Light and fluffy souffle-like cheesecakes are nice, but not everyone is going to be satisfied with that type of texture for a cheesecake. Others want their cheesecake to be rich, creamy and dense. In fact, this sort of texture is almost a signature of cheesecakes, since few other baked good can (or would want to) achieve it. This Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake is a great example of this type of cheesecake. It is rich and filling to the point where you really only want to eat a small slice at a time, but it has a great flavor and is satisfyingly smooth and creamy to eat.
The flavor for this cake was, not surprisingly, inspired by one of my favorite drink combinations: coffee and chocolate. I started out with a chocolate crust, an easy one to make that doesn’t need to be cooled before the batter is poured on top. Cheesecakes don’t typically have a lot of liquid added to them, and when they do, it is often something that adds extra richness, like cream. I opted to use instant espresso powder to add a good shot of coffee flavor to the cheesecake. Instant coffee powder will work just as well, so use what you have on hand.
I used melted chocolate to get the chocolate into the cheesecake. I used semisweet chocolate (61% cacao), but you can go with a darker or milder chocolate as long as you choose a good-quality one. You can either use the microwave or a double boiler to melt your chocolate, but be sure to let it cool down before incorporating it into the batter. The melted chocolate doesn’t do too much to change the consistency of the batter (unlike a dry ingredient like cocoa powder that might thicken it up too much). The batter will be quite thick, perfect for suspending chocolate chips or chocolate chunks without letting them fall to the bottom of the cake.
The finished cake is absolutely gorgeous looking, and mine baked up to be both even and smooth. Thicker batters seem to hold together better during baking and not crack as much (although I don’t personally mind if the cake cracks), and there is no need to use a waterbath for this cake, either. The coffee flavor is mild, but comes through the chocolate flavor just enough to round out the dessert and give the flavor some dimension. I could only handle small slices, but you can bet that I went back for a few of them.
Mocha Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
16-oz cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant coffee/espresso powder
3 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
4-oz bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F.
Make the Crust: In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in flour and cocoa powder until mixture is sandy and well-combined. Pour into a 9-inch round springform pan and press into an even layer
Bake for 15 minutes.
While the crust bakes, prepare the filling: In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. Beat in vanilla extract and coffee powder. Add in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next, and scraping the bowl with a spatula between each addition. Mix in sour cream, followed by melted chocolate. Stir in chocolate chips.
When the crust comes out of the oven, pour filling into the still-hot pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.
Turn oven down to 300F and put pan back inside.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until just set. The cheesecake may jiggle slightly, but should jiggle evenly; the center should not be loose.
Cool on a wire rack until cake reaches room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve.