Here is my recipe for the best ever Triple Chocolate Cheesecake that has a homemade chocolate crust, silky smooth chocolate cheesecake filling and dark chocolate ganache topping with dark chocolate curls. This is the ultimate death by chocolate cheesecake that is perfect for chocolate-lovers.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- Triple chocolate - if you love chocolate, then this is definitely for you. You will love this cheesecake! There's actually chocolate in four ways: cocoa in the crust, chocolate in the filling, dark chocolate ganache and pure chocolate shavings on top.
- No water bath cheesecake - this cheesecake stays nice and smooth without cracking even without using a water bath! Continue reading below to see the *not so secret* ingredient that makes this cheesecake so perfectly smooth on top even without a water bath!
- Homemade cocoa crust - you don't need chocolate biscuits to make the base. Instead I make a homemade crust that stays crisp for longer than a cookie crumb crust, and it's made with just 4 basic ingredients!
- Smooth and creamy texture - the filling is super creamy and silky. It is the best chocolate cheesecake you will ever taste!
- Rich dark chocolate cheesecake - the chocolate taste in the filling is just right! It's not too bitter and not too sweet.
- All-purpose flour - you'll need some flour to make a homemade crust instead of using cookie crumbs. I often like to make a homemade crust because it is simple and it stays crisp for longer. There is no flour in the cheesecake filling.
- Cocoa powder - cocoa is used for the homemade chocolate crust. You can use natural cocoa or Dutch Process cocoa powder. I used Dutch cocoa because it has a darker colour to really stand out.
- Butter - a bit of butter creates the base crust. You can use salted or unsalted here.
- Brown sugar - a bit of brown sugar goes into making the crust and also in the filling for a nice rich robust sweentess.
- Cream cheese - you will need brick cream cheese for this recipe. Do not use the whipped or spreadable kind as it can have a higher water content and thus a lower fat content.
- Granulated sugar - simple fine white granulated sugar balances the sweetness and also binds the moisture to keep the cheesecake silky smooth.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is the main flavour aside from the tangy sweet cheese taste, so use high quality vanilla. I prefer this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Eggs - three whole eggs will set the filling into a silky smooth custard. After all, cheesecake is essentially a baked cheese custard!
- Sour cream - full fat sour cream adds creamy, tangy dairy notes to this cheesecake and also lightens it up since it has a lower fat content than cheese. If you can't get sour cream where you live then you can substitute with full fat yogurt.
- Dark chocolate - plenty of rich dark chocolate gives all of the chocolate taste in the filling. I recommend pure dark chocolate chopped from a block because it has a higher melting quality with higher cocoa butter content so it will remain more fluid in the batter. You can use anything between 50% and 70% dark chocolate. If you prefer to buy chips for convenience, then I recommend these 63% dark chocolate chips.
- Water - yes, water! A bit of hot water in the batter will ensure that the filling stays silky and smooth to replace the water loss during baking. This (along with a gentle baking temperature) is what eliminates the need for a water bath. Use just boiled water because the heat will help keep the chocolate melted so that the batter doesn't set up before it reaches the oven. Hot water will also help soften the texture since the cocoa butter in chocolate is a very hard fat.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
This recipe is super simple. I recommend using an electric hand mixer for best results.
- STEP 1). Make the crust. Stir together flour, cocoa, brown sugar and salt so there are no lumps. Add melted butter and mix until it is well combined and it forms clumps. Tip the mixture into your prepared pan and press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and about ¾-inch up the sides of the pan. Run the back of a spoon across the surface to smooth it out. Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly puffed and feels dry to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack.
- STEP 2). Lower the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
- STEP 3). Make the filling. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy (you can also use a food processor). Gradually beat in water and let mixture stand for 5 minutes (this allows the sugar to dissolve into the moisture from the cheese).
- STEP 4). Mix in eggs. Beat in eggs one at a time and then mix in sour cream until evenly blended. Gently mix in melted chocolate, then mix in hot water. Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust and smooth out the surface.
