Exceptionally decadent Baked Chocolate Cheesecake. This is a Nigella Cheesecake that has been adapted to make it gluten free. Easy recipe. Perfect for celebrations.
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Originally Published 23rd October 2013… Updated 6th April 2023
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My gluten free version of the Nigella Chocolate Cheesecake
THIS Chocolate Cheesecake is a Nigella Cheesecake. And yes! It’s gluten free. Of course, Nigella didn’t make it gluten free… But apart from a simple biscuit switch, ALL cheesecakes are basically ‘safe’. So… you can still enjoy recipes from the best-known of celebrity chefs with no ‘conversion’ skills whatsoever.
I first made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Cheesecake as a gluten free dessert back in 2013. It was my husband’s birthday cake. He much prefers cheesecake to standard sponges and thumbing through her book ‘Feast’ I stumbled across this recipe, which I decided would be perfect.
Indeed, it is delicious, if exceptionally rich and filling. Seriously… a little goes a ridiculously long way. But nonetheless, it makes a great dessert for special occasions, whether birthdays, Easter, or Christmas… Or when you need something memorable for a dinner party.
Is this a recipe for a baked or no-bake Chocolate Cheesecake?
Nigella’s recipe is for a Baked Chocolate Cheesecake. It contains eggs to make it set and is baked in a ‘water bath’ (a roasting tin, part-filled with boiling water). This protects the cake from the harsh heat of the oven, allowing a gentle bake for the perfect texture.
Although I usually tend to make no-bake cheesecakes, baked versions are definitely worth the extra effort for their alternative and rather special texture.
Changes made to the recipe to make it gluten free
The key change made to the recipe to make it safe for our Coeliac family was to adapt the base. This was done by using digestive biscuits that are certified gluten free. I did however, also double the quantity of the biscuit-base ingredients, as the cheesecake topping is so rich, it needed (in my opinion…) a better balance of ‘crunch’ alongside it. Plus… I added some hazelnuts to complement the chocolate and bring a nutty bite.
The main baked chocolate cheesecake filling is as Nigella intended. However, I did alter her decoration. While Nigella uses a dark chocolate glaze, I drizzled my dessert with thick white chocolate sauce, both to add a contrast of colour and flavour.
I then added raspberries to the top, for some very welcome sharpness against the rich chocolate. Being super-pretty, they brought beautiful eye-catching pops of red!
All in all a truly delicious, utterly divine dessert.
Tips for making the perfect Baked Chocolate Cheesecake
Sure… there are a couple of extra steps to making a baked Chocolate Cheesecake. These are primarily centred around the baking process. Otherwise, making a baked cheesecake is as easy as making a no-bake cheesecake. So what are the key things you need to be aware of?
- Follow the recipe. Please! It’s your ‘road map’ to getting the best result.
- Use a DEEP (minimum 3 inches/7 cm) baking tin. This will not only offer a good height, but will help to protect the cheesecake when baking in the water bath.
- Base-line the cake tin. Although a non-stick cake tin should be good enough, the last thing you need is for it to get stuck. Baking paper takes away that element of risk to ensure you bake with confidence.
- Line the outside of the tin with both clingfilm and foil and make ABSOLUTELY SURE there are no holes or gaps through which water might permeate. The foil and film should cover the base and sides in single sheets, as if making a bag for the tin to sit in snuggly.
Mixing and baking tips
- Pack the biscuit mixture tightly into the tin for the most robust base.
- Melt the chocolate with care as instructed in the recipe and avoid getting ANY additional liquid in the bowl. A tiny drop of liquid will result in the chocolate ‘seizing’ into a hard mess.
- Be GENTLE when you beat the ingredients for the chocolate cheesecake filling. If you beat too hard and fast, the mixture may ‘split’. So use the mixer on a lower setting!
- Add the boiling water to the roasting tin after the tin and unbaked cheesecake have been placed on the oven shelf. This will help protect from any inadvertent burns or spills. Gently pull the shelf out a little to give enough leverage to fill the tin safely.
- Judge the baking by sight and feel as much as by timing. Depending on the size of the tin used, the cheesecake may take longer or shorter to bake. It is ready when the top is firm, but the underneath still has a slight wobble. And it’s fine if the top cracks a little.
- Once baked, carefully remove the wet film and foil from the tin and allow the cheesecake to cool completely IN THE TIN on a wire rack. When it is cold, place it in the fridge to chill and set for AT LEAST 3 to 4 hours (and preferably overnight).
Do I need any special equipment to make this gluten free baked Chocolate Cheesecake?
You probably have what you need to make a baked Chocolate Cheesecake already in the kitchen. None of it is ‘special’ as such… But nonetheless, here’s a rundown of the key equipment you’ll need to make it:
- Either an 8-inch or 9-inch springform cake tin that is at least 3 inches deep. For a taller cheesecake, use the 8-inch tin. And for a wider cheesecake, use the 9-inch tin.
- Kitchen Scales.
- A blender (or food processor) to grind the biscuit crumbs and break down the chilled butter.
