Baking a cake for a friend’s birthday is a special task and not one you want to fail at. This recipe is incredibly easy and straightforward and takes next to no time to prep.
If I recommend a cake recipe, you can be sure it works, because like all nervy bakers, I like 100% guaranteed results.
I’ve baked this li’l piece of goodness on three different occasions before, each time adapting the recipe a little.
And so, with a final tweak of the brilliant original from Jane Price’s ‘Kitchen Classics: Chocolate’, here it is:
Easy Chocolate Cheesecake
A word of warning: since the baked cake has to rest overnight in the refrigerator, HIDE IT WELL FROM SCAVENGERS. Last time I baked this chocolate cheesecake, my family scoffed three quarters before it had even set properly, let alone gotten it’s crowning glory of whipped cream and raspberries.
Cook’s note: Jane Price’s original recipe gives grated orange zest. I’ve added it and I’ve omitted it, and even though I personally prefer it without the zest, votes around the table yesterday were unanimously in favour. Decide for yourself, honey bunch, there’s no right or wrong.
200g packet Romany Creams or other chocolate biscuits, cut up in rough chunks
40g chopped or ground almonds (I use flaked, and fling it in the processor to be ground fine with the cookies)
90g melted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 160 C. Cut a circle of baking paper to line the base of a springform tin and spray insides of cake tin and paper with Cook & Spray.
2. Grind the cookies and nuts finely together and mix in the butter.
3. Spread crumb/nut mixture evenly across base of cake tin, press down firmly with back of a large spoon and put in freezer while you prepare the filling.
150g Lindt 70% or other dark chocolate
1 heaping dessertspoon (about 25 ml) organic raw cacao powder
500g full fat cream cheese
95g castor sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) thick cream
1 t (5 ml) vanilla essence
1 t (5 ml) grated orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup (125 ml) very cold cream, whipped till just set, for topping
2 punnets fresh raspberries
1. Place a metal bowl over a large pot of hot water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water.
2. Break chocolate into pieces in bowl, and bring water to a gentle boil. Do not add thd cocoa powder yet.
Once half the chocolate has melted, turn the heat off and let stand until fully melted, stirring till smooth. Do not let the water boil too fiercely or the metal bowl get too hot; the chocolate will seize – become grainy – and you’ll have to throw it away and start again. Let cool for 5 minutes or so.
3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until creamy.
4. Add the cocoa powder, cream, eggs, vanilla, zest if using and the cooled melted chocolate. Beat very well until completely blended and no flecks of white appear.
5. Pour filling over the crumb crust in the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes, until just set and the centre looks firm.
It should still have a very slight wobble to it when you remove it from the oven. Let cool completely and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Spread cold whipped cream on top and scatter raspberries over to serve.