Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake

Cheesecake is so indulgent, right?  I have to make it every once in awhile, usually for special occasions, but it’s so rich and so expensive to make that I only do it a few times a year.  Coffee is one of my favorite flavors, and that’s why I had to marry it with cheesecake.  This one takes a little work, but it’s well worth it.  It’s got so much coffee in it that a single piece will leave you wired for the whole day!

As you’ll notice, I use the long-slow bake method for cheesecakes.  I did the whole water-bath thing for a few years, but after ending up with SO many soggy crusts due to leaks in the foil, I resorted to this method that I truly love.  It completely changes the texture of the cheesecake…you end up with a mousse-like cheesecake.  Light, fluffy, and not remotely dense.  (Unlike a certain national brand of cheesecake restaurant we all love for some reason.)

Preheat oven to 350F.

5 ounces of chocolate wafers or chocolate grahams  (You can use Oreos in a pinch, but try to find the wafers.  Oreos are gross.)

Put these in a zip top bag and seal it.  Then roll over it back and forth with a rolling pin until they’re reduced to very fine crumbs.  Then add:

1/4 cup espresso beans, finely ground
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

Toss and squeeze these together with your hands until they’re well-incorporated.  Then press them into a buttered 9-inch springform pan.  If you don’t have a sprinform pan, you should get one, because there’s really no equivalent pan you can use to make cheesecake that will give you the same results.  I’m all about substitution, but when it comes to cheesecake, you need a springform pan.  You can usually pick up a set at a discount store for under $15.

Press the crumbs evenly along the bottom and a couple of inches up the sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, combine:

3 Tablespoons instant coffee dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water
4 packages of cream cheese AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon flour

Beat these together with a hand-held or stand mixer until they are smooth.  Try to avoid whipping on high speed, you don’t want too much air whipped into the mixture or you’ll get a bubbly top to your cheesecake.  Then add:

1/4 cup heavy cream

When the cream is well incorporated, add:

4 eggs

Just add them one at a time, blending each one in well.  When the mixture is perfectly smooth, pour it on top of the crust.

Bake on the center rack of a 200F oven for 6-8 hours.  The middle part of the cheesecake should still be slightly wobbly.  (The ideal internal temp is 150F if you want to use a probe thermometer to poke a horrid hole right in the center of your perfect cheesecake!)

Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack for 3 hours.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before running a knife around the inside of the pan and removing the sidewall.  Let the cheesecake sit on the counter at room temp for at least 1 hour before serving.  All cheesecakes taste best at room temperature.  Chilled cheesecake has a duller flavor.

If you do this as an overnight cheesecake, set your oven to a bake time of 7 hours.  When the oven turns on, the cheesecake will continue to slowly bake as it coasts downward in temperature, and should be ready for the fridge when you wake up the next morning.

I like to sprinkle toasted nuts like pecans or hazelnuts on top of the cheesecake, and then drizzle melted chocolate in a lattice pattern on top of the cheesecake.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and no one will ever believe you made it yourself, it’ll look so fancy.

This recipe will win you friends for life!

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