Friday, April 2, 2010

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake


With Easter Sunday quickly approaching, I knew I wanted to make a fantastic dessert. We're hosting much of our family for dinner, so this would be the perfect opportunity to indulge ourselves with something rich and delicious (which shouldn't be around for too long for the two of us to get fat on!) Annie came through for me AGAIN! Her version of Smitten Kitchen's Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake looks amazing and with my success with Annie's New York Cheesecake last fall, I thought I could handle this too.  There are certainly a LOT of steps to make something so decadent but believe me when I say it's totally worth it. (Maybe just twice a year though. *wink*)

I made this three days in advance after reading Smitten Kitchen's post about refrigerating for up to four days. She said the flavors really concentrate and become even more amazing the longer it sits. Perfect! Who wants to be worrying about their cheesecake the day of a big event. 

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 OR  6oz unsweetened chocolate plus 14oz semisweet chocolate
¼ cup coffee flavored liqueur OR ¼ cup brewed (and cooled) espresso

For the filling:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tbsp. all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. dark rum OR water
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. mild-flavored (light) molasses OR dark
3 large eggs

For the topping:
1½ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

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). 

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.  

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended. Beat in the flour. In a small bowl, combine the rum, espresso powder, vanilla and molasses, stirring until the espresso powder dissolves. Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust.  Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing the topping (maintaining the oven temperature.)  

To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake, spreading to cover the filling completely. (I was certain this was going to overflow. The Cheesecake came up to the brim. But don't fear. It worked just fine!) Bake until the topping is set, about 10-15 minutes. Return to the cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.  

To finish, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the springform. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Place the reserved ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to garnish the top of the cake as desired. Garnish with chocolate-covered espresso beans as desired. Chill until the ganache is completely firm, at least 6 hours.   

Note: I kind of stink at piping. But I'll blame that on the lack of pastry bags and tips.
*more pictures of the insides will be added once we cut into it!

1 comment:

  1. Melanie,

    I saw your blog addy at the bottom of the quiz email and I clicked over here from that. I've enjoyed what I've seen of both blogs!

    I'm up late making cheesecake for a graduation open house on Thursday-although mine is a simple, plain one. I'm planning to freeze it, cut it into squares, then dip the pieces into chocolate. Yours looks beautiful and delicious!

    I'm so glad to hear your quiz program is growing. It is such an important, and fun, ministry.