Monday, February 6, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cherry Cheesecake

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This is one sexy cheesecake. Somehow it turned out too sexy, if that's possible. A Chocolate Chip & Cherry Cheesecake that's made with my old faithful biscuit base, a magically fluffy and addictive no-bake filling that is full of itty bitty dark chocolate bits and cherry pie filling, and then I decided to top it off with a thin layer of rich dark chocolate ganache. I think I may have gone a step too far, I kind of regret adding the that layer of chocolate ganache now, but it seemed like such a good idea at the time and it looks so pretty especially with those cherries nestled into its surface.
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The cherry and chocolate chip cheesecake filling is outstandingly good. I could quite easily eat the filling on its own straight out of the bowl. I used a simple chilled cheesecake recipe base and added a cherry mixture that's similar to the cherry pie filling from my cherry pie shortbread, so it's all lusciously jam-like. I also added little nibs of dark chocolate, like the chocolate chip bits in my mint chocolate chip cake. It's fantastic to eat, like eating a cloud of cheesecake, and every now and then you get a bite of juicy cherries or a hit of bittersweet chocolate. I considered using maraschino cherries and bigger chunks of dark chocolate so it was just like Ben & Jerry's cherry garcia ice cream, but decided that it would be a waste not to use the fresh cherries that we have available at the moment. But you can use frozen cherries or maraschino ones if you prefer.
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The inspiration for this rectangular-shaped cheesecake was partly from Sweetapolita's Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Buttercream Cake with Ganache Drizzle and partly from Heston Blumenthals Black Forest Cake from his 'In Search of Perfection' series. I've done so many round cheesecakes, it seemed like a good time to try something a little different. At some point I decided that I needed to use a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top, just to make it a little prettier and so I could top it off with some fresh cherries. At first I thought cheesecake filling on its own looked a little sad and messy. But the truth is, it really didn't need it and it tasted better before I put the ganache on. So I probably wouldn't recommend adding the ganache layer unless you really like the presentation and if you wanted a dessert that was a little bit more decadent and chocolatey. I personally thought the ganache made it a tad too rich. Oh well.
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If the cheesecake looks a bit messy, it's because I was even more of a klutz than usual in my kitchen. While making this cheesecake I managed to knock my food processor bowl full of chocolate chip bits on the ground, snapping some of the plastic off it and sending chocolate flying in all directions. And later on I somehow managed to upend the bowl of warm chocolate ganache, in the exact same spot where I had just cleaned up all the chocolate chips. Put chocolate & I in the same room and it will always end in disaster. But it's usually worth it. Definitely worth it in this case.
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Chocolate Chip Cherry Cheesecake
(serves 6-8 people, loosely based on this cherry cheesecake recipe by Nigella Lawson)
2 cups (about 200g) of crushed disgestives biscuits (or graham crackers)
1 tbsp sugar
60g (about 4 tbsp) butter, melted
150g cherries (fresh or frozen), pitted and diced
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch) + 2 tsp cold water
150g finely chopped dark chocolate, or 3/4 cup mini dark choc chips (I blitzed my chocolate in the food processor to make the pieces really tiny)
300g cream cheese, softened
60g (about 1/2 cup) icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
250ml thickened cream

(Very optional) chocolate ganache:
100ml pouring cream (min 35% fat pure unthickened cream)
150g dark chocolate
Fresh cherries to decorate
Note: I found that this ganache was too rich and overwhelming for the rest of the dessert, you can definitely skip it, or replace it with a layer of cherry jam or make another batch of the cherry filling above.

