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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake - A Heavenly Chatelaine Recipe Worth Trying

(see below for a visual guide to making this cake)

I regularly create my own recipes, but since all good recipes must start somewhere, I often try other recipes to see how they turn out and how I can change them up to make them extra-chocolaty.



Last week I finally tried out a recipe that I have been wanting to try for a very long time: Chatelaine Magazine's Triple Chocolate Cheesecake. The recipe was in an issue of the magazine several years ago, which I still have, and it can also be found in a special 2013 magazine edition called Cakes, Cupcakes & Chocolate, which I also purchased. But you can find the recipe online here.

Part of the reason why I wanted to make this recipe was because most of the cheesecakes that I make (and I make a LOT of cheesecakes for my business, Ultimately Chocolate) require only 2 or 3 packages of cream cheese.  The Chatelaine recipe calls for four packages of cream cheese.  So of course, I assumed this cake would be much more delectable than mine. And that assumption was correct! This cake is delicious and it tastes like a thick, rich and creamy chocolate mousse sandwiched between a buttery cookie crust and smooth chocolate ganache.

I topped my cake with a water-based ganache, although I wish that I had followed Chatelaine's lead and used cream for a richer flavour.  However, I decided to make it extra chocolaty by sprinkling organic milk chocolate chips on top before pouring on the ganache.  This gave it a rich and crunchy texture on top, which was a nice balance to the super-smooth centre of the cake.

I was concerned that the crust would be too mushy, since the recipe called for chilling it instead of cooking it. But the crust turned out fine and actually made it easier to slice. It was also super tasty.

Recipe Challenges and Required Modifications:

My only concern with the recipe is the cooking time.  If you decide to make it, be aware that your cake will not be cooked in the middle and it will be difficult to slice. 

A friend of mine made the same cake years ago, and hers was undercooked in the middle. Knowing this, I extended the cooking time by 10 minutes and it was still undercooked!  So my recommendation is to bake the cake for 1 hour and 10 minutes in a convection oven that automatically converts the cooking time to 25 degrees F lower. If you have a regular oven that does not convert the cooking time or are baking the cake in a 10" pan (I used a 9" as was one of the choices in the recipe), cook the cake for no less than 60 minutes and check that it is not too jiggly in the middle when you take it out.

The only other little concern that I will mention about this recipe is regarding the number of servings stated in the 2013 Special Edition magazine. It says that the cake serves 8, but I can easily slice 12 large pieces. Simply cut the cake in half, then in half again so you have four quarters.  Then cut each quarter piece of cake into three even slices. This will also cut the number of calories down to 388 per slice and 28 grams of fat (instead of the whopping 42 grams of fat for a cake with 8 servings).

On the website version of the recipe, it says it serves 16, and for that you would need to bake it in a 10" pan (cutting each quarter section, as mentioned above, into four pieces). A 9" cheesecake is only ideal for 12 servings.

How else can you serve this cake?

I enjoyed this cheesecake in two other ways:
  1. I used some of the extra cake batter (there was extra because not all the batter fit into a 9" pan) to fill a 3" mini toasted coconut pie crust that I had made from leftover ingredients of a Cherry-Chocolate PIECAKEN.  I poured the batter into the pie and baked it for 20 minutes and voila! a beautiful single-serving, gluten-free cheesecake was born.
  2. Since the cake was slightly undercooked and therefore difficult to slice without crushing it, I decided to freeze it and slice it once frozen.  It turns out that the slightly undercooked version tastes amazing frozen!  It's like a really rich ice cream cake and the perfect dessert for a hot summer day.

Here is a visual guide to making this cake through a sequence of photographs:

Using a KitchenAid mixer, I beat the four packages of softened cream cheese until soft, then added sugar, eggs and sour cream. It is important to run the spatula around on the bottom of the batter every 30 seconds or so while making the batter, to ensure it is smooth and mixed.  Otherwise you will have lumps in your cheesecake.
Real vanilla was added to the cheesecake batter. It may change the colour slightly, but it is worth it. 
Most people can taste artificial flavouring.

Once mixed, pour the batter into the prepared pan. 
The pan is wrapped in foil to prevent water from the water bath seeping in.
The water bath should reach at least 1 inch up the sides of the cake pan. 


After cooking for 1 hour and 10 minutes, the cheesecake is baked!
I decided to make my cheesecake extra chocolaty and to appeal to those milk-chocolate lovers by adding Cacao Barry's organic milk chocolate chips/drops to the top before adding the chocolate ganache. 
It also adds a wow factor to the overall textural experience of the cake.

I topped the cake with a water-based ganache to reduce a few calories, but wish I had used Chatelaine's cream-based ganache recipe. Adding 1 tbsp. of honey or corn syrup in the ganache makes it shiny and beautiful. A second batch of the same mix can also be used to make rosebuds on the cake. The ganache must sit for 6 to 8 hours to set and be used at room temperature to be used in a piping bag.
Be sure to slice the cake with a hot knife!  Run it under hot water and wipe it with a paper towel before making each cut.
 
Serve chilled! You can easily freeze this cake in an airtight container. Simply allow each slice to come back to room temperature for about an hour before eating it (more time if the cake is not sliced).  Or try eating it frozen! Yummy!
 

2 comments:

  1. Holy cow that is important stuff to know! Thank you so much for actually testing the recipe and then making the adjustments. I, frankly, would have probably blindly followed and inevitably failed as you clearly indicated. So thank you for posting the corrections. Not sure how I'll manage to make it but WOW it looks EPIC

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  2. Lisabeth, please let me know when you make this next! I'll be over in a flash! No...seriously. I will!

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