The first “difficult” thing I learned to make was cheesecake when I was about 14 years old. It was a pretty awesome triple chocolate cheesecake recipe from one of the first cookbooks I ever received. I haven’t made a cheesecake since then. There’s really no reason why; I just never had the urge, despite all the recipes I collected.
So when a request came along for me to make a cheesecake, I was pretty excited to see how my skills had grown in the past 10 years. If I could make a pretty good cheesecake back then, I was eager to see what I’d come up with now.
I found two recipes that tickled my fancy and I just couldn’t settle on just one. So I made both; a cappuccino fudge cheesecake and a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake.
|Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake|
|White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake|
As you can tell, I took a lot less pictures of the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Which is ironic because it was the one that tasted the best. The cappuccino fudge cheesecake was just soooo rich and had too many flavors going on that I couldn’t really get excited about it. But the white chocolate raspberry was just the perfect balance of flavor and simplicity. I loved every bite.
But there is no denying that the cappuccino fudge looked the best (I actually feel bad writing that; it’s like the food I make are my children and I just chose my favorite). Actually, I’d even go as far as to say that the cappuccino cheesecake is the best-looking dessert I’ve ever made. Wouldn’t you agree? Have you even seen something so beautiful in your entire life?! I didn’t think so. And, yes, I see the blemishes in the icing decorations on top but, just as I would say to my future children with teenage insecurities about their looks, they are part of what make it so gorgeous.
Piping the fudge icing on top really wasn’t that difficult, to my surprise. I’d always been afraid of piping because I thought it required too much technical skill that I didn’t have. But after a few practice designs on a napkin, I started to get the hang of it. And it even became pretty fun!
The recipes for both are below. Give them a try: they really aren’t that bad 🙂
Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake (courtesy of Smitten Kitchen)
*note: this recipe took me about 9-10 hours from start to finish since the cheesecake has to cool completely before serving, so make this a day or two before you need it so you don’t have to serve a warm cheesecake (gross).
1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter
Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in a food processor (thank god I asked for a food processor for Christmas or I’d be doing this by hand). Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. A springform pan is a MUST for any cheesecake. Without it, you will have a hard time cutting slice in a cake pan or pie pan, for example. Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.
|My fancy schmancy new food processor, courtesy of my big bro (in-law)|
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
Bring cream to simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlúa. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Pour 2 cups ganache over bottom of crust. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for decorating.
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Scrape down bowl, making sure you get to the bottom, where little pockets of unmixed cream cheese love to hide. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl between each addition.
Pour filling over cold ganache in crust — it may go nearly all of the way to the top, don’t panic. Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and the center two inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about one hour. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing topping (top of cheesecake will fall slightly, making room for topping). Keep oven on.
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
A handful of chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)
Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely. Bake until topping is set, about 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack until cool, about three hours.
Run small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with small star tip. If you’d like to make an approximation of the above decoration, pipe 6 diagonal lines atop cheesecake, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat in opposite direction, making lattice. Pipe stars of ganache around top edge of cake. I actually did the edge first so that could be why mine didn’t look perfect. Learn from my mistake!
Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired. Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
(courtesy of Meemo’s Kitchen)
*also takes about 9-10 hours; plan ahead!
1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and melted butter until well blended. Press mixture onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
In a medium sauce pan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch and water. Bring to boil.
Continue boiling until sauce is thick and clear. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds. Set aside.
|Since the sauce is so think, you need to help push it through the mesh strainer with a wooden spoon|
White Chocolate Filing
2 cups white chocolate chips
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
3 (8 ounce) packages creamcheese
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the top of a double boiler, heat white chocolate chips and half-and-half, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to luke warm.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate chips. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining batter into pan. Spoon another 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over the top of the batter. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect. If you’d like, you can reserve about 1/4 cup of the raspberry sauce to serve with the cheesecake.
|The cheesecake, before baking|
Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Allow to cool, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan.