February: Mocha Cheesecake

After the Super Bowl cake fail to start the month, I decided the redo would be a cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday on February 8. I gave her the option of a chocolate cake (using a different, tried-and-true recipe) or a cheesecake. She voted for a cheesecake, so I bought the ingredients for the New York cheesecake in the Cake Bible. In between buying the ingredients and actually baking the cake, I changed my mind: why make a plain cheesecake when you can make a mocha one?

I consulted the Internet and found a great looking recipe from Taste of Home. Since I’d already purchased the ingredients based on the Cake Bible recipe, I had to make a few adaptations. The new recipe is somewhere in between the two, and since it is unique enough from both, I can give it to you here (Recipe PDF: Mocha Cheesecake).

An Oreo cookie crust is an excellent base for any cheesecake. Wrap the pan in foil to keep it dry while baking in the water bath. I only had a small roll -- if you have the extra large roll of foil, you will have more success.
An Oreo cookie crust is an excellent base for any cheesecake. Wrap the pan in foil to keep it dry while baking in the water bath. I only had a small roll — if you have the extra large roll of foil, you will have more success.

Any good mocha cheesecake starts with a chocolate cookie crust. I couldn’t find any plain chocolate wafers, so my son and I had to free some Oreos from their filling. I crushed the wafers into 1 1/2 cups of crumbs, combined them with 1/4 cup melted butter, pressed them into my greased 9″ springform pan, and baked them for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I then made the filling and split it roughly in half, with one portion slightly smaller. Into the smaller portion I mixed 2 cups melted chocolate (I used half semi-sweet and half white chocolate because that’s what I had, but all semi-sweet would have been better), and layered that on top of the pre-baked crust. I then mixed instant coffee granules, cinnamon, and hot water together and added them to the remaining portion of filling, which I spooned on top of the first layer.

To keep the cheesecake from over-baking, I wrapped the pan in aluminum foil and placed it in a roasting pan with 1 inch of water. I didn’t wrap it particularly well, so some water seeped in during baking. The crust was less crunchy than it could have been, but it was still fine.

After baking and cooling, it was still pretty jiggly, and a light press left a hole in top. I was worried, but it turned out to be done enough.
After baking and cooling, it was still pretty jiggly, and a light press left a hole in top. I was worried, but it turned out to be done enough.

The two original recipes had different baking times — 45 or 60 minutes, depending on who you asked. At 45 it still seemed too wet, so I let it go to 60, and then let it cool in the oven with the door closed for another hour. It still seemed too wet. I touched the top. It felt too wet. After much internal debate, I decided to let it go, which was the right answer. It wasn’t the stiffest cheesecake, but the chocolate and coffee are likely to blame for that, and it was certainly sliceable.

 

 

The chocolate glaze covered the hole, but it still seemed unfinished without the lace wrap.
The chocolate glaze covered the hole, but it still seemed unfinished without the lace wrap.

The chocolate glaze on top covered the hole I’d made while testing it earlier, and as a finishing touch, I decided to give the chocolate lace wrap another go.

Since I still didn’t have enough semi-sweet chocolate, the wrap is half semi-sweet and half white chocolate. Instead of a complex pattern, I went with just a random swirl.

I finished it off with a birthday greeting in some basic powdered sugar frosting I had around.

 

The final product: a layered mocha cheesecake with and Oreo crust, chocolate glaze, and chocolate lace crust. Happy birthday, Mom!
The final product: a layered mocha cheesecake with and Oreo crust, chocolate glaze, and chocolate lace crust. Happy birthday, Mom!

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