Tuesday, February 18, 2014

TWD: Chocolate-Mascarpone Cheesecake

Tuesdays with Dorie baking through Baking with Julia
by Dorie Greenspan
Contributing Baker: David Ogonowski

Chocolate-Mascarpone Cheesecake. Sound and look decadent? It is.

Made with cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, sour cream and chocolate. Good thing I was able to ride a couple of extra days this week!

Every time I make a cheesecake (not all that often, but when I do..) I am always nervous as to when to take it out. The baked cake is supposed to be somewhat "jiggly" when pulled from the oven, and firms up as it cools, but just how jiggly? I usually trust my "scent-o-meter" when it comes to baking. And my nose was telling me it was done, though it was like really jiggly at the time specified (50 - 60 minutes) in the recipe. A quick Google search told me most cheesecakes take up to one hour fifteen, to an hour and a half. Mine baked for about an hour twenty before I felt confident in taking it out.

Oh, David.. your recipe needs a little tweeking:
One: The cookie crumb bottom. Seriously? You want me to invert the cake onto a cutting board (after baking, obviously) and press the crumbs into the bottom of the cake, then upright it? Why? So much easier to make your typical cheesecake crust and pour the filling over it (this is what I did). And wouldn't inverting the cake maybe damage the top? (I'm interested to see what route the other bakers in our group took.)

Two: Speaking of the top. You say to bake the cake until the top is dry and a little blistery. And you want it to be served this way? No embellishments on top to hide the unattractive, dull looking top? No wonder there was no picture of the cake in the book.
I took the initiative to adorn the cake with a chocolate ganache, not only was it way more attractive, it was delicious, as I'm sure it would be without it; but, we do feast with our eyes first, do we not?

I saved a slice for my husband and me, and sent the rest with my sister for her to take into work. She texted me this message the next day:

David, David, David. What were you thinking? You want me to serve this decadent sounding dessert looking like this? Undressed? Maybe you were thinking that looks can be deceiving - and wanting to prove a point. Well, I was not about to go that route - I have a reputation to uphold (especially when it comes to chocolate desserts).
What to do, what to do...

 Oooh, a marbled cheesecake would have been pretty!

I decided on a dark chocolate ganache glaze for the top; I also felt there needed to be something on the side of the cake. I was thinking little lace hearts would be perfect! However, the mini lace hearts were not working out for me (I only gave it one try - just was not into it when the time came to get it done). I did make a few larger hearts and ended up using one of those on top of the cake. If I had known that I would not have had any garnishment on the side of the cake, I would have let the glaze drip down the side - that would have been pretty too - even a chocolate lace border.. oh well, another day.

 Amazing how different the lighting is when you move from the corner of the room to the center.

This picture best reflects the true color of the cheesecake.

This is a fairly quick cheesecake to make, but it does require an overnight chill - so plan on making this a day before you want to serve it.

The finished cake can be stored up to four days in the refrigerator - so nice to finally have a recipe from this book that lasts longer than a day!

I read a fellow baker had success with a gluten-free version, check out the post over at Oven Chaos.

This post participates in Tuesdays with Dorie. Click here for the links of all the talented bakers of our group, to see how they fared with this recipe.

Chocolate –Mascarpone Cheesecake
Serves 12-16

1½ pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ pound mascarpone, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and still very warm

½ cup (approx.) cookie crumbs

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom, sides, and rim of an 8-inch cheesecake pan (I used a springform pan, wrapped with foil), one that is 3 inches high. Have ready a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the cheesecake pan.

Put the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work with a hand-held mixer) and beat on medium-low speed until it is perfectly smooth, about 4 minutes, scraping the bowl and the paddle a few times during the process. Add the sugar and continue to beat until the sugar is dissolved and a little of the batter rubbed between your fingers feels smooth, about 4 minutes more. Scrape down the bowl and paddle as needed. Add the flour, vanilla extract, and mascarpone and beat just until incorporated.

Add one of the eggs and beat the mixture for a minute. The egg will loosen up the ingredients I n the bowl and give you a good opportunity to really get our rubber spatula down to the bottom of the bowl and scrape around to ensure that everything is being well mixed. Add the remaining eggs one at a time, and continue to beat until blended, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the sour cream and mix just until incorporated.

Remove 1 cup of the cheesecake mixture and stir it into the warm melted chocolate, then mix the chocolate into the cake batter, either continuing to use the paddle or switching to your rubber spatula. When you no longer see white streaks, pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, rotating the pan briskly a couple of times to level the batter.

