Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake

Every year I get really excited about making my own birthday cake.  And every year, I spend nearly the entire month before my birthday agonizing over what cake to choose.  There are so many options, and given the ridiculous amount of time I spend thinking about it, this is apparently a life or death decision.  First I think cheesecake – then I think a more classic cake – then I think something extravagant, or something fun that no one else will ever ask me for – and then I go back to the beginning, and the cycle starts again.  This year it got so bad that I finally decided to write all my choices on slips of paper, throw them on the floor and let Andrew pick one randomly.  Incidentally, the very first option I had considered was this cheesecake, and it was the first slip of paper he picked up (…and then he tried to eat it.) So cheesecake it was.  But not just any cheesecake – cappuccino fudge cheesecake.  Hello, gorgeous.  The base is a chocolate cookie crumb crust with a layer of ganache on the bottom.  The filling is a rich, smooth coffee-flavored cheesecake and the topping is a thin layer of sweetened vanilla sour cream (I know, that sounds gross but it’s not – trust me.)  Garnished with more ganache and chocolate-covered espresso beans – oh yeah.  I think this cake speaks for itself, and it really shouldn’t take much convincing to get you to try it.  My whole family enjoyed it, and I had to leave most of it with them to avoid devouring it by myself.  I had a few issues making this, but I think they were entirely related to my level of exhaustion at the time I was baking it.  My next birthday is now less than 11 months away.  I suppose I should begin deliberating now…
INGREDIENTS For the crust:
  • 32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
  • 5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Small pinch of salt
For the ganache:
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 20 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup coffee flavored liqueur
For the filling:
  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tbsp. dark rum
  • 2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 3 large eggs
For the topping:
  • 1½ cups sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. To make the crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl.  Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs.  Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides).
  2. Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.  Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes.  Add the coffee flavored liqueur and whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed.  Pour 2 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust.  Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes.  Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.
  3. .......................................
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