For the crust; preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Grease a 10x30cm rectangular loaf tin (or a 21cm springform tin). Line the base and two long sides of the loaf tin with baking paper leaving some extra baking paper hanging over the edges, this will make it easier to lift the cheesecake out of the tin later. Mix crushed biscuits and 1 tbsp sugar together in a medium bowl. Add butter and stir until well combined. Using your hands, spread mixture out in an even layer, then use your fingertips to press crumb mixture into bottom of tin to form an even crust. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake until crust is set and golden in places, 15–20 minutes. Set crust aside until cool.
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Place chopped cherries, lemon juice and 1 tbsp sugar in a small saucepan and place on medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornflour mixture to the saucepan and stir over heat until mixture starts to thicken, then set aside to cool. Prepare the cheesecake filling; Place cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high speed with an electric mixer until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the finely chopped chocolate and beat until it is evenly distributed. Stir cherry mixture into the mixing bowl until combined. In a separate mixing bowl, carefully beat the cream to stiff peaks (keep a close eye on this as the thickened cream is easy to overbeat). Fold cream into the rest of the mixture and then pour over the cooled crust. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. Lift out of the tray using the baking paper flaps and peel away from the sides, you can run a knife under hot water and then use it to slice a thin layer of the sides to make it look neater.

If you decide to do the chocolate ganache on top, place cream in a small saucepan on medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Chop up chocolate and place in a mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over, leaving for 5 mins to let the chocolate melt. Whisk mixture together until smooth and pour a very thin layer over the top of the cheesecake. Top with fresh cherries and chill for another hour before serving.
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64 comments:

  1. Oooh I love cherry cheesecake! Never tried it in combination with chocolate before (even if this was a bit too much chocolate!). Mmmn. I haven't had cheesecake in aaaages.

    Hope you're feeling better :)

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  2. beautiful pics and so yummy!!!!!!!!!
    jessica

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  3. Oh my this IS one sexy cake. Gorgeous yummy perfection. Wow!

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  4. Wow, this looks stunning! That cherry and chocolate filling looks so delicious, I'm sure I could eat a big bowl of it by itself too! I love the rectangular shape, it's something different and I think it looks a bit more classy. And don't worry cause we all have those crazy days in the kitchen, I know I do! You did a beautiful job, I would eat this in a heartbeat :) Have a fun Superbowl!

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  5. I've seen a lot of no bake cheesecake and most of them are... typical at best. Am bookmarking this for my cheesecake crazy other half. I reckon a thinner layer of the ganache would fix the problem of it being too heavy. Love it that this came out in a loaf pan, so much easier!

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  6. Very good idea, lovely recipes. This will be my next cake.
    Andreja

    Follow me
    www.stancerfamily.blogspot.com

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  7. rofl your kitchen mishaps makes me chortle

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  8. The photos of this are GORGEOUS. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who makes the biscuit base for a cheesecake about five times thicker than it probably should be.

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  9. I love to have great Cheesecake.To your health

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  10. sexy indeed! and one should never regret chocolate ganache :) It looks devine.

    thanks for the recipe! I can never get enough recipes with cherries and chocolate.

    Heike - http://www.heikeherrling.com

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  11. Yes, Square /rectangle is the way to go, . You have proved that beyond doubt.A lovely idea and beautiful pics! The cake server is pretty special is that an antique?

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  12. Yum, this looks so good. I love the thickness of the cheesecake base and as a sucker for anything chocolate I'd be happy to leave that ganache in place.

    I've been wanting to bake something black forest-esque for a while - it might just have to be a chocolate and cherry cheesecake...

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  13. I love your beautiful creations. The cake looks amazing.

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  14. this looks delicious & the photos are gorgeous!! i'll have to try making the rectangular cheesecake next time!

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  15. This looks so delightful. That layer of ganache definitely makes it look even more mooreish than it already does!

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  16. Thank you for this wonderful recipe :)

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  17. Wow, at first I thought this looked like an ice cream cake! amazing! :D

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  18. such beautiful pictures!! it doesn't look too messy at all! thanks so much for sharing.

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  19. Too rich? NEVER! Lol - it looks amazing :)

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  20. This looks beautiful and delicious. I wish I could leave work right now and go home and bake!

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  21. This looks amazing! I am also a thick crust fan so even better. I was wondering though about the amount of cherry filling you mixed in. I have pie filling already so how much do you think your freshly made filling amounted to in cups? I want to sub. it in. Thanks.

