Apparently is was National Chocolate Week in the UK last week. I have no idea how I missed it......... Did I even know there was a National Chocolate Week? To be honest........ No......... Well, not consciously anyway.........
It seems that in the depths of my psyche, something instinctive was stirring anyway. Perhaps I could sense the sweet heavenly aroma and happiness that is chocolate spreading across the nation in recognition of this little known annual celebration. Either way, somehow I managed to join in, even if it was by default (or through an unconscious psychic response). My offering to the deliciously versatile substance? A wonderful double chocolate cheesecake.......
I haven't made a cheesecake in ages, but I thought I would bake one for my husband to celebrate his birthday last week. I mostly make vanilla cheesecakes and rarely make a baked variety. But I found an amazing-looking baked chocolate cheesecake whilst I was thumbing through Nigella Lawson's 'Feast' and thought it sounded a perfect alternative to the usual birthday fare.
I adapted the base slightly as Nigella's version was not gluten free and added a hint of hazelnut to compliment the chocolate, by grinding some in with the biscuits and cocoa. I also deviated from the suggested dark chocolate glaze and topped this cake with a thick white chocolate sauce and some fresh raspberries to give a wonderful contrast of colours, polarity of flavours and rich caramel-sweet creamy decadence.
I've left the baked bit in the middle just as Nigella intended............. a luscious thick layer of soft, chocolaty, deliciousness. Well................ you can't change 'goddess' perfection can you?
The end result is truly delicious, totally divine and looks and tastes amazing for any celebration.
Double Chocolate Cheesecake (adapted from Nigella Lawson - 'Chocolate Cheesecake' (Feast))
IngredientsFor the gluten free base
200g gluten free digestive biscuits
50g gluten free amaretti biscuits (I used Orgran Amaretti Biscotti)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
120g butter (cubed)
For the filling
175g good quality dark chocolate (chopped or cubed)
500g Philadelphia cream cheese
150g caster sugar
1 tablespoon custard powder
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
150 ml soured cream
½ teaspoon cocoa powder (dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)
For the topping and decoration
80g white chocolate (chopped or cubed)
100 ml double cream
1 teaspoon golden syrup
chocolate curl sprinkles
150g fresh raspberries
- Get ready a 23cm/9 inch spring-form, non-stick round cake tin (7cm/3 inch deep). If not non-stick, base line with baking paper. You will also need a roasting pan large enough for the cake tin to fit in comfortably (to make a water bath).
- Crush the biscuits and hazelnuts together with the cocoa using a food processor until you have chunky crumbs.
- Add the butter and pulse briefly to mix with the crumbs and break down the butter.
- Tip the crumb mix into the tin and press down firmly to make an even base. Set aside in the fridge to chill whilst you make the filling.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4.
- Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl either using a microwave set to medium on 30 second bursts (stirring well between each), or sitting the bowl over a gently simmering saucepan of water (but not touching the water). Cool slightly.
- Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with the sugar and custard powder until combined and soft.
- Add and beat in the whole eggs, followed by the egg yolks and finally the soured cream. Ensure they are fully combined and smooth.
- Finally add the melted chocolate and liquid cocoa and mix again until smooth.
- Take the cake tin out of the fridge and carefully line the outside with 2 layers of cling-film and a layer of strong foil, making sure there are no holes at the base, so that the cake is protected from the water bath.
- Pour the mix into the cake tin on top of the biscuit base and smooth the top.
- Place the cake tin into the roasting pan and fill with just boiled water to about half way up the cake tin.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the top of the cheesecake is set but the underneath still has a slight wobble.
- Remove from the oven when cooked and take off the foil and cling-film, before leaving to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Once cool, place in the fridge and leave to fully set for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
- To make the topping, melt the chocolate with the cream and golden syrup in a saucepan over a gently heat, stirring frequently, then beat with a spoon or whisk until smooth and silky.
- Allow to cool and then spoon and spread over the surface of the cake. Save any left over to use as an additional sauce to accompany the cake.
- Decorate with raspberries and chocolate curls and enjoy!