I’ve been baking since I was a kid. For a long time my repertoire was limited to cookies, brownies and sheet cakes. Nothing to sneeze at but I felt the need to expand my horizons. My mother is queen of the layer cake so a phone call in that direction could always get her world-famous (or at least anyone-who’s-ever-tried-it famous) chocolate cake whipped up if’n you were in her good graces; so why bake when you could get delivery?! It’s like DiGiorno only better. And chocolate. I decided my foray in a new direction would be “fancy” cakes and I would start with cheesecake. Et viola! The choco-colada cheesecake came to be in my life.
I would give due credit to the creator of this recipe but my copy is typed and marked up by yours truly with no note of where it originally came from. This was the early 90s so I’m pretty sure it was from a printed source. Whatever its origin, I thank it profusely!
This cheesecake has a crisp dark chocolate bottom crust, a light, creamy, very coconut-y center and the perfect amount of chocolate swirl to balance. Along with experience making my shortbread-crusted lemon cheesecake, I can vouch for the ease of making these babies even for a novice. Any cheesecake is easy actually; a great gateway fancy cake. Go for it! And let me know if you do. If you’ve got a great cheesecake, please share in the comments.
To get this show on the road, preheat the oven and then melt the chocolate chips. I microwave them in a glass bowl for one minute, let sit for two, and then stir and set aside. Hopping onto my ingredient soapbox for a minute, please only use real semi-sweet chocolate chips. Anything made of “artificial chocolate” is going to taste like it. Hopping down now. Plié! Plié! Grand jeté … and bow.
The cookies can easily be crushed in a Ziploc bag using a rolling pin. I, however, like to dirty extra dishes for the kitchen faerie and am slightly OCD about uniform crumb size so I use the food processor. If you go the FP route, just pulse a few times and then add the melted butter and pulse again.
The springform pan needs to be wrapped in heavy duty foil with no seams (which water can find and breach, it’s wily that way). This will eventually be put into a deep dish pizza pan though any deep pan that can hold the springform pan with enough room to add water will work. Get this lined up before you start; nothing like hunting for hardware while you’re elbow deep in the batter trenches. HOWEVER, when you pre-bake the crust, you do not need the water bath. Just pop onto the center rack of the preheated oven.
Cheesecake is really best after at least six hours in the refrigerator, overnight is even better. Since you have to plan ahead for this anyway, add an extra hour or so before making to get the ingredients to room temperature. It helps the batter to whip up fluffier and bake more evenly.
Once all of the ingredients are mixed together, pour into the par-baked crust and smooth the surface.
Very carefully (snort! see above) drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the cheesecake filling and run a knife through it to swirl. Put the very (not very) carefully scraped clean bowl of chocolate leavin’s aside … chef’s treat! No spoon required.
The easiest way to get things situated in the oven without scalding yourself or causing a tidal wave into your cake pan: QUICKLY open the oven door, place the larger pan on the middle rack, put the loaded springform pan in the center of the larger pan, pour in hot water (I use the electrical kettle though hot tap water will work) about 2 inches up the side of pan without splashing. Close the oven door. Viola! Now go enjoy that cook’s treat and recall that there is, in fact, no kitchen faerie so do the dishes … it’ll kill time.
Once baked, ooh and aah over the beauty and sniff in the luscious aroma …. And then leave the cake alone. Let it cool completely on a rack on the counter. Once cooled to room temperature, wrap the whole kit and caboodle in two layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate at least six hours. Overnight is best. Two days ahead is just fine, too. This is an excellent dessert for a stress-free dinner party. It’s make-ahead, feeds a crowd, easy to make and very well received. Except by coconut haters. They can’t be helped. Just pour them more wine and ignore their drooling and whinging.
1 – 9 oz pkg Nabisco Famous (chocolate) wafers
7 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
4 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 ¼ cup sugar
2 T flour
4 large eggs (room temperature)
2 Tbs whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
To make the crust:
Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the outside with heavy duty aluminum foil making sure it will be watertight (no seams). Have a deep-sided pan which is larger than the springform pan ready which will be used for a water bath. Crush chocolate wafers into crumbs using either a food process or by hand. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter. If you used a food processor to make the crumbs, just add the butter into the crumb and pulse a few times to combine. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the springform pan and an inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside on a rack to cool.
To make the filling:
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler just until melted. Set aside. Beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer until smooth. Add in sugar and beat until incorporated and smooth, stopping mixer to scrape down sides and beater. Add in flour. Beat to blend. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add cream and both extracts. Scrape down sides of bowl and beaters. Mix to combine. Add the coconut, mix to combine. Pour the filling into the crust. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the filling. Using a sharp knife or chopstick (which works better), swirl the chocolate through the top of the filling, leaving a marbled pattern or whatever strikes your fancy.
Put the cake pan into the larger pan and fill the larger pan with boiling or very hot tap water about 2 inches up the side of the pan. This is generally more easily accomplished if you’ve sat the pans onto the oven rack first but you have to work fast. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes. Check after one hour. If it’s firm – no jiggle – remove then. Otherwise, go the full time. Remove from the oven carefully from the water bath. Remove the foil and set onto a cooling rack until completely cooled (a few hours if possible). Once cooled to room temperature, wrap the cake (still in the springform pan) and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
When you are ready to serve, loosen the sides of the springform pan and remove. I leave the pan bottom and place the whole thing on a cake platter. It’s rich so slices can be thin. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. It does freeze okay but needs to defrost overnight in the fridge.