Chocolate lovers, this double chocolate cheesecake recipe is for you.
For some reason, chocolate cheesecake has the reputation of being an old-fashioned dessert, and not in a good way. More like stuck in the 80’s.
I’m here to bring chocolate cheesecake back, because it is rich, creamy, super chocolatey, and with the sleek, abstract chocolate decorations instead of poofy whipped topping, this decadent cheesecake is more than ready for the 21st century!
Another delicious cheesecake to try is my Nutella cheesecake.
For ease of browsing, you can see all my cheesecake recipes in one place. Thanks so much for visiting!
Watch my double chocolate cheesecake web story here.
Chocolate Cheesecake Gets a Bad Rap
I don’t know how chocolate cheesecake got the reputation of being stuck in the 80s or 90s. Sure, it was really popular then, but why shouldn’t it still be popular today?
While some preferences in the 80s and 90s were…questionable and best left back in the decades that celebrated neon excess, there is no reason why we shouldn’t make a place in our hearts and our kitchens for chocolate cheesecake now.
Sure, it’s a bit excessive, but it’s also delicious.
Why You Should Make This Double Chocolate Cheesecake
To help pull chocolate cheesecake out of the over the top 80s and 90s, lose the poofy whipped cream trim and the riot of chocolate curls and ganache oozing down the sides and the pile of mini Reese’s cups in the center.
Chocolate cheesecake doesn’t need all of that embellishment. Embellishment is often redirection from a boring recipe. Chocolate cheesecake is far from boring, so let it shine.
A thin chocolate crumb crust is really all it needs.
I did channel my inner Jackson Pollack with some splatters on the top of my cake in dark, milk and white chocolate. I think it looks pretty sleek and awesome.
More reasons to love this chocolate cheesecake recipe:
- Sweetened with brown sugar for deeper flavor
- Two kinds of chocolate (cocoa powder and dark chocolate) deepened even more with some espresso powder
- Simple and elegant chocolate-spattered top
My first round for the double chocolate cheesecake was a 9″ number for a neighbor’s office birthday party.
It was so good that I decided I needed to make it again, but in a 6″ version. You know, for moderation.
Besides, I wanted to test out baking it in my pressure cooker.
The idea of cooking a cheesecake in a pressure cooker had come up on Facebook, and I thought it’d be fun to give it a shot.
I mean, it makes sense to have a cheesecake bake in a very moist, 250F environment. No way it could crack, right?
How to Make It
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chocolate cookies: You can use chocolate sable or store-bought chocolate sandwich cookies. If you prefer, use Graham crackers or vanilla wafers instead
- Butter: Helps the crust bake and hold together. You can substitute coconut oil if you’d like
- Cream cheese: Use full-fat cream cheese in blocks, not from a tub. You could use neufchatel cheese, but since it’s softer, I’d consider adding an extra egg for structure
- Brown sugar: Adds sweetness, and the molasses in the brown sugar deepens the flavor just a bit. Use granulated sugar or coconut sugar as substitutes
- Eggs: For richness and structure. Mainly used for their setting power. You’ll need 2 large eggs
- Salt: Focuses all the flavors and counteracts any bitterness from the cocoa and coffee
- Vanilla: Rounds out the flavors. Not strictly necessary, but if you have some vanilla extract, go ahead and use it.
- Sour cream: Makes the batter a little more “liquid,” keeping it lighter and less dense. You can substitute Greek yogurt, regular plain yogurt, buttermilk, or whole milk.
- Instant coffee: Deepens the coffee flavor. Use instant coffee or espresso powder dissolved in a tiny bit of water, or use coffee extract if you have it
- Cocoa powder: Provides deep chocolate flavor
- Dark chocolate: Provides the rest of the chocolate flavor along with some fats and emulsifiers for structure. Use bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips or a chopped chocolate bar.
Here’s how to make the cheesecake:
- Make the crumb crust and press it into the pan.
- Make the batter:
- Mix cream cheese until smooth
- Mix in sugar, salt, and vanilla
- Add eggs, 1 at a time
- Add instant coffe mixture or coffee extract
- Mix cocoa powder into sour cream and then add to batter
- Melt and cool the chocolate and add to the batter
- Pour the batter into the pan
- Bake in a water bath in the oven or in your pressure cooker
NOTE: Both methods are explained fully in the recipe card.