- Heat-proof (Pyrex) bowl for melting chocolate.
- A roasting tin that is large enough to easily fit the baking tin (to act as a water bath).
- Good quality clingfilm and strong, wide foil.
- A whisk – hand-operated is fine!
Can I make this gluten free Chocolate Cheesecake with low-fat cream cheese and cream?
No! The nature of cheesecakes and the function of the fat to ensuring they set and taste exactly as they should, means that only full-fat cheese and cream will do!
How to store your Gluten Free Chocolate Cheesecake
Because your gluten free Chocolate Cheesecake is made with dairy products, it is essential that it is stored in the fridge. Make sure it is kept in an airtight container (or gently covered and sealed with clingfilm). This will ensure both the best freshness and protection from any strong fridge smells.
Providing it is stored correctly, it should stay fresh for 4 to 5 days. However, if topping with raspberries, you may wish to decorate on the day of serving (as raspberries can go mushy unexpectedly quick).
Ready to make Nigella’s Baked Chocolate Cheesecake?
The recipe for this very decadent gluten free baked Chocolate Cheesecake is just below. Scroll down an extra inch to find it… It’s all ready to print too. Just turn on your printer and press the print button on the recipe card!
If you love cheesecake, but baking isn’t your thing, we also have several ‘no-bake’ cheesecakes on the blog, which you may enjoy instead:
- Strawberry Cheesecake (a favourite made with roasted strawberries)
- Banoffee Cheesecake (utterly sinful and the perfect combination of cheesecake, banana and toffee)
- Baileys Cheesecake with Chocolate (a popular favourite with readers)
- Blackberry Cheesecake with Coconut (the lightest cheesecake I have ever eaten and perfect for making the best of blackberry season)
For everything else, head over to our incredible Gluten Free Recipe Index. It has literally hundreds of recipes (sweet, savoury and everything in between) to help you through your gluten free journey.
All shared with my love
Baked Chocolate Cheesecake
- 8 inch/20 cm non stick deep springform cake tin Min 3 inch deep. Can use a 9 inch tin.
- large roasting tin
- blender/food processor
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- cling film and foil
- 250 g digestive biscuits or Hob Nobs (gluten free)
- 50 g chopped hazelnuts
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 120 g unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 175 g dark chocolate (good quality) – chopped or cubed
- 500 g Philadelphia cream cheese
- 150 g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 1 tbsp custard powder (or corn starch if unable to find custard powder)
- 3 large eggs UK large size (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’
- 3 large egg yolks UK large size (Canadian ‘Extra Large’; Australian ‘Jumbo’; and US ‘Extra or Very Large’
- 150 g soured cream
- ½ tsp cocoa powder dissolved in a tiny drop of hot water to make a loose paste.
White Chocolate Drizzle Topping
- 90 g white chocolate chopped
- 100 g double cream
- 1 tsp glucose syrup (or golden syrup)
- 150 g fresh raspberries (approx)
- chocolate sprinkles/grated/chopped
- Prepare either a 20 cm/8 inch or 23cm/9 inch spring-form, non-stick round cake tin (7cm/3 inch deep). Base-line with baking paper.
- Also find and have ready a roasting pan large enough for the cake tin to fit inside comfortably (to make a water bath).
- Grind the biscuits with the cocoa using a food processor to make coarse biscuit crumbs.
- Add the chopped hazelnuts.
- 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 with the back of a spoon to make an even base. Set aside in the fridge to chill.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4
- Melt the dark chocolate in a glass bowl either using a microwave set at medium on 30 second bursts (stirring well between each)… Or setting the bowl over a gently simmering saucepan of water (not touching the water), stirring frequently. Cool slightly.
- Lightly 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 the mixture is fully combined and smooth.
- Finally add the melted chocolate and cocoa paste and mix again until smooth.
- Take the cake tin from the fridge and very carefully line the outside with 2 layers of clingfilm and a layer of strong foil, making sure there are no holes at the base, so that the tin is completely sealed at the sides and protected from the water bath.
- Pour the chocolate filling mixture into the cake tin on top of the biscuit base and smooth the top.
- Boil a kettle.
- Place the cake tin into the roasting pan and carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan to about half way up the cake tin. Be careful not to get any water in the cheesecake tin. (It may help to do this with the cake tin placed on the (pulled out) oven shelf).
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the top of the cheesecake is set but the underneath still has a slight wobble. (if making a deeper 8 inch cheesecake, the cooking time may be longer by 10 to 15 minutes… If worried the cake might burn, turn down a notch)
- When baked, remove the cheesecake from the oven and take off the foil and cling-film. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.
- Once cold, place in the fridge and leave to fully set for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours (and preferably overnight).
White Chocolate Drizzle and Decoration
- Melt the white chocolate with the cream and syrup in a small saucepan over a gentle heat, stirring frequently. Then beat with a spoon or whisk until smooth and silky.
- Allow to cool before spooning/spreading over the surface of the cake. (Save any left over to use as additional sauce to accompany the cake).
- Decorate the top with raspberries and chocolate curls and enjoy.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist