Did that pic grab your attention? It should’ve. This beauty is brought to you today by the letter A, as in the amazing, awe-inspiring, audacious Alice of Hip Foodie Mom.
Alice and I are friends in every sense of the word. Sure, we met online through our respective blogs but we’ve actually connected beyond superficial, vague comments on posts like “that looks great” and “can’t wait to try this recipe” (although we often say those things too). We chat about things going on in our lives, tell each other about our families and we’re going to be roomies at the International Food Blogger Conference being held in Seattle come September. I’ve got nothing but love and admiration for Alice and if you check out her blog, you’ll see why. She truly is a hip mom. She has two beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband that she adores. She makes the craziest, most delicious dishes ever (her mac ‘n cheese cups with pork shoulder ragu looks to die for!). She’s hilarious, strong-minded and all-around fabulous.
When Alice offered to do a guest post for me, I said hells yeah! And she didn’t disappoint with today’s recipe – girl, you brung it hard. She knows I’m a total junkie for chocolate and even though her first attempt didn’t work, Alice was determined to try try again until she got it right. That’s true dedication and friendship if you ask me!
I am so thrilled to be guest posting for Nancy today! If you read my introduction to her guest post on my blog when she made her amazing PB and J Cookie Bars, then you know how much love I have for this lady!
For Nancy and her readers, I wanted to bake something awesome. Something brilliant. Something decedent that involved a lot of chocolate. And then more chocolate. So, I came up with this. Chocolate Cheesecake. The Mother of all Cheesecakes. This is only the second cheesecake I have ever baked and the first chocolate cheesecake. I don’t know what took me so long to make this but hot damn, if I am ever in need of a rich, chocolate dessert, I know what I am making. If you follow Hip Foodie Mom on Facebook, you know I’ve been asking about how to create pretty chocolate curls. I can’t even remember now where I first saw some but every time I tried to create these, I would just get chocolate flecks. Nothing even close to resembling a pretty curl.
So, I reached out to my baking friends and got the answer! You need to heat or microwave the chocolate for like 10-15 seconds to soften it a little and then you use your vegetable peeler. The kind of vegetable peeler (and your chocolate) you have will dictate how big/long or small/short your curls are. And remember to start with good quality chocolate. I always say, use chocolate that you would eat just by itself. Then, you know the curls will be good.
With this cheesecake, I attempted a water bath. HA! Let’s just say that I had a major cheesecake water bath fail. I secured my spring form pan with saran wrap and strong foil (as Nigella instructed) so water wouldn’t leak in, put the sucker in the oven and kept my fingers crossed. HA again. I think I added too much water. So, as you can guess, the water seeped into my cheesecake and when it was time to remove it from the oven, I had a huge watery chocolate cheesecake mess. And then, to make matters worse, when I tried to remove it from the roasting pan, it slipped out of my hands and chocolate flew everywhere. Even some on the ceiling. It was actually pretty hilarious.
If I am one thing, it’s determined.
So, the next morning, off I went to the grocery store again to buy 2 more packages of cream cheese and then went back to work. But this time, I totally chickened out and didn’t do the water bath. I just baked the cheesecake in the oven. . and it did crack a little but hey, it was still absolutely delicious. I will attempt the water bath again. I will.
This recipe is from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. The Hummingbird Bakery is in London, in London’s Notting Hill, and was opened by Tarek Malouf in 2004. Now they have 5 fabulous locations. If I am ever in London, this is the first place I am going. Ah, a girl can dream. Until then, I have their cookbook and will bake to my heart’s delight. Everything in this cookbook is fabulous and their chocolate frosting has now become my absolute favorite. I’ve baked their Banana and Chocolate Cupcakes and my daughter has already requested the Marshmallow cupcakes for her upcoming birthday. This now might be my go-to dessert cookbook. So far, it’s fabulous.
With the cheesecake, use the best quality bittersweet chocolate you can get your hands on. I mean it. You don’t want to skimp on this cheesecake. I may have gone overboard but I used 4 different kinds of chocolate with this baby: bittersweet, a little bit of dark, semi-sweet and milk chocolate for the curls. Too much? There’s no such thing when it comes to dessert, right?
I hope you enjoy!
For the cheesecake
• 14 oz. cream cheese
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 4 eggs
• 6 ½ oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (or a combination of bittersweet + semi-sweet + dark)
For the crust
• 6 ½ oz. graham crackers
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 stick (1/2 cup) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
For the chocolate curls
• 2-3 oz. good quality chocolate (milk, semi-sweet, dark, use whatever you want!)
• Vegetable peeler
• A few chocolate sprinkles were also added for fun
Special equipment needed: 9-inch springform cake pan, greased and baselined with parchment paper is suggested OR use the Sil-Eco Round Baking liner instead of parchment paper as shown in the photo. I use this every time I use my springform pan. You just peel it off. No mess.
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 50 mins; however it is highly suggested that you refrigerate the cheesecake overnight before serving.
Makes 10-12 slices
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
2. For the crust: Roughly break up the graham crackers and put them in a food processor with the cocoa powder. Process until finely ground. Slowly pour the melted butter into the processor while the motor is running. Press this mixture into the base of your prepared cake pan, using the ball of your hand or a spoon to flatten. Refrigerate the crust while you make the cheesecake filling.
3. For the filling: Using an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or handheld mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract on slow speed until you get a very smooth, thick mixture. Add one egg at a time; ensuring each one is incorporated well before adding the next egg. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl as needed. The mixture should be smooth and creamy. You can turn up the mixer to a higher speed at the end to make the mix a little lighter and fluffier but be careful not to over mix or the cheese will split.
4. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler until melted and smooth. Or if a microwave is your only option, melt the chocolate in increments of 30 seconds, whisking well after each :30 interval. Spoon a little of the cream cheese mixture into the melted chocolate, stir to mix then add a little more. This will even out the temperatures of the two mixtures. Eventually you can stir all the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture until well combined and smooth.
5. Spoon the mixture onto the cold crust. If attempting the water bath, line the outside of the cake pan with a good layer of cling wrap and then another layer of strong foil over that to protect from the water bath. Put the cake pan inside a deep baking tray and fill with water until it reaches two-thirds of the way up the cake tin. If NOT attempting the water bath, simply put your cake pan into the oven and bake for 40 -50 minutes, checking regularly after 40 minutes to ensure the cheesecake doesn’t burn.
Don’t overcook the cheesecake. It should be wobbly in the center. Leave to cool slightly in the cake pan, then cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.
6. When ready to serve, if decorating with the chocolate curls: microwave your chocolate for 10-15 seconds and simply use your vegetable peeler to shave and create chocolate curls. You can do this right over the cheesecake so the curls just land on top.
Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, published by Ryland Peters & Small; also published online here.
Alice, thank you so much for this uber decadent, rich, creamy, dreamy dessert! I’d give the Husband’s right arm for a slice of this right now (don’t look at me that way. I need my right arm to shovel cheesecake into my mouth).