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    1. Sheri - It was about half a cup of filling I'd say, but I'd still recommend you try making the filling from scratch because it tastes so much better than storebought filling in my opinion!

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    2. Thank you Steph. Cherries are an imported fruit here so I don't always get fresh, will be on the lookout in the future though. Can't wait to make this now.

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  22. I almost licked the screen ^^;
    this one looks gorgeous !

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  23. This looks amazing! Such stunning photos! I feel as though I could reach out and take a slice~wish I could! Love your cake server:)

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  24. Looks totally delicious but wher ed o you find fresh cherries early february?
    I think I'll wait until cherry season!

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  25. Anonymous - in Australia, where I live! Frozen cherries work fine in this recipe if cherries are not freshly available near you.

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  26. I may make that my screen saver it looks so good - absolutely making for valentines dessert.

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  27. No-bake, but what's even better is that it is no gelatine!

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  28. Ohhhh yuuuuum. Chocolate and cherries go so well together. Love!

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  29. Thank you for this wonderful recipe, beautiful..

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  30. Oh my goodness! this looks DIVINE.

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  31. This cheesecake is really impressive, the chocolate ganache tops it off and the addition of cherries is fantastic! I also love no-bake cheesecakes because I prefer the taste.

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  32. Oh Steph! Sexy, sexy cheesecake and even sexier trays and utensils!!!

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  33. I just found your blog and this too sexy cheesecake via Pinterest. Yay! I'm so happy to have found your work! I've included this cheesecake and your Oreo Olallieberry cake in my Valentine's round up of deliciousness over at my blog http://www.spongedrop.blogspot.com/. I'll be back to read more soon, your site is faboo (yes, I said faboo)! Danielle

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  34. Oh no, I just lied! It was your beautiful Balsamic Strawberry Butter cake that I linked too! The Oreo Ollalieberry cake is from www.dessertsforbreakfast.com. You should definitely check it out though because it's so pretty. Sorry about that, my bad!

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  35. Can anyone tell me if there is a difference between US Tablespoons and teaspoons vs. the Australian measurements? In the US 1 T = 15 ml and 1 t = 5 ml. Apologies if this is a silly question!

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    1. ~Jennifer - We use a 5ml tsp and a 20 ml tbsp here in Australia, but it shouldn't affect the recipe too much in this case (I hope)!

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    2. Thank you very much for the info! I have been meaning to drop a line to let you know I made this recipe for my husband for Valentine’s Day and he/we just LOVED it! I also brought a piece to a foodie friend who thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Thank you very much for a wonderful treat!

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    3. Thank you very much for the info! I have been meaning to drop a line to let you know I made this recipe for my husband for Valentine’s Day and he/we just LOVED it! I also brought a piece to a foodie friend who thoroughly enjoyed it as well. Thank you very much for a wonderful treat!

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  36. Can you please tell me what is thickened cream? I live in the US and the google gave me a variety of options... heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, condensed milk, butter cream. I want to make this for dessert this weekend, but I don't know what thickened cream is!

    Got this recipe from Pintrest. It is beautiful and no bake makes it even better seeing as I can't bake if my life depended on it.

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    1. Google and Wikipedia are your friends! Thickened cream is '35–36.5% fat, with added gelatine and/or other thickeners to give the cream a creamier texture, also possibly with stabilisers to aid the consistency of whipped cream'. So in the US you could either use whipping cream or heavy whipping cream, depending on how rich you want it to be.

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    2. So I made it, and it was glorious! I had a thin layer of the ganache and it wasn't too rich. I've actually made it 3 times already. :) The first time I used fresh cherries. The second and third times they weren't available, and neither were the frozen ones, so I settled on canned cherry filling. It worked just as well. I used a quarter of a can, chopped them up in my mini food processor and skipped the whole step of making the cherry mixture. It's a great shortcut if you are short on time, or making it in the middle of the night (like I was). I sent two to work with my husband for his cadets and they LOVED it!

