Special occasions call for special desserts. This decadent delight was for my mom’s birthday celebration.
Black Forest cake is her all-time favorite, but my sister (the one who hosted the celebration, no less) isn’t really the biggest fan of chocolate (WHA???) so I was looking for an alternative. But, for as long as I can remember, my mom has loved Black Forest cake and my sister has loved cheesecake. It didn’t take me long to realize I could make them both happy by using Black Forest cake flavors in an over-the-top cheesecake. With a chocolate wafer crust, white chocolate cheesecake, and cherries on top, this hit on all levels. Everybody–most importantly, birthday girl Mom–absolutely loved it!
Black Forest Cheesecake
cheesecake from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking
cherry topping and syrup an “Apple a Day” original
For the crust:
1 (9 z.) package chocolate wafers
6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
2 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature (I used low-fat and nobody even knew)
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 TBSP heavy cream (I used half and half)
For the topping:
2 (approx. 12 oz.) packages frozen, unsweetened, pitted cherries or equivalent amount of fresh cherries, if in season
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 TBSP kirsch
1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Butter or spary the sides of a nine-inch springform pan.
2. To make the crust, pulse chocolate wafers in a food processor until fine. Stream in butter and pulse until evenly mixed.
3. Press mixture into the bottom of the springform pan and bake until crust feels firm if lightly touched, about eight minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
4. Raise oven temp to 350 degrees F.
5. While crust is baking, place the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over (not touching) barely simmering water. Heat, stirring often, until the chocolate melts. Remove from over the water and set aside to cool slightly.
6. To make the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar and mix slowly until smooth. On low speed, mix in the flour. Stop the mixer and scrape down the beater and sides of the bowl.
7. Add two of the eggs and mix until smooth. Repeat with remaining eggs. Scrape down again.
8. Pour in the extracts and cream and mix until smooth.
9. Using a large spoon, stir in the melted chocolate until incorporated.
10. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Wrap the outside of the springform with foil to make it watertight. Place the springform pan into a large baking dish with sides at least two inches high. Create a water bath by pouring hot water into baking dish until it reaches one inch up the sides. Bake until set but the center still jiggles slightly, about one hour.
11. Meanwhile, make the cherry topping by pouring all ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer for ten minutes. Strain juice from cherries. Store cherries in an airtight container and let cool completely in the refrigerator. Return juice to pan and let simmer 15 minutes more, or until desired syrupy consistency is reached. Store syrup in separate airtight container and allow to cool completely.
12. Remove the baking pan from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Cover the cheesecake lightly with a paper towel and let cool in the water bath, on the rack, for one hour.
13. Remove paper towel and remove cheesecake from water bath and let cool on rack until it feels cool to the touch, one hour more.
14. Cover the cooled cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.
15. Two hours before serving, pour cherries on top of cheesecake, being sure to leave outer edge clean. To serve, cut into wedges and drizzle cherry syrup on plates, if desired.
Happy birthday Mommy!