in the warm cream, beating to incorporate, scraping often. One at a time, beat in the eggs, beating only until they are incorporated into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. (If, like me, you flagrantly ignored the pan size recommendations, you will have about an 8 oz. take out container’s worth of extra batter. Your spouse may or may not eat this raw.) Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the batter, and swirl them into the batter with a butter knife. Fill the roasting pan about 1″ full of hot water, and pop the whole thing into the oven. Bake for 70 minutes, or until the top of the cake looks just set and doesn’t wiggle too much if you gently nudge the pan.
Take it out and let it cool for at least 2 hours. Chill it overnight for the cool, dense texture that makes cheesecake so very divine.
About twenty minutes before serving, make the ganache.
4 oz. dark chocolate, rough chopped
4 oz. heavy cream
Heat the cream to a simmer in a small pan. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let the hot cream melt the chocolate. Whisk the mixture until thick and combined. Let the ganache stand for a few minutes until it’s body temperature or cooler.
To serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan, then release the springform sides. Pour the ganache onto the center of the cake, and gently smooth it across the top, allowing just a little to drip over the sides.
Dish it up with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday!” and two dozen craft brews to taste!