- STEP 5). Bake. Pour the batter onto the pre-baked crust and spread it out evenly. Pop any air bubbles that you see rising to the surface. Place cheesecake in the oven. Fill a ramekin with boiling water and place it on the rack next to the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes until set around the edges and slightly wobbly in the center. Turn off the oven and leave it in for another 10 minutes.
- STEP 6). Cool. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool. After 10 minutes of cooling, run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the sides and then remove sides of pan. Let cake cool completely and refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
- STEP 7). Make the glaze. Combine water, butter and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and then whisk until smooth and glossy. Stir in salt. Pour the glaze over chilled cheesecake and spread it out evenly. Refrigerate until set before slicing with a hot dry knife.
EXPERT TIPS FOR NEW YORK CHEESECAKE
- Use room temperature ingredients. This is so important! Take the cream cheese out of the fridge for 2 hours prior to baking so it is soft. Also make sure your eggs are at room temperature since a cold egg will not incorporate smoothly.
- Blend the cream cheese with sugar FIRST. You need to beat the cream cheese so it is smooth, then add the sugar. The sugar crystals will tear through the cheese and break it down so it is creamy. You’ll notice that once it is well combined, it will turn glossy. This is a sign that the sugar has bound the moisture in the cream cheese.
- Add the egg only AFTER the sugar is blended. If you add the egg before the sugar, it will most likely leave you with a lumpy batter. That’s because eggs have a very high moisture content and it will be difficult to blend smoothly unless there is sugar present to bind the water.
- Mix in eggs one at a time - ensure that each egg is evenly combined before adding the next one. This will ensure a smooth batter and a smooth batter will crack less.
- Use dark chocolate from a block. Dark chocolate has twice as much cocoa solids compared to milk chocolate and really is necessary to give this cheesecake a rich chocolate taste. Using bar chocolate instead of chocolate chips is better for baking because it has a higher cocoa butter content so that it will melt and incorporate more smoothly.
- Add chocolate while still slightly warm. If you let the chocolate cool completely before you mix it in, it may not incorporate as evenly. The key to a smooth creamy cheesecake is a smooth batter!
- Gently tap the pan on the counter and then pop any air bubbles that come to the surface before baking. Air bubbles will cause cheesecake to crack.
- Gentle baking. To ensure the filling is extra silky smooth, it is important bake these gently at a slightly lower than moderate temperature.
- Do not over-bake. Cheesecake is ready when the edges are set but the center jiggles just slightly. It will continue to set with the residual heat of the pan as it cools. Keep an eye on the baking time. Set a timer for the first time stated in the recipe and check for the jiggle. If it is still wet then set the timer for another 2 minutes and keep checking.
- Do not over-beat. Over-mixing or mixing at a very high speed will incorporate too much air into the mixture. Large bubbles will cause the cheesecake to crack during baking and cooling.
- Chill for at least 2 hours. This is actually one of the most important steps of making cheesecake! Let it cool completely at room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or even overnight. This time lets the proteins set to make a smooth custard gel and will give you the best texture.
How to know when cheesecake is baked?
The key to making any great cheesecake is to be careful not to over bake it. Once the edges are slightly golden and the middle is JUST set with a slight wobble, then it is ready. The residual heat will continue to gently set the filling as it cools.
After all, cheesecake is basically a cheese custard and relies on the gentle cooking of the egg to set the structure. Let it cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing for the best texture and cleanest slices.
What is a substitute for sour cream in chocolate cheesecake?
If sour cream is not available to you where you live, you can also make this recipe using an equal amount of full fat Greek yogurt. Another suitable substitution is crème fraîche -- a type of fermented dairy product somewhere between yogurt and sour cream.
How do I store triple chocolate cheesecake?
This cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Do I need to chill cheesecake after it bakes?
Yes it is important to let the cheesecake chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. This cooling time will allow the custard to set completely for the silkiest texture.
How do I serve chocolate cheesecake?
There is plenty of chocolate going on here, so if you follow the recipe through and through, I don't think it need anything else! But, if you choose to forego the chocolate ganache topping, then I would recommend a berry compote, such as a raspberry or cherry topping. Or, just use some freshly cut fruit! Strawberries or fresh raspberries would be lovely.
