This was my birthday cake made by my mom. She makes the best cheesecakes in the world and if I could have any cake for every birthday here on out, it would be this one. However, I’m not sure that even the 8 miles I ran this morning made up for the two pieces I ate today. I need it to be gone and I have trouble sharing. What a dilemma.
I think the key to this is the quality of your ingredients. Don’t try to make it lighter or sweeter or smaller. It’s supposed to be rich, tall, and of the best dark chocolate.
The thin pecan crust was my mom’s adaptation and I am swooning over it. It keeps the cake gluten free and adds just the right complexity to contrast with the smooth, tangy cheesecake on top.
Have a slice with a glass of good milk and say a birthday wish for me. As long as this cake is still in the refrigerator and part of my daily meals, I am still celebrating.
Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2006
1 1/2 cups pecans, finely chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
9.6 oz (3 – 3.2 oz bars) dark chocolate, chopped
32 oz (4 – 8 oz packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
For crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 3-inch-high sides. Blend pecans in processor until finely ground; blend in sugar. Add melted butter and process until well blended. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom (not sides) of prepared pan. Bake just until set, about 5 minutes. Cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.
For filling: Stir chopped chocolate in metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water; cool chocolate until lukewarm but still pourable. Blend cream cheese, sugar, and cocoa powder in mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. Blend in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in melted chocolate.
Pour filling over crust; smooth top. Bake until center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour. Cool for an hour before covering with plastic wrap and putting it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. To serve, run a knife around sides of cake to loosen. Remove the sides from the springform pan, cut into 16 slices and serve cold.