Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Sep 15, 2012



"This should be illegal, I mean I should be arrested for eating this."

That's a direct quote from my mother, spoken yesterday at 8:42 a.m.

We consider this my our new favorite dessert. 

Or breakfast, cause that's the way we sometimes roll. 

We haven't been arrested by the Incredibly-Dreamy-Cheesecake Police yet. And by Incredibly-Dreamy-Cheesecake Police I mean that the cheesecake is incredibly dreamy, not the police. I haven't seen them yet to make that judgement. 

The only judgement I have been able to make is that this cheesecake really is dreamy. It is decadent. It is smooth and silky with a slight crunch from the crust. Rich. Every layer compliments each of the others brilliantly. It is simple perfection. 

Yes, there are a lot of steps to making this cheesecake, but I guarantee it will be so worth it

... Even if the cheesecake police that come to arrest you aren't all that dreamy. At least the cheesecake you made was. ;)

Notes: Read through the entire recipe before beginning. I repeat: Read through the entire recipe before beginning. You'll need to plan a few things in advance, such as having softened butter and cream cheese around, time for the cheesecake to completely cool, etc.

Idea adapted from Mangio da Sola
Chocolate Cookie Crust adapted from Alice Medrich
French Mousse adapted from Tyler Florence
Creamy Cheesecake adapted from Dori Greenspan

Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

bottom layer - chocolate cookie crust
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet. Set aside. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a parchment round, then lightly butter the pan and parchment. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add the vanilla and milk and mix until well combined. (Mixture may look curdled.) On low speed, add the flour mixture just until incorporated.

Use a small cookie scoop to drop little mounds of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Using lightly floured hands, press the mounds of dough into 1/4-inch flat disks. (Don’t worry about making these too neat - you’ll be grinding them up shortly.) Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until the cookies puff and then settle slightly when done. Remove cookies from the baking sheet and let cool to room temperature.

Place cooled cookies in a food processor. Process until cookies are evenly and finely crushed. Pour the melted butter on top of the crushed cookies and pulse until well mixed. Dump the cookie mixture into the parchment-lined springform pan. Press the mixture evenly up the sides of the pan, then evenly over the bottom.

Wrap the bottom of the springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. Place the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove the crust from the freezer and bake for 10 minutes, until set and dry to the touch. Let the crust cool on a wire rack while you make the cheesecake.

layer 2 - creamy cheesecake
1 pound (2 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream

Decrease oven temperature to 325°F. Put a pot of water on the stove top boil.

Working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is very soft and smooth, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat at medium speed for another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to yield a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer to low speed and mix in the heavy cream.

Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula to make sure that nothing has been left
unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. Scrape the batter into the cooled cookie crust. The batter should fill about half way up the pan. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to give at least a 1-inch space between the cheesecake and the roasting pan. Place in the center of the oven and then carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for about 45 minutes, at which point the top will be ever so slightly browned and the cheesecake will have puffed a little. The best way to tell if your cheesecake is done is to insert a thermometer into the center; it should read 150°F.  Remove cheesecake from from the roaster pan - be careful of the hot water - and remove the foil. Place cheesecake on a wire rack. Prop a large bowl over the cheesecake, leaving a 1-inch crack to let the cheesecake cool slowly.

When the cake is cool, cove with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

*** Make the mousse once the cheesecake has cooled.***

layer 3 - french chocolate mousse
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Put the chocolate and butter into the bowl. Melt the chocolate and butter together, stirring with a whisk, until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate one by one, beating with a whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. Gradually add in 1/4 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the heavy cream until it begins to foam. Add the vanilla and remaining
2 tablespoons  sugar. Continue to whip the cream until it holds soft peaks. Set aside.

Gently fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Then, delicately fold in the whipped cream. Take care to not over work the mousse, but make sure the cream is blended in well.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the mousse on top of the cooled cheesecake while still in the springform pan. Cover with plastic wrap.

