Thursday, November 8, 2012

Chocolate-Vanilla Tuxedo Cheesecake

Sometimes, things don't turn out as you'd planned. This cheesecake is a perfect example.
But I was able to take a very imperfect dessert, and turn it into deliciousness, even if it wasn't as pretty as I'd hoped.

What You Need:
For the Crust:
2 pkgs graham crackers (crushed)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
For the Cheesecake:
4- 8oz. bricks of cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 whole eggs plus one egg yolk
1-2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
For the Chocolate Topping:
4 oz. dark chocolate
4 oz. (1/2 cup) heavy cream

Prepare the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and stir to combine.

Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9" springform pan.
You may have a little crust mixture leftover. I found that I didn't need about 1/2-1 cup of the mixture, but I don't like a thick crust on the cheesecake. Use what you'd like!
*Note: I always try to pay extra attention to the outside edge. I often think cheesecakes have a funny "heel" of crust there, so I try extra hard to smoosh the crust close to that bottom rim.

Bake the crust at 375 for 10-15 minutes, while you prepare the filling.
Turn the oven down when you remove the crust to 325-degrees.

Prepare the Filling:
While you prepare the filling, set a kettle or pot of water on to boil. You will need this to make a water bath for baking.
 *Be sure your cream cheese is really at room temperature before you make the filling. If it's not, it will be chunky, and not smooth. I find cream cheese takes at least 30 minutes to come to temperature.

In a mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, remembering to use one yolk and three whole eggs.
Mix well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and sour cream. Mix well.

Pour the filling mixture into the pre-baked crust.
Please note, when you remove the crust from the oven, you need to wrap the bottom of the pan with foil. This is to keep the water from the water bath from seeping in. This is a necessary step. Also, be sure the foil is large enough to cover the whole bottom edge of the pan. If you don't wrap the pan, the crust gets completely soggy. Trust me. I've done it!

Place the pan into a large roasting pan. (I don't own a roasting pan, so you see here a 12" square cake pan.) Place the pan onto the oven rack, and pour boiling water into the roasting pan about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. *BE SURE your foil reaches higher than your water!

Bake at 325-degrees (F) for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Until it still jiggles a little in the middle, but not all the way around.

Here's where my baking fail began. See, I bake 90% of my things in a small half-sized oven. Normally, this is not a problem. Even when baking with my 3" tall cake pan, it's not a problem.
However... on this day... with this cheesecake, it was, indeed, a problem.
So, the cake rose way higher than I expected. (I don't bake cheesecake often.) And it stuck to the heating element. See those two black stripes?? So, when I tried to rescue it, the top stuck, and peeled halfway off. Oops! (I may have used a little stronger word than oops when it happened. Maybe.)

... But I allowed the cake to cool for about 30 minutes on a cooling rack, then put it in the refrigerator overnight. (Always run a knife around the edge before putting it in the fridge to help it come loose in the morning.)

I took the outside off of the springform pan and made my chocolate ganache topping.

Make the Topping

I used a basic ganache for the topping. Even amounts of chopped chocolate and heavy cream. (I used 4 oz. of each here.)
Heat the cream in the microwave or on the stove until it is just boiling. (Be careful in the microwave, I pretty much end up with it over-topping my measuring cup every time because I'm not watching. Start with a minute, and go from there.)
Add the chocolate to the hot cream and let it sit for about a minute or two.
Use a fork to stir the two together until their dark and creamy.

Pour the ganache on top of the cheesecake, and spread.

This is where my deformed, half-singed top proved a bit of a problem. My ganache is not anything like the smooth, pretty topping I wanted it to be, but you know what? It still tasted super great! And my mother-in-law loved it to celebrate her retirement.

Click the Links Below to See:
Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake
Chocolate Lover's Cake
Other Baking Fails and Fixes

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1 comment:

  1. No more need for the "Factory" with cheesecake like this! Thanks so much for sharing!!!


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