Many of us likely depend upon desserts to make us feel better after a bad day. Whether you get joy from baking them or eating them or both, there is no comparable comfort.
Recently, I was given a copy of Marian Keyes’ Saved by Cake. I’ve been a fan of Marian Keyes’ fiction books for many years. She has such a unique and witty voice that it’s hard not to enjoy her writing.
When Ms. Keyes was recently dealing with depression that far exceeded just a bad day, she found happiness in baking. Now, she has this wonderful book that is both memoir and cookbook. It’s filled with many delicious recipes and plenty of her trademark wit. Just reading the notes and recipe directions is entertainment on its own.
After much deliberation, I chose this cheesecake to bake first from her book. I was intrigued by it for a couple of reasons. First, I took the opportunity to make it at least partially a ricotta cheesecake, which is one of my favorites (although I’ve yet to bake one successfully). This cheesecake is a combination of cream cheese and ricotta cheese. Not being solely one or the other makes it quite nontraditional in taste and in texture. It’s not creamy like a cream cheese cheesecake, and it’s not crumbly like a ricotta cheesecake. It’s somewhere in the middle.
Secondly, I kept pondering the little bit of black pepper in the list of ingredients. Her note in the recipe just says, “I know, strange, but trust me.” I went as extreme as possible with the pepper. I used a freshly ground, very strong black pepper. And, I have to say that while I could tell it was there when I tasted the cheesecake, it’s not remotely overpowering. Without knowing about its presence, you might not single out the flavor. It does add a complexity and a bit of bite that really just works.
The name of the recipe – Black Hole Chocolate Cheesecake – is a reference to the denseness of the cheesecake. It will tend to fall down on itself as it cools.
If you have a kitchen scale, it is a must for this recipe. If you don’t have one, I’ve made some suggested equivalents in the recipe. (But, if you bake often, you should really consider a digital scale. I have this one and love it!)
This is a rich and delicious cheesecake that doesn’t mess around. It’s not too sweet, but rather focuses on the chocolate. That’s always fine with me. Be sure to use the good stuff for this one.
I’m excited to be able to give one of you a copy of Saved by Cake! I think you’ll love the recipes and the writing.
Please see below for entry details, and be sure to read the Terms & Conditions for eligibility requirements. Don’t forget to add bakeorbreak at gmail dot com to your address book. Good luck!
- 3 & 1/2 ounces dark chocolate (about 70%)*
- 3 & 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 ounces graham cracker crumbs**
- 7 ounces dark chocolate (about 70%)*
- 7 ounces ricotta cheese***
- 7 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar****
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
To make the crust:
Generously grease a 9-inch springform pan. (You may also line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and grease the paper. I used Baker's Joy and no lining, and it worked fine.)
Place chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at half power in 30-second increments until butter has melted and chocolate melts when stirred. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and butter/chocolate mixture. Mix well.
Press crust mixture firmly into bottom and about an inch up the sides of prepared pan. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
To make the filling:
Preheat oven to 325°.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at half power in 30-second increments until chocolate melts when stirred. Stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and black pepper until well-mixed and smooth. Add cream and continue mixing until combined. Add chocolate and mix until smooth.
Pour filling into crust. Bake for 40 minutes. Do not open the oven door.
Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for at least 2 hours. Then, cover cheesecake and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Release the sides of the pan and serve!
*I used Guittard's bittersweet chocolate wafers, which are 72%. If you don't have a scale, use about 1/2 cup chocolate.
**If you don't have a scale, use 12-13 whole crackers or about 1 & 1/2 cups crumbs.
***The original recipe uses mascarpone, but I used ricotta.
****One more! You'll need superfine sugar for a smooth texture. If you don't have superfine sugar, you can place 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon of granulated sugar in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds.
Recipe adapted from Saved by Cake.
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of Saved by Cake as well as a copy for this giveaway. Post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.