*** If making the ganache immediately, place the mousse-covered cheesecake in the freezer as you make the ganache. (The cheesecake should NOT be in the freezer for more than 30 minutes.) If making the ganache later, place the cheesecake in the refrigerator for a few hours. ***

top layer - ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla

Place the chopped chocolate and vanilla in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat until the point just before it boils. Pour hot cream over chocolate and vanilla. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Allow ganache to cool for about 15 minutes.

Remove mousse cheesecake from the freezer or refrigerator. With an offset spatula, smooth the ganache while starting at the center of the cake and working outward. Be aware that the cold temperature of the cake will cause the ganache to firm up, so work fairly quickly.

Release the springform pan and cut cheesecake with a sharp knife to serve. Store cheesecake in the refrigerator, covered tightly with plastic wrap.

Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake, serving 10-12

33 friendly note(s):

  1. This looks absolutely-amazing. I am drooling as we speak.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It definitely is drool-worthy cheesecake! :)

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  2. This looks fantastic. I love the sounds your cookie crust at the bottom. I use whole wheat flour a lot in my baking.

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    1. Thank you! I also prefer to use whole grains wherever I can. There's hardly ever a reason not to... I prefer them so much more anyway!

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  3. is it safe to consume uncooked eggs that being added to chocolate mousse? it does not say anything about cooking them....

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    Replies
    1. This is a good question. Because this is a traditional French mousse, it uses raw eggs. I honestly don't worry about raw eggs much. We have four of our own chickens which produce fresh eggs daily. So I know exactly where my eggs are from, how fresh they are, and what conditions they've been kept in.

      In this mousse recipe, the egg yolks are added to a warm chocolate/butter mixture. Then the whites are folded into that mixture. I doubt that the residual warmth from the chocolate/butter mixture does much to "cook" the eggs, but I suppose it's better than nothing. If you're skeptical but would like to still try the recipe, I might suggest finding a recipe for mousse that cooks the eggs more definitely or simply use pasteurized eggs, which should work fine.

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    2. thank you for the clarification :) i personally have no problem using fresh eggs in making mousse or in making all known mayonnaise. as long as we know how fresh the eggs are.
      thank you for amazing recipe and for knowledgeable answers!
      hope to get cooking by your recipes

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  4. I just ate this cake ... and your mother is right!: I should be arrested also for eating this. Thank you so much for the recipe!! is absolutely perfect: crispy base, cheesecake, mousse, ganache. And it is very easy to prepare.

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    1. Thank you for the feedback! I'm so glad you made it and that you enjoyed it so much! :)

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  5. I bet this one is so soft and smoothy!

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    1. Yes, this cheesecake is definitely smooth and creamy! :)

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  6. Wow, yum! This looks super decadent. I almost never make desserts like this because I'm worried I'll eat them all myself... but maybe it's worth throwing a party just to have a slice of this :-)

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    1. It certainly is a decadent treat. I am envious of your ability to refrain from making decadent desserts. :) Before one treat's even gone around here, I've planned the next to make. This would definitely be a problem if I lived alone or with a roommate, but luckily I've got a whole family to share these treats with! I hope you'll have a party so you can try this, too! :)

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  7. I'm making this cake for a birthday this weekend. Do you think that it would be possible to make the cheesecake and crust portion a few days in advance? If so, should I pop it in the freezer, or the fridge? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. The crust should be just fine in the freezer for a few days. Though, I definitely wouldn't recommend freezing the cheesecake portion. The cheesecake portion will hold up great in the fridge for a couple of days in advance. When I make this, I will often make the crust and cheesecake parts on day one, refrigerate it overnight (or for a day or two, even), and then on the day I plan on serving the cake, finish the mousse and ganache a few hours before I serve it. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. I think you'll really enjoy this cake :)

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    2. Cheesecake actually freezes really well. Most restaurant cheesecakes are frozen prior to being served, including the one you can get at Olive Garden that is similar to this one. I would make the cheesecake in it's entirety, wrap it well and freeze the whole thing, then just set it on the counter for a few hours before serving.