Always mix cheesecake batter on low speed and make sure your ingredients are all at room temperature.
This will ensure your ingredients mix together easily without lumps and that you don’t whip air into the batter, causing the cake to rise and then fall.
Pressure Cooker Cheesecake Troubleshooting
While my guy didn’t crack, his top was sort of craggy.
I was a bit dismayed since I wanted a smooth top, and my conventionally baked cheesecakes all have a beautiful, smooth, flat (or at least flattish) top for optimal Jackson Pollacking.
I posted a photo of this guy right out of the pressure cooker, and friends weighed in.
- Covered pan versus uncovered pan.
- High pressure versus low pressure.
- Ratio of sugar to fat. This last from Mark Scarbrough, one of the authors of The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book.
I was intrigued since I look at pressure cooking as just another cooking method as opposed to something I’d need to adapt all my recipes to use, you know?
But, upon reflection, it does stand to reason.
The moist environment is very different from the dry environment of the oven, and a pressure cooker’s locking mechanism doesn’t allow for evaporation, either from the cooking liquid or from the food itself, so one has to make allowances for that pretty crucial factor.
I summarily ordered my friends’ Mark and Bruce’s book, The Great Big Pressure Cooker Book, that I might learn more of the science of pressure cooking and how to adapt my recipes to that cooking method.
While I don’t love the look of the top of the cake, I Jackson Pollacked it up anyway and put it in the fridge to chill. Optimally, I’d chill it for at least four hours before cutting, but I’m impatient and was only able to wait one hour.
Can You Serve Cheesecake Warm?
You do want to make sure it’s not hot or you won’t be able to slice it.
In fact, your safest bet is to cool, chill, and then gently warm each slice in the microwave right before serving.
The interior texture was absolutely smooth and dreamy. Like pudding. If that’s your thing, I highly suggest you serve this cheesecake slightly warm, at about 90-100F in the center.
Worry not, though. After chilling overnight in the fridge, I sampled the cake again. Still smooth and dreamy, but firmer since it was completely chilled.
Just as delicious.
I’m providing the method for baking this cake in a conventional oven, but I’ll also add the how-to for baking it in a pressure cooker for those of you who don’t care that the formula isn’t perfected for that method. Just call it Old Rocky Top!
I mean to tell you, this is one fine cheesecake, and one I’ll be making again and again for special occasions.
Q & A
Yes, use gluten-free cookies to make your crust. The rest of the recipe is gluten-free, as written.
Yes, store your cheesecake in the fridge, and make sure it’s well-covered so it doesn’t absorb any off-flavors from the fridge. You can refrigerate your cheesecake for up to 5 days. It may start to weep liquid just a bit after day 2-3, but it will still be fine to eat.
Yes, cheesecake freezes very well. You can freeze individual pieces or the whole cake. Make sure to wrap tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap and some foil (or a zip-top freezer bag). Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
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A Note About Measurements
This is the kitchen scale that I recommend for home cooks and bakers. Using a scale will help you be more accurate and consistent in your measurements.
It is lightweight, easy to store, accurate, and very easy to use.
Don't let its small price and small size fool you. The Escali Primo is an accurate and easy-to-use food scale that I have used for years. It's easy to store, easy to use, has a tare function, and easily switches between grams and ounces/pounds for accurate measurements.
I hope you’ve learned something from this post or that you’ve decided to make the recipe.
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For the Crumb Crust
- 1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs, (chocolate, preferably. If you don't have chocolate wafers or cookies, use graham crackers or vanilla wafers and add 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons cocoa powder)
- melted butter, , about 4 Tablespoons
For the Cheesecake Batter
- 1 pound (2 8oz blocks) cream cheese at room temperature
- 5 oz brown sugar, , sifted to remove any lumps (about 2/3 cup, sifted and firmly packed)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee dissolved in 1 1/2 teaspoons water or use 2 teaspoons coffee extract if you have some.
- 2 oz sour cream, , whipping cream or buttermilk at room temperature
- 1/2 oz (2 Tablespoons) cocoa powder
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, , melted and cooled to just warm (I used 60% cacao chocolate chips)
For the Decoration
- Feel free to do your own thing. If you want yours to look like mine, , you'll need about 1/2-1 oz each dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate, melted.
