One of my favorite birthday celebrations is baking up my birthday cake. Some may think that this is silly that I bake up my own birthday cake, and that maybe I should buy a cake. Or maybe have my husband, bake me a cake - that might happen later down the road. I really love the baking challenge of finding my birthday cake and creating and enjoying it. It's my own private birthday relaxation and celebration all rolled into one special cake.
More importantly, this birthday cheesecake is my pride and joy. This scrumptious out of this world, OMG, there's so much chocolate and coffee yumminess that I could scream that you must eat this Kahlua Cappuccino-Fudge cheesecake. This was my pick to celebrate my awesome thirty + four birthday. There was no need for a big party, but a simple date night out with my husband for dinner and bowling! The only thing you need to know about this cheesecake are the main components: Coffee + chocolate + cheesecake + a little booze.
It all equals perfection in one coffee lover's dream in a cheesecake.
Kahlua Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen & seen on Bon Appetit
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For the Crust:
1 (9-ounce box) chocolate wafer cookies or 1 (15.5 ounce) Oreos with the cremes removed
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (chocolate chips would work)
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Kahlua Ganache:
1 1/2 cups heavy or whipping cream
20 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (chocolate chips would work)
1/4 cup Kahlua or other coffee-flavored liqueur
For the Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
1 1/2 tablespoons ground whole espresso coffee beans (or use more espresso powder)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons molasses (light)
3 large eggs, room temperature
For the Topping:
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate covered espresso beans (optional)
Prepare the crust. Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in a food processor. Add butter and process until crumbs stick together, scraping bowl down as needed. Transfer crumbs to a 9-inch springform pan. Using a large piece of plastic wrap, press down into crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.
Prepare the ganache. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat bring the heavy cream to simmer. Remove from heat, add chocolate and Kahlua. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and ganache is smooth. Make sure there are no clumps. Pour 2 cups of ganache over bottom of crust. Freeze until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache for topping, cover and let stand at room temperature until ready to use.
Prepare the filling. Position rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of the stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar until completely incorporated. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in flour. In a small bowl, stir the rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses until coffee dissolves. Add into cream cheese mixture. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Pour the filling over cold ganache into the crust. Place springform pan on rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges. Check if the center jiggles only slightly. Transfer cheesecake to cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes adding topping. Keep the oven on.
Prepare the topping: In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, sugar and vanilla until completely mixed. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading topping evenly over the top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until topping is set. Transfer cheesecake to cooling rack. Place in refrigerator after 15 minutes until completely cool, about three to four hours. Preferably overnight.
When ready to decorate. Run a small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake. Transfer cheesecake to serving platter. Spoon reserved ganache into a pastry bag fitted with small star tip. Pipe flowers around the edge of the cake, and if you want to go the extra mile, add diagonal lines atop cheesecake, be creative, and make a lattice if you desire. Garnish with chocolate-covered beans, if desired. Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours.
Cooks Note: Cheesecake is best made a day ahead, so flavors have time to settle. There is a good amount of preparation and waiting and cooling time, so if you plan to make this the day you serve it...bake early in the morning.
Yield: 12 servings