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    3. Kelli, Thank you for the information on freezing cheesecake. I would be a little hesitant of freezing this one, though, if it isn't necessary, just to avoid any differences in texture once it had thawed - especially since it is topped with a delicate mousse and ganache. I've read that cheesecakes made with entirely with cream cheese as the dairy product freeze very well, but those with sour cream/cream/ricotta in addition to the cream cheese can be less stable and more subject to a change in texture once thawed. I would imagine that restaurant cheesecakes (even those similar to this one) are developed specifically to be more stable for transportation/preservation/etc. I just wouldn't want someone to put in the time making this more delicate cheesecake and have something not turn out right if they used the freezer, so I'd suggest playing it safe by using the refrigerator. :)

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  8. Can you substitute cookies for the crust instead of making them? If so, how much would you need?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you can definitely use cookies for the crust. Use about 16 ounces, grind them up well, and mix with 3-4 tablespoons melted butter. Enjoy! :)

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  9. I just made this for our holiday party. It came out wonderful and it was my first time ever making a cheesecake! Thank you for such excellent and detailed directions. I received a ton of compliments on it. My only mistake was leaving the cheesecake on the counter for several hours at the party before serving it. It was a tad on the soft side, but still very delicious. Next time (and yes there will be a next time) I will keep it refrigerated until the moment I serve it.

    In reference to the previous post, I will say that I got lots of compliments on the crust, so while it may be a tad more work to make the cookies, it is totally worth it!

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    Replies
    1. Raquel - Thank you so much for the very nice comment! I am so happy that the cheesecake turned out well and that it was enjoyed by many :) Thanks again for the feedback!

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  10. The best cheesecake EVER!!!

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  11. We made this cheesecake, and it was absolutely delicious! Please feel free to check it out on our blog, Pass the Cocoa: http://passthecocoa.blogspot.com/2013/01/chocolate-mousse-cheesecake.html

    A big thank you for the wonderful recipe! (:

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the cheesecake! Though, it really isn't a surprise to me... It's not a hard one to enjoy, is it!? ;) Thank you for the feedback. Your site looks great, by the way!

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  12. AnonymousMay 05, 2013

    I came across this recipe on foodgawker and made it last week to take to a party. I followed the recipe exactly and it turned out phenomenal!!! Seriously so good, everyone loved it. Definitely will be making this again and again. Thanks for a great recipe!

    -Bethany

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    Replies
    1. Oh, wonderful! Thank you for the feedback! I'm so happy that everyone enjoyed it. It's definitely a keeper, isn't it? :)

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  13. Is semi sweet bakers chocolate ok for the mousse? And when using cookies for the crust.. How long do I bake the crust for?

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    1. I think semi-sweet baker's chocolate would work just fine for the mousse! And if you are wanting to use pre-made cookies for the crust, simply grind the cookies into crumbs, add the melted butter, press the mixture into your prepared pan, freeze for 10 minutes, and then bake for the same amount of time specified in the original recipe - 10 minutes at 350°. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions! And enjoy!!!

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  14. Thank you for the recipe - however, I made it during crunch time and unfortunately, it wasn't ready for my guests in time. :-( It said we could freeze it for no more than 30 minutes after the mousse is laid on top of it, but even in 30 minutes - the mousse was not set. Is there a faster way to set it?

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    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear that your cheesecake wasn't ready in time for your guests. This cheesecake really just takes a bit of time, each step requiring a bit of planning, so the risk with making it during a crunch time is that things might not quite be as perfect as they could. Although, I do find it kind of odd that the mousse still hadn't set after 30 minutes in the freezer. I have had success doing it this way before, so I'm not quite sure why it didn't work for you. Did it set up later in the fridge? If not, then there could have been a problem with the mousse itself. Even though it wasn't ready quite in time, I do hope that you were able to enjoy it! Thank you for the feedback and best wishes! :)

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  16. I made this for my bf's bday. It was absolutely delicious! Although I think I ended up eating more of it than he did. However, we both felt like the ganache layer was a bit too much and ended up taking it off (which made our cheesecake very ugly, but sitll tasty).

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