Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Triple Chocolate Kahlua Cheesecake

You may have noticed that I have been quiet in my blog and Facebook Page in the past few months. In reality, last couple of months have been exciting and crazy, following getting my own space, moving and travelling to Central & Eastern Europe. 

I'm grateful that my home is transformed from a near naked place to a beautiful home! (Alright, I'm biased!) I'm proud to present my humble kitchenette. The initial kitchenette is no more than a miserable pantry. I built a full height cabinet with my first ever built-in oven. Oh, did I mention that the gorgeous flamenco apron is a gift from my friend who bought in Spain? 

Now that I am settled into my new place, I can start cranking out baking again. I miss the feel of the flour, the sound of the mixer, and of course, the smell of the delectable final product. 

Let's talk about this cake. This chocolate cheesecake is a real showstopper. It has three chocolate layers, starting with a sandy textured chocolate crust made with crushed Oreo cookies. The chocolate cheesecake filling folds dark chocolate into a delicious mixture of cream cheese, sugar, eggs, coffee powder and Kahlua (coffee liquor). It's sinfully rich and chocolately. Since this cheesecake is all about chocolates, I covered it with a layer of chocolate ganache and topped with ferraro rocher chocolates. 

(adapted from here, makes one 8" cake)

285g Oreo cookies
25g sugar
5g cocoa
pinch of salt
85g unsalted butter, melted

Prepare the crust
1. Prepare the 8" springform so that no water leaks into it while baking. Place a large 18-inch by 18-inch square of aluminum foil on a flat surface. Place the springform pan in the middle of the foil. Gently fold up the sides of the foil around the pan. Make sure to do this gently so that you don't create any holes in the foil. If there are any holes, water will get into the pan and ruin the crust. Press the foil around the edges of the pan. Place a second large square of foil underneath the pan and repeat, gently folding up the sides of the foil around the pan and pressing the foil against the pan. Gently crimp the top of the foil sheets around the top edge of the pan.

2. Preheat oven to 175°C (or 155°C for a fan-forced oven), with rack in lower third of oven. Pulse the above ingredients (except for the butter) in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Add the melted butter, pullse a few more seconds to combine. 

*Tip: If you don't have a food processor or blender, you can throw the cookies into a large food storage bag and give it a good whack with a rolling pin or a heavy duty pot. You'll get out a lot of anger and stress that way. 

3. Put all the crumbs in the sides and bottom of the springform pan. Gently press down on the crumbs using spatula, until the crumbs are a nice even layer at the bottom of the pan, with a rise along the sides of the pan. Be careful, as you do this, as not to tear the aluminum foil. Place in the own for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool. 

200g dark chocolate, chopped (I used 70% cocoa)
1 tsp coffee powder
680g cream cheese, room temperature
160g sugar
23g cocoa
3 large egges
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
3 tbsp kahlua (or other liquor of your choice)

Make the fillings

4. Combine chocolate and coffee powder in a bowl. Place over double boiler over low heat, stirring once in a while, till the chocolate is smooth and melted. Set aside. 

5. Cut the cream cheese into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and beat till well combined. Remember to scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl, and scrape up any thicker bits of cream cheese that have stuck to the bottom of the mixer that the paddle attachment has failed to incorporate. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Add the vanilla and kahlua, beat for another minute or so till combined. Add the melted chocolate, beat for another few minutes till mixture is homogeneous. 

Cook the cheesecake

6. Place the foil-wrapped springform in a large, high-sided pan. Prepare 2 quarts of boiling water. Pour the cream cheese filling into the springform pan, over the cooled  crust. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Place the roasting plan with springform pan in it, in the oven, on the lower rack. Carefully pour the hot water into the roasting pan (without touching the hot oven), to create a water bath for the cheesecake. Pour until the water reaches halfway up the side of the springform pan, about 1 1/4 inches. (Alternatively you can add the boiling water before putting the pan in the oven, whichever is easier for you.) Bake at 175°C (or 155°C for fan-forced oven) for 1 hour.

Water bath for Cheesecake
Pour hot water till halfway up the side of springform pan

7. Turn off the heat of the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 15 minutes. 

8. Crack open the oven door, 1-inch and continue to let the cake cool in the oven for another hour. This gentle cooling will proven the cheesecake surface from cracking. 

9. Remove the springform pan from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack completely. 

10. Cover the cooled cheesecake with foil, so that it doesn't actually touch the cheesecake. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum 4-hours. 

65ml (1/3 cup minus 1 tbsp) whipping cream
15ml (1tbsp) low fat milk
80g dark chocolate, finely chopped

11. Combine cream and milk in a small saucepan, bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Add dark chocolate, remove from heat, stir until smooth. Spread over chilled cheesecake and topped with Ferraro Rocher chocolates. Refrigerate until just set (45 minutes to an hour). 

12. Cut into wedges with a hot knife and serve immediately. 

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