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Saturday, March 15, 2008

lynn's chocolate kahlua cheesecake

chocolate kahlua cheesecake

I don't normally make a lot of desserts, and I'm one of those weird people that never craves chocolate. I've wanted to learn how to make this for A, knowing that it's his favorite dessert ever. The recipe comes from Lynn, a coworker who adores A (she says he reminds him of her son) and makes this for him every year on his birthday. My first 2 or 3 attempts were disastrous (first time, I didn't think it mattered if I used a regular cake pan instead of a spring-form pan, other times I didn't realize how long the cake needed to cool before removing the outer edge of the pan...). I'll try and give very specific directions so you can nail this on your first try.

Grocery list: chocolate graham crackers, butter, heavy whipping cream, 24 oz cream cheese, sugar, 3 eggs, 1/2 pound block chocolate (semisweet), dark cocoa powder, vanilla extract.

chocolate crust

Start by making the chocolate crust: take one package of chocolate graham cookies (normally 3 per box -- just use 1 of them), and crush them with a rolling pin in a large ziploc bag. This should make about 1.5 cups of chocolate cookie crumbs. Melt 1/4 cup (one half stick) of butter, and stir this in with the crumbs and 2 T of sugar in a bowl. The consistency will still be crumby, but don't worry. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the spring-form pan, and partway up the sides. Freeze for 5 minutes, then bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.

chocolate crust 2

There are 3 main parts to the actual cheesecake: the cream cheese base, the chocolate sauce that you mix into the base, and the chocolate icing. You can ignore the icing part until later, when the cake is cooling.

chocolate chunks

Next, work on the chocolate sauce. Start by chopping up the 1/2 pound block of chocolate and divide this (should be 3/4 cup + 1 cup). Melt the 3/4 cup chocolate chunks in the microwave, for a minute at a time, stirring in between, until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup kahlua and 1/4 cup whipping cream -- keep stirring till smooth. I actually used half and half in place of all the heavy cream in this recipe and it turned out fine, so whatever your preference.

cream cheese base

Now, for the cream cheese base. I used 3 8-oz packages of neufchatel cheese (lower fat version of cream cheese); soften these by leaving out on the counter for about an hour before starting to cook. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar. Then blend in 1/3 cup powdered dark cocoa (I use Ghiradelli brand). Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each.

chocolate sauce with base

Now, with a big spoon, just stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract into the cream cheese mixture. Then stir in the chocolate sauce. Stir well, then pour all of this into the spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then turn the oven down to 275 and bake for 45 minutes more.

cheesecake before baking

Here's the part I learned the hard way - patience is key. After 45 minutes, turn off the oven and open the door, but leave the cake there, resting. After about an hour, place the cake in the fridge for about 2 hours, then bring it back to the counter for final icing.


To make the chocolate icing, melt the last 1 cup of chocolate chunks in the microwave. Stir in 1/4 cup whipping cream and 2 T kahlua. It will seem very liquid-y, not like icing, but you're going to refrigerate it to harden. Now, take a butter knife and run it along the edges of the spring form pan to loosen the cake. Very carefully remove the sides of the pan. Pour the icing right on top, and using a spatula, carefully smooth the icing around, allowing some of it to run over the outer edges.

chocolate sauce

Return the cake the fridge for at least 4 more hours before serving.


Mama Liz said...

Derek says he doesn't want you coming without one of these!! J/K but that looks AMAZING and I never crave chocolate either...maybe it's the hangover talking though!

Beana803 said...

I made this for the AFC Championship game. YEAH STEELERS! And it was a definate hit. However, I did follow the instructions explicitly, and still ended up with a crack the size of the San Andreas, but once I covered it with the icing, you couldn't see it at all. Perhaps I over mixed, or my cream cheese was too soft. Either way, it tasted great so I was very happy. Thanks for the recipe, and LET'S GO PITTSBURGH!
PS....Sri Lanka? How exciting!

KT said...

Hey Beana! Go Steelers, WOOT!!!

I'm glad you liked the cake. I've had the same thing w/the cracks across the top, and because the frosting covers it I've never really sat down to figure out why it does that, and how to fix it. I'll have to do some research. I'd like to figure it out b/c it would apply to all cheesecakes (and you can't have that crack showing up on a regular NY cheesecake, it would look horrible).

BTW, any suggestions for good game food this Sunday? I'm thinking a new wings recipe would be good luck, plus I could post it later. Or maybe I'll fry some potatoes and make primanti bros for good luck?? Let me know if you have any ideas :)


Beana803 said...


I read on your blog somewhere about the "New Best Recipe" cookbook, which I purchased. They have a recipe for cheesecake in there that I might try, since it is afterall supposed to be the "best"....we'll see.
As far as football food goes, it's always pretty random for us. We just pick a theme and about 40 die hard Steeler fans show up with a spread of food. My favorite dishes from home are Pierogies and Halushki so I may make some variation of those, and they can be varied in so many ways so it's easy to make your own spin. Althought the piergies may be a little daunting for a large crowd. Good luck, and if I think of anything in particular I'll let you know!
PS....I'll have you notice that the Superbowl is in my new hometown this year! So I'm stoked to have some extra Steeler Fans in town!