Set the cake pan (if using a springform – make sure it is covered with foil, so the water will not seep into the cake) in the roasting pan (I used a rectangular cake pan) and place on the center rack of the oven. Pour hot water into the roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the cake pan.  Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes (mine took an hour twenty). The cake will puff around the edges and the top will turn dry and a little blistery. You’re looking for the cake to set the way a custard sets – just enough so that when you shake the pan, it sends a quivering wave across the cake. Remove the pans from the oven and transfer the cake to a rack to cool to room temperature. Once the cake is cool, you can cover the pan and chill the cake until needed, although this will make it a little trickier to unmold.

When you want to unmold the cake, ready a cutting board and a large flat serving platter, or two cutting boards, and the crumbs. Turn the cake over onto a cutting board and coat the bottom of the cake with crumbs (I pressed cookie crumbs, that had been mixed with melted butter, into the pan before baking). (If the cake has been chilled, you will need to dip the bottom of the pan into a basin of hot water, letting the water come up as high as the top of the cake, but taking care not to get the cake wet. Wipe the pan before you unmold the cake.) Invert the cake onto the serving platter or the second cutting board and chill for at least 6 hours, or up to 2 days. If your are going to keep the cake in the refrigerator for more than a few hours, cover it, once it is set, with plastic wrap.

Serve the cake directly from the refrigerator. Use a long thin knife to cut the cake, dipping the knife into a glass of hot water and wiping it dry before each cut. To state the obvious- this is rich, so you needn’t be overly generous; on the other hand, don’t be surprised when there are requests for seconds.

The cheesecake will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 4 days and wrapped airtight for a month in the freezer. Thaw, still wrapped, in the refrigerator.

Baking with Julia/Dorie Greenspan/David Ogonowski

For the chocolate ganache:

8 ounces high quality dark chocolate
8 ounces heavy whipping cream

Finely chop chocolate and place into a heatproof bowl. Set side.

Heat cream just until it starts to simmer. Pour cream over chocolate and let sit for a minute or two. Stir until smooth. Let cool to desired consistency. To hasten thickening of ganache, place in refrigerator and stir occasionally until it is thick enough to your liking.

To keep the glaze from running down the side of the cake, I left the cake in the springform pan and poured the ganache onto the cold cake.


  1. Thanks Cathleen on the tips for the cookie crumb crust!! I am baking mine today...been out of town and couldn't pull it off for today. I LOVE the pictures of your cheesecake!!! How do you make the chocolate ganache? I am a newbie on these things and never made a cheesecake haha!! Thanks!

    1. Oh, my...just saw that you posted the ganache recipe! ;)

    2. Glad you found it! I was trying to reply this morning from work, but I forgot my password. :/

  2. So beautiful!! you're an artist Cathleen!!!
    I love your glaze. I had some troubles flipping the cake upside down, so it was one of the reasons I dust it with cocoa powder!!!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous, Cathleen! I also saw no need to flip the cake! I made a pretzel crust (I love the salty-sweet thing), and sprinkled them onto the bottom of the buttered pan. I then I poured the batter into the pan…there was no way I was flipping a cheesecake! Your ganache topping looks to die for…great job!!

  4. That looks beautiful! I want to try this and the cake flipping thing seemed scary!

  5. This looks sensational, I love your finishing touch with the ganache. Ganache makes everything better :)

  6. Your cheesecake looks wicked!!! Chocolate ganache and chocolate heart.....what more could one ask for! Though I sat this one out, I was wondering how the cheesecake would survive the to topsy-turvy thingy. Glad you bypassed that one.

  7. I love that you added the ganache on top, great choice!! and I put the cookie crumbs like you did, way easier!

  8. Beautiful! I love your embellishments.

  9. The flipping worked better than I thought! But a ganache topping would have been perfect for covering up the not so perfect top. And I love, love your lace heart!

  10. Wow. That looks simply delicious especially with the ganache top and alternate cook bottom..

  11. So beautiful! And so right about (1) the ridiculousness about flipping the cake - which I covered with vanilla whipped cream and (2) the plainness of the top if you didn't do SOMETHING to it, and SOMETHING you did! Ganache and a beautiful lace heart? You outdid yourself! Beautiful.

  12. By the time I wrote my post I had forgotten about the double-flip of a baked cheesecake, but you're completely right. I dented the side of my cake on the second flip. I also agree it wasn't very pretty. I wanted to do fresh raspberries and raspberry sauce, but never got around to it. Your ganache topping and lace heart are beautifully. I'm very impressed by your discipline. It's hard for me to stop at one slice.

  13. Looks great! I bet the chocolate ganache adds an even richer chocolate taste to the cake :)


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