Cheesecake is one of the most loved and the most feared desserts. Well, listen up… this cheesecake is fail-proof! This recipe has been in my family for years – it has never once let me down. It’s a breeze to put together and you don’t need any special equipment. And no water bath either. Simple, simple, simple! If anyone ever asks me for a cheesecake recommendation, this is the recipe I provide.
When one thinks of Valentine’s Day, they think of chocolate, right? I sure do! Last summer, I met and fell in love with the Wonka Exceptionals Waterfall Bar. It’s made with real milk and white chocolate. This is the bar above (and yes, that’s a “W” on each square). The name is fitting, isn’t it? Once I tasted it and saw the potential for making beautiful chocolate curls, I had to find a way to incorporate into my favorite cheesecake.
Ok, so you are probably wondering what I did with that Wonka bar. Well, I chopped half and sprinkled it over the graham cracker crust. The remaining bar was used for chocolate curl garnish. I thought about melting it and adding it to the batter, but then the chocolate marbling would be diminished (it does melt really well by the way).
Since I love to layer flavors, I also added a salted caramel sauce. This certainly isn’t required, but after one taste of the cheesecake with the sauce, dare I say it was a match made in heaven?
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE (you will want to prepare this first so it has a chance to chill):
- 1/3 cup water
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- Pinch sea salt
Combine water and sugar in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil, without stirring, until syrup is deep amber in color (occasionally brush down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirl pan). This should take about 8 to10 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; add whipping cream and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously) as shown above. Whisk until smooth, and then pour into serving pitcher or a plastic squeeze bottle – the squeeze bottle is great for making caramel hearts (I’ll explain later in the post). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
- 1 (3.5 ounces) Wonka Exceptionals Waterfall chocolate bar, divided
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in medium bowl. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan or 9- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate (this is what my mom uses!). Bake for 5 minutes. Finely chop half of the chocolate bar and sprinkle evenly over crust. Set aside the remaining half of chocolate bar for chocolate curl garnish.
- 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour filling into crust.
Bake for 30 minutes or until center is almost set and edges just begin to crack (they will be very faint). Remove from oven and quickly put together topping (this topping is yet another layer of flavor – the tartness complements the cheesecake so well).
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract in medium bowl; mix well. Spoon topping over cheesecake, starting with the edges first and working inward toward the center.
Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Gently run knife around inside of springform pan to loosen cheesecake. Disengage and remove side of pan.
TO SERVE: With vegetable peeler, shred remaining chocolate bar around perimeter of cheesecake. When presentation is key, I like to use a toothpick to transfer the curls to the cheesecake (image above).
Transfer to cake.
Cut cheesecake into 16 wedges. Drizzle bottom of dessert plates with a little caramel sauce; top with piece of cheesecake. Drizzle with additional sauce.
If you are serving this for Valentine’s Day, make caramel hearts. Put the caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle (well-chilled sauce works best) and drizzle several small drops around perimeter of plate. Pull toothpick through center of dot to create a heart (image above).
This is rarely a problem in my household, but if you do have leftover cheesecake, you can freeze it. It’s best to freeze without any garnishes or toppings. Wrap it securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap and place in a plastic container – this way it won’t get smashed. Freeze for up to 1 month. To defrost, thaw in refrigerator overnight.
So what will you be making for your Sweetheart? Do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe? Share your link!
Related cheesecake recipes:
Black Bottom Cheesecake