Black Forest Cheesecake
So it was a toss up between a yoghurt cake, or a black forest cheesecake this week…
A somewhat healthy(ier – ie. less bad for me) cake who’s main ingredient is something I eat every day, versus a decadently layered cheesecake who’s main ingredient I try so hard to refrain from eating every day. Was there ever a question?
I feel I have a generally healthy lifestyle – eat well, exercise… I won’t bore you, you know how it goes – but my mantra goes something like this: If you’re gonna make a cake, do it properly.
And, well, I think I did this cake good and proper.
Now go indulge yourself – trust me, it’s amazing!
Black Forest Cheesecake
Yield: one 6″ cheesecake
For the Cherries
400g fresh cherries
40g caster sugar
2 tsp corn flour
Remove stems and pips from cherries – I just split the cherries by hand to do this – and place in a saucepan.
Gently heat the cherries with the lid on until the juices are released, then add in the sugar. Remove the lid and continue to heat for a further five minutes or so, then stir in the cornflour.
Continue to stir until mixture has thickened, then remove from heat. Take 3 Tbsp of the juice and set aside to use in the cake, leaving the cherries to sit in the remaining liquid. Set both aside to cool completely.
For the Base
125g shortcake biscuits
20g dessicated coconut
35g dark chocolate
60 butter (room temperature)
10g caster sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C/350° F/Gas Mark 4, and line a 6 inch springform tin with baking paper.
Place the biscuits, coconut, sugar and dark chocolate into a food processor and pulse until you are left with a fine crumb.
Add in the butter and pulse again until the mixture comes together.
Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, crush the biscuits in a plastic bag using a rolling pin, or something else hard and heavy. Grate, or chop the chocolate (small pieces) before adding to the mixture, and use melted butter.
Press the mixture into the base of your cheesecake tin, then bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the base from the oven and set aside to cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least ten minutes before adding the filling.
For the Filling
80g dark chocolate (85%)
375g cream cheese
120g caster sugar
25g plain flour
1 egg yolk
60ml double cream
3 Tbsp cherry syrup (from above)
A handful of stewed cherries (from above)
Take your prepared base and wrap the cake tin securely in aluminium foil, taking care that there are no holes as your cheesecake will be baked in a water bath. Grease the inside of your cake tin (above the base) with butter.
Gently melt the chocolate over a double boiler, or in the microwave, then set aside to cool.
Beat the cream cheese and sugar, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the ricotta.
Sift in the flour and beat, or stir, until there are no lumps remaining.
Divide your mixture in half, taking the smallest amount and adding in the cooled melted chocolate. Beat until combined, then add the double cream. Set aside.
Take the remaining mixture and divide in half again, taking the larger amount and adding in the cherry syrup.
Pour half of the cherry syrup mixture onto your cooled base and spread evenly. This will be quite a thin layer.
Take your chocolate mixture and spoon half of it onto the cherry syrup layer. Do this carefully, as the chocolate mixture will be much thicker than the mixture below, and you want to avoid mixing the layers as much as possible.
Tip: Be careful of air pockets – using a smaller spoon will allow you to fill the gaps more easily.
Take your plain mixture and pour this over the chocolate, then poke a handful of stewed cherries into the mixture.
Tip: Let the syrup drip from the cherries as much as possible to avoid adding excess liquid to the cake.
Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture gently onto the cherry layer, again, taking care not to mix with the layer below.
Finally, spread the remaining cherry syrup layer over the chocolate layer.
Place your cake tin into a deep roasting tray and into the oven, then fill the tray with boiling water so that it reaches at least half way up your cake tin.
Lower the oven temperature to 165°C/325° F/Gas Mark 3 and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cheesecake is set but still slightly wobbly in the centre.
Take the cake out of the water and remove the foil, then turn off the oven and leave the cake inside to cool with the door ajar. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before adding toppings and serving.
For the Topping
135ml double cream
30g icing sugar
75g cream cheese
Stewed cherries (from above)
Dark chocolate curls (homemade or shop bought)
Beat the cream until it begins to thicken, then add in the icing sugar and continue to beat until just stiff.
Beat the cream cheese in a separate bowl, then fold into the cream mixture.
Spread a thin layer of cream over the top of your cooled cheesecake, then use the remaining to decorate the cake as you please. I used a piping bag fitted with an open star tip for the outer edge swirls.
Fill the centre with the remaining cherries and syrup, then top with grated chocolate or chocolate curls.