It finally happened. I turned 30. And the best part is, it didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I celebrated like I’ve not celebrated a birthday in many years, with multiple nights of revelry, shameless hints about presents, and to top it all off, a formal dinner party for 15 at our house on Saturday night. Will and Mary even flew in from Long Beach for the big event. Sure, there were plenty of “what did I get myself into?” moments, mostly around how we would fit all those people into our living room and what would they sit on, but it was well worth it.
I baked this cheesecake for dessert, garnishing it with candied orange peel for an even more dramatic effect. Our stepmother, Michele, is a fabulous cook and baker and her cheesecakes really are famous among everyone who knows her, and many who do not. Less than half an hour after the five course meal, our little party of 15 wolfed down nearly the entire cake.
Michele’s Chocolate Cheesecake
My favorite birthday cake growing up, this cheesecake is just about perfect – smooth, creamy, rich, tangy, and succulent. I often make it for pot lucks, and it is always popular. Use a high quality baking chocolate for the ultimate in silky, complex, decadence. To slice cleanly and easily, wipe down the knife and heat it in a cup of hot water between each slice.
For the crust
- 25 chocolate wafers, crushed
- 6 tbs unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
For the cake
- 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 tbs cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together wafers and butter and press into a well-buttered 10 inch springform pan. Chill while you assemble the cake. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Beat in melted chocolate, cocoa, and vanilla blending thoroughly. Beat in the sour cream.
Pour mixture into the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The cake might look runny, but it will firm up as it chills. Cool at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.