For the Crust
- Spray a 6" x 3" springform pan with pan spray. Cut a parchment circle to fit in the bottom of the pan. If you don't have a leak-proof pan, wrap the bottom and sides of the pan tightly in a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Combine the cookie crumbs and the butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened but not greasy. They should hold together if you squeeze a bit.
- Press them evenly across the bottom and maybe 1/2" up the sides of your prepared pan. You can bake it at 350F for 10 minutes, but I didn't this time and it worked out just fine and saved me 10 minutes of oven time. Your choice.
- Set the pan aside.
For the Cheesecake Batter
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Place a large cake pan or roasting pan on the center rack. It should be large enough to hold the 6" pan with about 2" clearance all around.
- Put some water on to boil, maybe 2 quarts.
- Cream the cream cheese on low speed until completely smooth, scraping the bowl as necessary.
- Add the sugar, salt and vanilla and continue to cream on low speed until the batter is smooth. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
- Add one egg and mix completely into the batter. Don't forget to scrape the bowl.
- Add the other egg and mix completely. You're scraping the bowl, right?
- Add your homemade coffee extract (the instant coffee dissolved in water). If you own coffee extract, use 2 teaspoons of that instead.
- Whisk the sour cream and cocoa powder together thoroughly. It will look like it won't want to mix, but keep at it. What you end up with will look like chocolate whipped cream.
- Add that mixture to the bowl and let it slowly incorporate. Scrape the bowl, people. All the way to the bottom.
- Pour in the lovely melted and cooled chocolate and mix just until incorporate. Scrape the bowl and stir by hand to make sure all the batter is chocolatey and delicious.
- Pour the batter into on top of the crust. It will come up to within about 1/2" of the top of the pan.
- Pull out the oven rack with the large pan on it.
- Place the filled pan in the larger pan and then carefully pour the boiling water in the larger pan, allowing the water to come about halfway up the sides of the pan. A little less isn't a big deal, so don't sweat it too much.
- Carefully push the rack back into position.
- Bake until the center of the cheesecake reads 155F-160F on an instant read thermometer. If you don't have an instant read, bake until the edges of the cheesecake are firm but the center 2-3" is still a bit jiggly. I can't really give you a time for this, but I'd check it at 45 minutes and then go from there.
- Once your cake has hit the magical temperature, carefully remove it from the hot water bath--leave that bath right where it is until it cools off--and place it on a wire rack. After about 10 minutes, run a thin knife or spatula around the inside of the pan to make sure the cake hasn't stuck anywhere. Allow to cool to room temperature, decorate as desired, and then chill until cold, at least 4 hours.
For the Decorations
- Melt each chocolate in a separate little dish.
- Using a spoon, fork, paintbrush or whatever, grab some of one chocolate and flick it onto the cake. Dribbles, dots, slashes, swirls--anything goes. Repeat with the other two chocolates. Admire your work.
- For best flavor, allow cake to temper on the counter for a good 1 1/2 hours before slicing.
To Cook in a Pressure Cooker
Place a trivet or a small rack inside your pressure cooker. Add 2 cups of water. Fashion a long sling out of heavy duty aluminum foil folded over longways a couple of times. Drape that over the trivet/rack and up the sides of the pan. This is what you'll use to remove the pan after cooking.
Place the filled cake pan on the trivet/rack, attach lid and heat on high until you achieve high pressure. Moderate the heat to maintain that pressure for a total of 20 minutes. On my electric range, that meant 2 minutes off the heat, 2 minutes on the hot-but-off burner and then 16 minutes at medium-low heat.
When the timer goes off, remove from the heat and let the pressure release naturally, about 7-10 minutes.
To take the guesswork and watched-pot factor off the table, you can also make this in an Instant Pot rather than a stove-top pressure cooker.
Remove the lid carefully and use the sling to lift your guy out and place him on a rack. Cool to room temperature, decorate and then chill. For a super duper treat (either with the pressure cooker method or with the oven method) eat a piece just barely warm. Heaven.
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Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving Calories 506Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 63mgSodium 296mgCarbohydrates 51gFiber 4gSugar 35gProtein 8g
The stated nutritional information is provided as a courtesy. It is calculated through third party software and is intended as a guideline only.
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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Enjoy the chocolate cheesecake, and have a lovely day.