Here’s a cheesecake to remember – big and bold in appearance and taste, with an ultra-creamy texture and a chocolate crust and shiny chocolate glaze topping. This cake is ideal for holidays and special occasions, as it can be made the day before serving and is bound to elicit lots of oohs and aahs from guests upon its presentation. Feel free to embellish each serving with some fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries, or even a dollop of whipped cream. I mean, it’s the holidays, right? Go for it!
Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 14
Chocolate Crumb Crust
- 2 cups (259 grams) chocolate wafer or Oreo cookie crumbs
- 3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 22 ounces (623 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups (266 grams) granulated sugar
- 4 large (200 grams) eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups (464 grams) heavy cream
- 2 cups (483 grams) sour cream
- 6 ounces (170 grams) high-quality bittersweet chocolate 70%, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons (195 grams) heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- White and dark chocolate Crispearls or white chocolate curls
Make the crust
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the cookie crumbs in a medium bowl, add the sugar and stir until well blended. Add the melted butter and stir until blended. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, until set and fragrant. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the crust completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚F.
Make the filling
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until very creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes more. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula once or twice. Stop the machine and sift in the cornstarch, then add the vanilla and salt and mix until blended. Add the heavy cream and sour cream and mix until blended, scraping down the bowl again to make sure the mixture is evenly blended. Pour the batter into the cooled crust (you can pass the batter through a fine-mesh sieve first, if you like – this will ensure the smoothest filling possible).
Bake and chill the cake
- Carefully place the cake pan into the turkey-size oven bag, with the opening at the top, then place the whole thing in a roasting pan. Leave the bag open, bunching it up around the top of the pan like a short collar. Fill the roasting pan with hot water so that it comes about a third of the way up the side of the cake pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven, making sure that the turkey bag is not touching the top element of the oven, and bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes – the center will still be quite wobbly. Turn the oven off (don’t open the door), and let the cake stay in the oven for another 1 ½ hours.
- Remove the cake from the water bath and the roasting bag and let it cool completely on a wire rack; the filling will be slightly wobbly, but will firm up as it cools.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 6 hours before glazing.
Make the glaze
- Place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
- Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 1 minute, to allow the chocolate to melt. Whisk from the center to the edges until smooth and emulsified. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover the surface of the glaze with a piece of plastic wrap and let it cool for at least 10 minutes before using.
Glaze the cake
- Remove the side of the springform pan from the cake and carefully transfer the cake from the bottom of the pan to a cardboard cake round (I use this tool to do that). Place the cake, on the round, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides, covering it completely. Use a small, offset metal spatula to smooth the glaze. Garnish with the white and dark chocolate Crispearls or chocolate curls. Refrigerate; remove the cake from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving.