Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Ultimate Cheesecake: Complete With Chocolate Mousse

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Ready for a ridiculously decadent dessert? Its no secret I have a major sweet tooth. Seriously. I love so many types of foods but desserts have a special place in my recipe repertoire. My husband's birthday was a few weeks ago and I wanted to make something special. Last year I tried my hand at Boston Cream Pie, which was delicious and one of his all-time favorite desserts. Over the years I've made mousse, cakes and a cheesecake.

This year I decided to combine a cheesecake with a mousse and it was AMAZING. Especially that chocolate ganache layer...chocolate + cream = magic!

Of course it was so rich that after we ate a slice we immediately needed a nap, but still. A. MAZE. ING.

If you're looking for a dessert for a special occasion, this one really impresses!

Birthday Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

bottom layer - chocolate cookie crust
30 chocolate wafers or chocolate graham crackers (1.5 cups crumbs)
5 tbsp. butter (melted and cooled)
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. vanilla

layer 2 - creamy cheesecake
1 pound (2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream

layer 3 - french chocolate mousse
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

top layer - ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the cookies in the container of a food processor; process them until they are finely ground. Transfer crumbs to a mixing bowl; combine crumbs, butter, salt, and vanilla; stir until the crumbs are moistened. Dump the cookie mixture into the parchment-lined springform pan. Press the mixture evenly up the sides of the pan, then evenly over the bottom. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Place the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the freezer and bake for 6-8 minutes at 350, until set and dry to the touch. Let the crust cool on a wire rack while you make the cheesecake.

Decrease oven temperature to 325°F. Put a kettle of water on the stovetop to boil. Working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is very soft and smooth, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat at medium speed for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to yield a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the heavy cream.

Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape the batter into the cooled cookie crust. The batter should fill about half way up the pan. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to give at least a 1-inch space between the cheesecake and the roasting pan. Place in the center of the oven and then carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for about 45 minutes, the best way to tell if your cheesecake is done is to insert a thermometer into the center; it should read 150°F.  Remove cheesecake from the roaster pan - be careful of the hot water - and remove the foil. Place cheesecake on a wire rack. Prop a large bowl over the cheesecake, leaving a 1-inch crack to let the cheesecake cool slowly.

When the cake is cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

*** Make the mousse once the cheesecake has cooled, ideally the following day***

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Put the chocolate and butter into the bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring with a whisk, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate one by one, beating with a whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. Gradually add in 1/4 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until it begins to foam. Add the vanilla and remaining 2 tablespoons  sugar. Continue to whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Set aside.

Gently fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Then, delicately fold in the whipped cream. Take care to not overwork the mousse, but make sure the cream is blended in well.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the mousse on top of the cooled cheesecake while still in the springform pan. Cover with plastic wrap.

*** If making the ganache immediately, place the mousse-covered cheesecake in the freezer as you make the ganache. (The cheesecake should NOT be in the freezer for more than 30 minutes.) If making the ganache later, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a few hours. ***

Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until the point just before it boils. Pour hot cream over chocolate and vanilla. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Allow ganache to cool for about 15 minutes.

Remove mousse cheesecake from the freezer or refrigerator. With an offset spatula, smooth the ganache while starting at the center of the cake and working outward. Be aware that the cold temperature of the cake will cause the ganache to firm up, so work fairly quickly.

Release the springform pan and cut cheesecake with a sharp knife to serve. Store cheesecake in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap.


  1. Yum! I have a weakness for oreo cookie crusts!

    1. Me too! Thanks for commenting, I love your blog and your books :)