I love coffee-flavoured desserts – they feel like a natural way to conclude a meal somehow – a cup of coffee in dessert form. And, I’d happily end a meal with this Coffee Cheesecake any night of the week!
Actually, you could describe its flavour as more Mochaccino than straight coffee. The coffee flavoured cheesecake sits on top of an Oreo cookie base – the perfect combination if you like your coffee spiked with chocolate as I do.
I found the recipe for the cheesecake on Fine Cooking.com, but did adapt it a fair bit, mainly because I didn’t want such a large cake. I reduced the cream cheese to two packages rather than three, and increased the creme fraiche component for a lighter, more tangy result. Given the reduced amount of filling, I also reduced the eggs from 4 to 3. If I’d had my thinking cap on, I ought to have used an 8 inch springform pan rather than a 9 inch one to compensate for the lesser amount of filling. I will next time…
They say familiarity breeds contempt and, on this occasion, I’d have to agree. I’ve made a bunch of cheesecakes now and it’s for that reason that I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I made some very basic errors this time around. Quite a few of them actually… from using the cream cheese straight from the fridge, to forgetting to grease and line the cake pan, to not double-checking the oven was at the right temperature. Not surprisingly, the cake puffed up during baking only to deflate like a limp balloon as it cooled. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I probably over-aerated the mixture in an effort to get rid of the lumps of cold cream cheese, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I put the cake into the oven before it had reduced to the correct temperature after baking the crust.
But hey… while the cheesecake might not have won a beauty competition (though it’s surprising how much a good swirl of cream can disguise), it was still a success in terms of texture and flavour. It was also relatively light for a cheesecake, no doubt thanks to the addition of creme fraiche, and it wasn’t overly sweet either. The coffee flavour was subtle (which would suit most people I think), but if you want a stronger coffee hit you might consider increasing the coffee from 2 to 3 teaspoons. I served the cake with a Kahlua flavoured whipped cream and chocolate covered coffee beans.
It might have been a challenging bake but the result, according to the family, was definitely worth it! Enjoy!
- 225g (8 oz.) Oreo cookies (NB: I found this was only enough for the base, not the sides)
- 90-95g (3.1-3.3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- 500g (17.6 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 250g (8.8 oz) crème fraîche
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
- 1-1/4 cups caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (if you have coffee granules, simply grind them with a mortar and pestle)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 300ml heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua liqueur
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar (confectioner's sugar), or to taste
- Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Process the wafers/biscuits until fine crumbs (there should be about 2 cups-ful).
- In a medium bowl, stir together the crumbs and melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly.
- Transfer the mixture to a greased 8-inch* springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom, spreading any remainder up the sides.
- Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F).
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, crème fraîche, flour, and salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps (if you find there are lumps at the end, you can always strain through a sieve).
- Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
- Add the vanilla and instant espresso powder and beat until blended, about 30 seconds.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended (don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.)
- Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
- Bake until the center jiggles like jelly when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist.
- Set on a rack and cool completely.
- Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
- Add the cream, Kahlua and icing sugar into a medium sized bowl, and whip until the cream is firm and will hold its shape when piped (but don't overwhip). Store in fridge until needed.
- Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate.
- Garnish with piped coffee cream (keep the remainder to serve alongside) and chocolate-covered espresso beans and serve. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting