Recipe: Cappuccino-Fudge Cheesecake
For the crust
- 1 9-ounce box chocolate wafer cookies (Do not use Oreos or the like)
- 6 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Callebaut)
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 7 tablespoons hot melted unsalted butter
For the ganache
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 20 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut)
- 1/4 cup Kahlúa or other coffee-flavored liqueur
For the coffee cheesecake filling
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground whole espresso coffee beans (fine grind)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
- 4 large eggs
For the topping:
- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Chocolate covered espresso beans (optional, but good for covering ganache mistakes)
- Finely grind cookies, chopped chocolate, brown sugar, and nutmeg in a food processor. Add melted butter and process until crumbs begin to stick together, scraping down bowl occasionally, about 1 minute. Transfer crumbs to 11-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Wrap plastic wrap around your fingers and press crumb mixture firmly up sides to within 1/2 inch of top edge, then over bottom of pan. Make sure the corners aren’t too thick, as the crust gets quite hard.
- Bring whipping cream to a gentle simmer in large saucepan. Remove from heat; add chocolate and Kahlúa. Whisk until chocolate is melted and ganache is smooth. Pour 1 to 1 1/2 cups ganache over bottom of crust to cover evenly with a thin layer. Freeze the crust until ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature to use later for creating lattice pattern. (At this point, I refrigerated the ganache in the saucepan to add the lattice the next morning. It needed a tiny bit more cream and a little heat to be soft enough to pipe the next day.)
- Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in flour. Stir rum, espresso powder, ground coffee, vanilla, and molasses in small bowl until instant coffee dissolves; beat into cream cheese mixture. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.
- Pour filling over cold ganache in crust. Place cheesecake on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until top is brown, puffed and cracked at edges, and center 2 inches moves only slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing topping (top of cheesecake will fall slightly). Maintain oven temperature.
- Whisk sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl to blend. Pour topping over hot cheesecake, spreading to cover filling completely. Bake until topping is set, about 10 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and let cool 10 minutes. Refrigerate hot cheesecake on rack (or on rack built into your fridge) until cool, about 3 hours (or overnight.)
- Run small sharp knife between crust and pan sides to loosen cake; release pan sides. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Spoon reserved ganache into pastry bag fitted with small star tip. Pipe 6 diagonal lines atop cheesecake, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat in opposite direction to make a diamond lattice shape (I screwed this up and ended up with squares, whoops!) Pipe rosettes of ganache around top edge of cake. Garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans, if desired. Chill until lattice is firm, at least 6 hours. (Can be made 4 days ahead. Wrap loosely in foil, forming dome over lattice and keep chilled.)
Note: depending on how ornate your lattice and rosettes are, you may end up with leftover ganache. Don’t let it go to waste! Refrigerate until firm, then scoop into small balls to make truffles! Roll each truffle quickly in your hands until round, then roll in unsweetened chocolate. Truffles keep well in the freezer, let come fully to room temperature before eating.