Brent's birthday falls on a very busy day after we've moved out of our home and before leaving for Virginia. So we decided to celebrate a few weeks early. After making one of his favorite meals, I brought out his requested birthday cake.
My wonderful husband does not enjoy traditional cakes very much. He much prefers pie and cheesecake to birthday cake. So at his request, I repeated a birthday cheesecake from 2004.
It's funny...I have two very specific memories of making this recipe 8 years ago. First, I remember that the crust layer was SO difficult to cut. This time I made sure that the corner of the crust wasn't too thick before adding the ganache. Secondly, I remember that I was a little overwhelmed at the long process of this cheesecake. I definitely recommend starting this cheesecake at least a day in advance...but it really isn't a hard recipe to follow. I had to smile at my "still new to cooking" self; this recipe now seems quite easy! I've broken the recipe into four steps, but please read through it in its entirety before beginning (a rule I should remember more often!)
It is delicious...and worth every second it takes to make it! (And yes, those are the book boxes behind that next picture! Mmmm. Look at all those layers!)
Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake
1 9 oz. box chocolate wafer cookies
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
7 Tbsp. hot melted unsalted butter
1. Finely grind cookies, chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in a food processor or blender. Add butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, about 1 minute.
2. Transfer crumbs to a 10" diameter springform pan with 3-inch high sides. Wrap plastic wrap around fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan.
1.5 cups heavy whipping cream
20 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup Kahlua
1. Bring whipping cream to simmer in a large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlua. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth.
2. Pour two cups of ganache over bottom of crust. (I spread it up over the sides too, because it's just sooo yummy.) Freeze crust until ganache is firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later.
(I make the crust a day in advance, so I stuck the extra ganache in the fridge and brought it out a few hours before needing it. Also, I moved the crust from the freezer to the fridge after 30 minutes.)
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. Kahlua
2 Tbsp. instant espresso powder or coffee crystals
2 Tbsp. ground espresso coffee beans
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. light molasses
4 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in the middle of the oven.
2. Mix cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of stand mixer until blended. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso, coffee, vanilla, and molasses in a small bowl until instant coffee dissolves. Beat into the cream cheese mixture. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
3. Pour filling over cold ganache in crust. Smooth top of filling. Place cheesecake on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Bake until top is brown, puffed, and cracked at edges, about 1 hour 5 minutes. (Though I usually add 5-15 minutes.) Transfer to a rack and cool 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
1.5 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1. Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl to blend. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely. Bake until topping is set, about 10-12 minutes.
2. Transfer cheesecake to a rack and place hot cheesecake on rack in the refrigerator until cool, about 3 hours.
3. Run a sharp knife between crust and pan to loosen sides; release springform pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter.
4. Spoon reserved ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe 6 diagonal lines atop cheesecake, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat in opposite direction, making a lattice design. Chill until ganache is firm, at least 6 hours. OR spread ganache gently over sour cream layer to completely cover, as I did this last time.