Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake. Sinfully rich and velvety smooth—no, that’s not describing me by any stretch—but it sure is the correct moniker for this cheesecake! When you want to impress, this dessert kicks it up a notch and scales a mountainside…
To set the stage, we were invited to the home of friends, Pat and Charlie, who we generally only see in the summertime at the community pool. But we had them over to our humble abode after the pool closed for the season; and a few months later, we received a reciprocal invitation to visit them at their house.
They are well aware we are foodies, because it was often the topic of conversation during our pool get-togethers. For this gathering, Pat designated me as the dessert chef and gave me free reign on what to make, so I channeled something chocolatey, and impressive—it was the holiday season after all.
I hadn’t made cheesecake in a few years and I was debating about the wisdom of baking it in a water bath; in the end I opted not to. A word to the wise, if you do, make sure to wrap the springform pan in tinfoil first so that no water leaks into the crust. Speaking of the crust, after looking at the ingredients, I felt there wasn’t enough substance to entirely line the pan bottom and sides, so I doubled the crust, and was glad I did (the ingredients listed below are for double the original amounts).
When prepping, the key is room temperature for dairy ingredients and eggs. Even though I left the stick of butter on the counter overnight, it still was too firm to mix easily with the cookie crumbs. Therefore I plopped the butter in the crumb bowl and zapped it all in the microwave for 30 seconds, perfect!
Don’t start wailing and gnashing your teeth when you pull the cheesecake out of the oven and the center is still jiggly and starting to deflate some. It will firm up after its long rest in the fridge. Leave it in the springform pan covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, at least 12 hours. When ready to remove the pan, always dip the knife in HOT water and wipe it off before make another attempt at loosening the cake.
It was around 24 hours later that I removed the cheesecake from the fridge and freed it from the metal collar. Unfortunately it had developed a few cracks, but I was undeterred because it was going to be topped with whipped cream swirls, dusted with cocoa powder and enhanced with the chocolate leaves. Then into a cake saver it went and we transported it to Pat and Charlie’s.
After we toured their lovely house, we retreated to their comfortably finished basement (all Charlie’s doing) for some wine, conversation and a charcuterie platter. And before long, more food, in the form of stuffed mushrooms and loaded nachos appeared. We scarfed those down in no time! Then, of course, dessert is the natural follow up, so out came the cheesecake… “One of THE BEST cheesecakes I’ve ever had!” was one comment…
I brought along one of my favorite cake servers, the high heel with the removable magnetic heel for easy serving.
Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake
- 1 9-oz. package Famous chocolate wafers, crumbled
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsp. whipping cream
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tbsp. coffee-flavored liqueur
- Optional—1 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (to create leaves)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter one 9 or 10 inch springform pan.
- Using a small food processor, grind the cookie wafers into crumbs.
- Combine the chocolate wafer crumbs, softened butter, 4 tablespoons white sugar, and the cinnamon. Mix well and press mixture into the buttered springform pan along the bottom and partially up the sides, set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl beat the softened cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add 1 cup white sugar mixing until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat at low speed until very smooth.
- Melt the 8 ounces semisweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons whipping cream in a pan or bowl set over boiling water, stir until smooth.
- Add chocolate mixture to cream cheese mixture and blend well. Stir in sour cream, salt, coffee, 1/4 cup coffee liqueur, and vanilla; beat until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
- Bake in the center of oven at 350°F for 50 minutes. Center will be soft but will firm up when chilled. Do not over bake.
- Leave cake in oven with the heat turned off and the door ajar for 45 minutes. Remove cake from oven.
- Refrigerate in the springform pan covered with plastic wrap overnight, at a minimum of 12 hours. (Mine was in for 24 hours.)
- Use a knife to loosen the cheesecake from the edges of the pan, dipping in hot water with each stroke. Do the same for the bottom after removing the outer rim (or leave the bottom on like I did). Move to a serving platter.
- Using a pastry bag, top cake with swirls of flavored whipped cream and garnish with chocolate leaves.
To Make Flavored Whipped Cream: Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form, then beat in 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar and 2 tablespoons coffee liqueur.
To Make Chocolate Leaves: Melt 1 ounce semisweet chocolate in a pan or bowl set over boiling water, (or microwave in short 30-second spurts) stir until smooth. Brush real non-toxic plant leaves (such as orange or kaffir lime leaves) on one side with melted chocolate. Freeze until firm and then peel off leaves. Freeze chocolate leaves until needed.
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