A creamy chocolate cheesecake served on a crisp Oreo crust and topped off with dark chocolate ganache and homemade whipped cream. No water bath required!
Is there a better kind of cheesecake than chocolate cheesecake?
How about one that’s served on an Oreo cookie crust, smothered with dark chocolate ganache, and decorated with homemade whipped cream?
If you saw Friday’s recipe, you hopefully caught the sneak peek for today’s recipe and knew that this was coming. It’s not exactly a chocolate pie as some of you guessed (I already have one of those on the blog, though it’s a close call to say which I like better), it’s a creamy, easy chocolate cheesecake.
Now let’s go over a few things to make sure your chocolate cheesecake comes out perfectly, every time.
Room temperature ingredients are key for making a perfect chocolate cheesecake.
You want your eggs room temperature and cream cheese softened to room temperature as well, using room temperature ingredients allows them to combine thoroughly and evenly.
It’s also important that your cream cheese be softened because if it is too cold it may leave lumps in your cheesecake, or when you add your melted chocolate it can cause the chocolate to harden, leaving chunks of hard chocolate in your cheesecake. Admittedly, the latter isn’t the worst thing that could possibly happen, but we want a smooth cheesecake, so let that cream cheese soften!
I never use water baths with my cheesecakes, it’s always just been too much of a hassle and not enough success to warrant using one, and so you may have noticed that none of my cheesecake recipes use water baths. No exception here, but no cracks, either!
How do I keep my cheesecake from cracking without a water bath?
- Take it easy on the eggs
- Don’t over-beat the eggs when you add them. Stir on low-speed just until combined after each egg, and make sure to pause after each addition to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Over-beating the eggs can actually ruin the texture of your cheesecake and can cause cheesecake to crack.
- Don’t open the oven!
- I know how tempting it is to want to check on your cheesecake before it’s finished baking, but opening the oven door can drastically reduce the temperature of your oven, slowing the baking process and causing your cheesecake to sink.
- Free your crust!
- Once your cheesecake is done baking, run a knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen it from the sides. Otherwise, as the cheesecake cools and contracts, it will stick to the sides and the tension may cause cracks.
- Cool at room temperature before moving to the fridge
- I always let my cheesecake come to room temperature on top of the oven before transferring it to the refrigerator to chill and set completely.
Can I also mention here that even if your cheesecake totally does crack in the middle, it hardly even matters because we’re going to be covering it with a thick, dreamy layer of chocolate ganache?
How do I know if my cheesecake is finished baking?
- Touch and jiggle! Look for edges that are set (they may even be beginning to turn a golden brown) with a center that still slightly jiggles but bounces back to the touch.
Once your cheesecake is finished baking and chilled, I really recommend topping it off with whipped cream. This is completely optional and may seem like overkill when you already have these three rich chocolate pieces (Oreo crust, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate ganache), but the airiness of the whipped cream almost seems to lighten up the chocolate decadence.
For this recipe I used a half batch of my favorite homemade whipped cream.
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How to Make Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 1/3 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips (240g)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (120ml)
- 1/2 batch homemade whipped cream optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and wrap the outside of a 9" springform pan with foil (this is to prevent any leaks). Prepare Oreo crust according to recipe instructions and set aside.
- Chop your chocolate bars into small pieces (if using chocolate chips, you do not need to chop) and place in a medium-sized bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir well. Microwave again for 15 seconds and stir again, repeat until chocolate is smooth and completely melted.
- In a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand-mixer), beat together softened cream cheese and sugar, scraping down the sides with a spatula occasionally to ensure ingredients are mixed well. (beat on medium-speed about 1-2 minutes, scraping down side occasionally).
- Add sour cream and stir well, pausing once to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Stir in vanilla extract.
- Stir in melted chocolate until completely combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just mixed after each addition (and scraping down the sides after each addition).
- Spread cheesecake batter evenly over prepared cookie crust.
- Bake on 350F (175C) for 40-45 minutes or until cheesecake is set in the center and springs back to the touch.
- Allow cheesecake to cool to room temperature, and then transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 6 hours before covering with ganache.
- Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Allow ganache to cool for 10 minutes and then pour evenly over cheesecake. Allow ganache to set before topping with whipped cream (if using) and slicing and serving.