Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake (or birthday dessert 2021) is a luscious decadent treat. The raspberry jam helps to cut through some of the rich chocolate and makes this a perfectly divine dessert that’s perfect for a special celebration, birthday, or holiday treat.
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Today’s delicious recipe comes to us courtesy of my wonderful husband and it was adapted from Baker by Nature. As many of my readers know, every year my husband makes a special birthday dessert for me. He says that I cook for him all the other days, so he likes to do something special for me and make a special dessert for my birthday.
Lately, I don’t even have to pick out the recipe; he finds these amazing desserts for me!
Last year (2020) he made a Japanese cheesecake for me, which, unfortunately I never posted the recipe for.
2019 was this amazing Chocolate S’more Pie
2018 he made these Lemon Souffle Magic Cakes
In 2017 he made a Lemon Souffle Cheesecake
2010 was Lemon Cream Pie
He’s been making a special birthday treat since before 2010 (before I even started writing this blog), so I don’t even have records of how far back this goes.
Tips for a great cheesecake
A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe for Instant Pot Lemon Cheesecake, and in that post I gave a bunch of tips and tricks for making a great cheesecake. If you want to go read all of those details, please feel free. But, for this post I figured I’d simply summarize the tips.
Use Room Temperature Ingredients
Using room temperature ingredients is probably the most important part of the process. Pull all of the ingredients out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you plan to make the cheesecake. If the ingredients are cold they will not incorporate well, and the dessert may be gritty, lumpy, look curdled, or overbeaten.
Don’t add too much air to the batter
Combine the filling enough to be smooth, but don’t over mix and add air to the cheesecake batter.
Since this recipe makes a really big cheesecake with a thick batter, I recommend using a stand mixer to make it. Use the paddle attachment and mix on a medium-low setting. This will help you avoid mixing in too much air.
After you pour the batter into the springform pan, pick up the pan and gently tap the bottom on the counter a few times to bring air bubbles to the surface. Then, pop those air bubbles with a fork.
An instant read thermometer can be helpful
You can use an instant read thermometer two times in making a cheesecake to help you get great results. Use it to make sure the ingredients are at room temperature: room temp is between 70° and 75° F.
And use that thermometer again at the end of baking to see if the internal temperature of the cheesecake between 140° to 150° F.
When is the cheesecake done?
The cheesecake will be a little jiggly in the center, a bit like Jell-O, and the outer ring of the cheesecake should look slightly puffed. The cheesecake is ready to come out when the middle is between 140° to 150° F.
What if it’s over cooked? It may start to crack, or the center may puff up. If this happens, immediately remove the cheesecake from the pressure cooker, and allow it to cool. Cracks may also show up if the cheesecake cooled a little too quickly.
Cracks won’t affect the flavor at all, so don’t worry about them. Besides, you can cover the cheesecake with the sour cream topping and no one will ever see the top!
Waiting is the hardest part
It’s after chilling and fully setting that the cheesecake gets its velvety, smooth texture. So, serve the cheesecake straight from the fridge, or let it come back up to room temperature after fully chilling.
This is a great make ahead dessert because you can bake the cheesecake up to three days before you plan to serve it. Keep it refrigerated in the springform pan covered with foil until you plan to serve.
Leftover cheesecake will keep in the fridge for up to five days.
Can I freeze this cheesecake?
Absolutely! And, because this makes a nice big dessert, you may want to squirrel some of it away for a later date!
Chill the cheesecake thoroughly in the refrigerator as directed in the recipe card. Cut the cheesecake into portions. Wrap it well in plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to eat, thaw a slice or two in the fridge or on the counter.
What kind of chocolate should I use?
I recently saw a segment on America’s Test Kitchen that Baker’s chocolate won their taste tests. Baker’s is the brand I usually buy as well. The company had been around a long time, has a good quality consistent chocolate with no weird flavors, and is usually available in most grocery stores.
The chocolate in both the cheesecake and the ganache should be semi-sweet. You can go by the label (it should simply say “semi-sweet”) or if it lists a percentage of cocoa, choose a chocolate between 55% and 70% cocoa.
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Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Recipe
Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
- 9 ounces Nabisco Famous chocolate wafers
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 24 ounces full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 & ½ tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 4 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks at room temperature
- ¾ cup heavy cream at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
- 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 1 & ¼ cups heavy cream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
For Garnish (optional)
- fresh raspberries
- natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. The pan will be in a water bath, so be sure the pan has been wrapped completely. Set the prepared pan aside.
Make the Crust
- Break wafers into smaller pieces, and place in a food processor; pulse until fine crumbs. Add butter to cookie crumbs, and process until well blended. Press the cookie mixture into the bottom and up the sides, about ½-inch, of a removable-bottom tart pan. Set aside.
For the Cheesecake:
- Fill a medium pot one-third full with water and bring it to a low simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pan snugly, but will not touch the simmering water.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the 12 ounces chopped chocolate and 2 teaspoons espresso powder into the bowl of the double boiler. Heat until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat, leaving the bowl of chocolate over the hot water. Set aside until needed.
- Using a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, blend the 24 ounces cream cheese on low until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add in 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup light brown sugar, and 2 & ½ tablespoons cocoa powder and beat until smooth. Add in the 4 eggs and 2 egg yolks, one at a time, beating until just combined, about 15-20 seconds each.
- Slowly add in ¾ cup heavy cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and mix until just combined, about 20 seconds.
- Remove the bowl from the food processor, and using a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate into the cheesecake batter, ensuring that the batter is evenly blended. The batter will be very thick at this point.
- Pour half of the cheesecake filling over the prepared crust. Spoon the raspberry jam over the filling, and lightly swirl it into the filling. Pour the remaining batter on top.
- Place the foil wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan or large baking pan. Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to come up the sides of the springform pan about 1-inch.
- Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set but still slightly jiggly. You can also test it with an instant read thermometer to see if it has reached between 140° to 150° F. The cake will set completely as it cools.
- Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Carefully loosen the foil, then immediately run the tip of a knife or an offset spatula around the sides of the pan, to prevent the top from cracking as it cools.
- Let the cake cool completely in the springform pan, then transfer the cheesecake to the refrigerator to chill for at least 6 hours before adding the ganache.
For the Ganache:
- Add 8 ounces chopped chocolate to a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium-heat, bring 1 & ¼ cups heavy cream to a rolling boil then immediately remove from heat. Pour the cream on top of the chocolate pieces and set aside for 1 minute. With a whisk, mix the melted chocolate into the cream, until smooth and glossy.
- Using a spatula, add in ¼ cup butter and stir until the butter is completely melted. The ganache will be dark and glossy. Pour the ganache over the cooled cheesecake. Place in refrigerator until ganache is set, about 1 hour.
To Garnish & serve:
- Top cheesecake with fresh raspberries and a dusting of cocoa powder.
- To serve, slice the cheesecake with a thin-bladed sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between each cut.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
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