How do I prevent cracks in my cheesecake?
There are several ways to prevent cracks in cheesecake. Here are my main tips:
- mix gently and gradually - when blending the cream cheese with the sugar, add the sugar gradually in stages to help it dissolve more thoroughly. If the sugar is dissolved evenly, then it will hold on to the moisture in the cheesecake more tightly to prevent drying out. Also, gently mixing will minimize the amount of air that becomes incorporated into the batter which will help prevent cracking.
- bake at a lower temperature - baking a cheesecake at a moderate or high temperature will cause the eggs to soufflé or puff up and since there is little structure in the batter (i.e. no flour), when the cake cools, it will collapse and crack. Baking at a high temperature will also dry out the surface which will cause tension and cracking.
- cool the cheesecake slowly - taking the cheesecake from a hot oven to a cold air environment will shock it and it will contract. Follow my instructions for gradual cooling.
- pop air bubbles at the surface - before you place the cheesecake in the oven, pop any air bubbles at the surface with a sharp knife.
- loosen the edges of the cake just after baking - when the cheesecake bakes, it will stick to the sides of the pan which is OK because we want it to climb a bit up the sides. But, once it is finished baking, it will contract inwards a bit. If the cake is stuck to the sides then it will not be able to pull in and instead it will crack right in the middle from the tension. So, take a knife and run it around the edges of the cake to loosen the sides.
- use a water bath - you can still use a water bath for this recipe if you absolutely want to guarantee no cracking. To do this, take two layers of aluminum foil and wrap it around the base of the pan and up the sides about 2 inches. Pour the batter into the pan and then place the wrapped pan on a rimmed baking tray. Place the tray with the pan in the oven and then pour boiling water into the tray to come about ½ inch up the sides of the pan so that the pan is surrounded by water. This will create an even, humid baking environment for uniform cooking.
If you love cheesecake, check out these recipes!New York Style CheesecakePerfect Creamy Vanilla Cheesecake RecipeCreamy Raspberry CheesecakePeanut Butter Fudge Swirl Brownie Bottom CheesecakeCookies & Cream Oreo Cheesecake BarsBlueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake BarsCreamy Burnt Basque CheesecakeCreamy Black Cherry Cheesecake BarsChocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecakes
Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 cup 142g all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup 28g cocoa powder (I prefer this one)
- ½ cup 110g packed light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon 84g unsalted butter, melted
- 3 pkgs 750g cream cheese, softened
- ⅔ cup 145g packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup 50g granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- ⅔ cup 150ml sour cream
- 6 oz 170g bittersweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
- ¼ cup 60ml boiling water
- 2 tablespoon 30ml water
- 3 oz 80g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the base of an 8-inch round springform pan with parchment paper.
- To make the crust, blend together flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl so there are no lumps of brown sugar. Stir in melted butter and use your fingertips to combine all ingredients so it forms damp crumbs. Turn the crumbly mixture out into prepared pan and press it down in an even layer, pushing it about ¾-inch up the sides to form an edge. Run the back of a spoon across the surface to smooth it out. Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly puffed and feels dry to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
- To make the filling, beat cream cheese using a hand mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until silky and glossy (you can also use a food processor). Beat in eggs one at a time and then mix in sour cream until evenly blended. Gently mix in melted chocolate until it is evenly incorporated and then mix in hot water until it is smooth.
- Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust and smooth out the surface. Bake for 45 minutes until set around the edges and slightly wobbly in the center. Turn off the oven and leave it in for another 10 minutes. This gentle cooking produces the silkiest texture. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- To make the glaze, combine water and chopped chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until completely melted, smooth and silky. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes, then pour the glaze over chilled cheesecake and spread it out evenly. Refrigerate until set and then top with dark chocolate curls. Slice with a hot dry knife.
- TIP: Even though I have success with this recipe without a water bath, you can still use one to absolutely ensure an extra creamy texture and to guard against cracking. Wrap the base of the round baking pan with a double layer of aluminum foil. Place it onto a rimmed baking tray. Pour boiling water into the baking tray so that it comes about ½-inch up the sides of the foil-wrapped pan and bake as directed.