April 11, 2012

Chocolate Cheesecake Cake

While I gave up chocolate during Lent, I came across some amazing recipes that involved chocolate. When I found this Chocolate Cheesecake Cake on Recipe Girl, I knew immediately that I wanted to make this for dessert for Easter dinner. (In reality, I wanted to make this for Easter dinner, but my family is a bit more traditional and prefers ham and kugelis for the meal itself.)

This is every bit as decadent as it looks and sounds. This is probably one of my favorite creations as it looks as impressive as a dessert from a fancier restaurant and tastes incredibly rich. The recipe involves several steps, but it's relatively easy to put together. (This was my first time making a layered cake, cutting cakes to stack evenly and making chocolate curls. None of it was difficult.)

Below is the recipe, but please check out Recipe Girl for her step-by-step instructions.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cake
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
Chocolate curls

To prepare the cheesecake, preheat oven to 325ºF. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Bring approximately 4 cups of water to a boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray, and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan to seal the pan from the water. Place chocolate in a medium glass bowl. Melt in the microwave in 30 second bursts until the chocolate is melted and smooth, stirring after each burst. Set the chocolate aside, and let it cool off until it is lukewarm but still pourable. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese to blend until smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and cocoa powder, and blend until incorporated, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Mix in the lukewarm chocolate until smooth. (The batter will be very thick.) Scrape it into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.

Set the pan into the roasting pan in the preheated oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan (it will fill the pan surrounding the cheesecake) so there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan, and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freeze,r and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours or overnight.

To prepare the cakes, preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans. Line the bottom with rounds of parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add espresso powder, eggs, 1/4 cup of the buttermilk, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Add the remaining buttermilk, and beat on low speed for 15 to 30 seconds, until just blended. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack and remove parchment paper rounds to cool completely.

To prepare the frosting, in a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and butter. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir, until melted and smooth. Whisk the sour cream and corn syrup into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm enough to spread.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake (with a sharp knife) to get it to the same size as your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake using a long, thin spatula to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Be sure to wipe off your spatula each time you are about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting to avoid transferring crumbs. Don't worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to "set" the frosting.

Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer. Start by adding a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Because you applied a crumb-coat layer, you shouldn't have any crumbs floating around in the final frosting layer. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Keep this cake refrigerated until it is devoured!

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