Very Chocolaty Cheesecake

  • Serves: Makes 1, 9- or 10-inch springform or 10- x 2- inch cake pan (9- x 2-inch pan is too small)
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Variation: Frozen Cheesecake Sundaes

Cheesecake and photos by Orange Piggy, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips

Chocolaty means having a rich chocolate flavor, and this cheesecake certainly does. From its chocolate graham cracker crust, its deep dark chocolate cheesecake filling to its optional chocolate topping, this recipe can't be beat.

The recipe is best made with a stand mixer because you want to avoid struggling to mix the ingredients and causing air bubbles to form in the batter. Keep mixer on low at all times to avoid mixing too much air into the batter. If you don't, the cheesecake tends to puff up and fall during baking, causing cracking. Stop the mixer frequently and scrap the bowl and beaters with a rubber spatula. Make sure you get the bottom of the bowl.

ODETTEGANDA, Premium Member, Says:  "It was wonderful, and it tasted like Rocky Road ice cream. I brought it to the office today and they loved it! Baking it was also easy, I did not get any cracks at all."


I found that with this particular recipe, because of the inclusion of cocoa powder, loaded with starch, a waterbath is not necessary. Rather, baking it in the oven with steam from a pan beneath sets the cheesecake, especially the middle better. You should not get any major cracks from this recipe because it contains cocoa powder and cornstarch. However, tiny ones are typical on any cheesecake.

1 1/4 cups chocolate or regular graham cracker crumbs, finely ground equals about 9 - 10 full size (2 cracker sheet) (each graham cracker comes in a flat, rectangular sheet)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

ODETTE SAYS: I used chocolate petite beurre because I cannot find graham crackers here in Israel. I finely ground mine on parchment paper with the back of a wooden spoon.

1/4 cup Dutch-process or Natural cocoa powder, sifted
2 tablespoons hot water  
9 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

32 ounces (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese; preferably Philadelphia Brand
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, optional
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
4 large eggs

1. Dissolve sifted cocoa powder in hot water. Let cool.

2. Melt chocolate in a double broiler. Let cool and set aside.

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces (squares) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the Oven and Make the crust:
1. Position the oven rack to the middle and another shelf, one rung down. Place a 9- x 13-inch pan on the shelf below the middle rack. (You will later fill it with boiling water to produce steam in the oven.) Preheat the oven to 325 F (don't reduce by 25 degrees F if using a dark, nonstick pan)

2. Generously grease the bottom and side of a 9- or 10-inch springform or 10- x 2- inch cake pan (9- x 2-inch cake pan is not big enough) with vegetable oil spray. Optionally, put a disk or parchment paper in the bottom and grease that.

To cut a piece of parchment paper to size, place pan on paper and trace around it. Then, cut out parchment paper round.

2. Put ground graham cracker crumbs and sugar and combine right in the pan. Drizzle melted butter over the crumbs to moisten and mix until moistened. Press into the bottom of the pan. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Make the Cheesecake Filling:
1. In a medium-size bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch.

2. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the sugar / cornstarch mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

Beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese with the mixer on low.

Then the vanilla.

Then the espresso powder. Scrape down the side of the bowl.

3. With the mixer on low, beat in the remaining 3/4 cups of the sugar / cornstarch mixture.

4. Add the heavy cream in a steady drizzle at the side of the bowl.

5. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, until completely mixed after each one. Be careful not to overmix and keep the mixer on low.

6. Add the cooled and dissolved cocoa mixture:
Before adding the the cheesecake mixture, stop the mixer and add a small amount of batter into the dissolved cocoa and stir. Repeat a few times with about 3 teaspoons of batter added in the cocoa.

7. Then add the cocoa mixture to the main batter with the mixer on low.

7. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a large rubber spatula for cream cheese that settled at the bottom of the bowl.

8. Add the cooled and melted chocolate to the cheesecake batter:
To do, add a tablespoon of cheesecake batter to the melted and cooled chocolate and stir. Repeat a few times.

This is how the chocolate mixture should look like before adding to the main batter.

Then, return the chocolate mixture to the main batter and mix on low to a smooth batter. This is called tempering, not to be confused with tempering chocolate.

9. Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Scrape and mix in any unblended ingredients. (If the batter has tiny lumps, it’s ok).

Tap the bowl’s bottom on the countertop about six times to get rid of air bubbles.

10. Remove the graham cracker crust from the refrigerator.
Gently pour the filling into the graham cracker crust. (If using a solid cake pan, the batter will come to the rim.)

Tap the pan on its side with the side of the handle of a wooden spoon about a dozen times to get rid of air bubbles.

Smooth the top, otherwise it may crack along any overlapping batter.

11. Place the cheesecake on a foil lined baking sheet and put in the preheated oven.

Immediately pour about an inch of boiling hot water in the heated pan below and shut the door.

12. Bake the cheesecake about an hour or until the top of the cake moves as one solid piece rather than like liquid cream when you tapped with the handle of a wooden spoon. The center circle will wobble a bit more and look wet, more than the sides, but not be soupy.

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and place it on a wire rack for 1 – 2 hours to cool. Remove the pan of water from the oven once the water has cooled. The cake will come from the oven slightly puffed and will fall back down and flatten as it cools.

13. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill it at least 12 hours, preferably for 24 hours, especially if using a solid cake pan.

To unmold, remove the sides of the springform pan. Use a sharp knife to release it from the edges of the pan.

Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate. Invert the cheesecake onto a flat serving plate. And with a sharp knife, lift off bottom of springform. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom. Place a flat plate on top and quickly invert the cake to an upright position. See also: How to remove the cheesecake from a solid cake pan.

14. Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator while you make the chocolate topping.

Make the Chocolate Topping:
1. Stir cream and chocolate and sugar in a medium size saucepan over low heat until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.

Stir in the vanilla.

2. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Pour chocolate topping over the center of the chilled cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2-inch from the edge.

To achieve a glass-like finish on the chocolate topping, gently shake the cake sideways to spread the chocolate topping evenly.

3. Chill until the topping is set, about one hour, and then, serve.

Cheesecake and photo by odetteganda, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips

Cheesecake and photo by odetteganda, Premium Member © Sarah Phillips

Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator or freezer for 4 - 5 days tightly covered with plastic wrap. It can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. Cut before thawing for clean and neat cuts. Thaw in the refrigerator in its wrappers.

Frozen Cheesecake Sundaes: Freeze cheesecake slices without chocolate topping. Place in a rimmed bowl. Drizzle with Hot Fudge Sauce before serving and top with Whipped Cream. Delicious!

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