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  37. send it to Brazil?? ;D

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  38. Oh my soul this looks yummy! And I don't believe you can ever go too overboard with chocolate..not really!

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  39. It was a really fun recipe!! I skipped the chocolate ganache and used a can of cherry pie fill I had for some reason.

    I ended up making my own thickened cream, something I've never done before, but it was fun (even though it in the end took over two days to make the cake and I was a little worried I'd give people food poisoning.

    But everyone loved this cake.

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  40. Saw it, wanted it, made it!!
    Just fantastic, such a lovely combination - chocolate chips and cherries.
    Thanks for such an awesome recipe!!

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  41. Hmmmm... looks delicious! I have to try this one!

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  42. I made a version of this yesterday, I wanted to say thanks for the idea Steph, your an amazing baker! It was delicious xo

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  43. Beautiful! I have made this twice for different gatherings and it is a HUGE hit! Love the easy, no-bake recipe, and the beautiful presentation.

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  44. This looks DERLICIOUS (which in my house means heavenly from my 4yr old) My husband LOVES Cheesecake and I am going to make this for him today....can't wait to taste it :)

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  45. more important question.... where can i get that gorgeous vintage platter?

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  46. HI:)
    This looks really great! WOW :D I am planning to make this on Saturday for Easter lunch Sunday. I would like to do the ganache on top (i'm sort of a chocoholic...)so I would like to know whether I can make the cheesecake on Saturday and then add the ganache on Sunday before lunch?? And should I remove the cheesecake from the tin before adding the ganache or keep it in there untill it's served? Sorry for all the questions!
    N

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    1. N - You can add the ganache ahead of time, or just before. It should work fine either way. If you do it before lunch make sure you give the ganache enough time to cool to the right tthickness or it will just run straight off the cheesecake. I would definitely remove the cheesecake from the tin before adding the ganache.

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  47. This, as pretty much everything else here, looks amazing. Since Cherries aren't in season here (Switzerland) I made it with Strawberries. It's still cooling, but cannot wait to try it. Looks quite good, if I may say so myself (http://pics.livejournal.com/zonikita/pic/002kfsz0/s640x640):D Thank you!

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  48. Came across your blog a couple nights ago. I was in search of a recipe for my girlfriend's mother's birthday cake.

    I had a tough time making it look all pretty, but it was a big hit! It was also one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had :) We skipped the choclate ganache, and it wasn't missed. I can see how the addition of the extra choclate could be too much for many.

    I'll be making this recipe again for sure, thanks! :D

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  49. hi Steph

    Tried making this last nite, it was a total failure as couldn't get the whipping cream or thickened cream to whip to stiff peaks, it just went to a state of separated milk & custard-like cream!!! Is there any substitute I could use for the cream?
    I live in Singapore...

    I want to try this again cos it looks so delicious and pretty!
    :)

    naoesma@yahoo.com

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    1. Hi Casey,

      So sorry you didn't have success on your first try! It sounds to me like you overwhipped your cream and it split. If you are already using a fairly thick cream like double cream then you dont need to whip it much at all. If you are worried about splitting it again, use a hand whisk and just whip it enough so that it just holds it's shape. There's no substitute for the cream in this recipe.

      xx

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  50. This looks so gorgeous and totally not messy at all. I like the way it's doesn't look perfect. truly beautiful combination of cherries and chocolate. x

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  51. OMG! Steph, what an amazing way to further improve on a cheesecake. My hat comes off to you. Well done.

    I am actually looking for a chocolate cupcake recipe to play with and browsed your blog for a while and saw this beauty.

    I recently was asked by a friend to make my very own version of a chocolate cherry mud cake. Haven't had any feedback yet (I must ask him for his thoughts). I love the way just those two ingredients work so well together i.e cherry and chocolate. I think adding the dairy (cream or cream cheese) might actually make the blend all that much better.

    Anyway, must get back to my chocolate cupcake recipe search. Thanks for your blog, love it!

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