Espresso and vanilla cheesecake with a chocolate graham cracker crust, then topped with chocolate ganache and espresso whipped cream. This rich and decadent dessert made with Hood® Cream is perfect for the holidays or any special occasion and it can be made ahead of time!
Last month I mentioned I am partnering with Hood Cream this holiday season. They asked me to create an original recipe featuring their cream, which was so fun to do. In fact, this recipe uses cream three different ways! Of course, cheesecake is always a crowd favorite, and I can’t think of a better time of year to make one. This rich dessert is perfect for sharing with the ones you love!
Do you like chocolate and espresso together? It is a match made in heaven! If you don’t have access to espresso powder, don’t worry because instant coffee works great too. And if you feel like enjoying this dessert with a cup of coffee, go for it because that’s what I do too 🙂
I grabbed a small pint-sized container of heavy cream for this recipe. The cream is used in the cheesecake, the ganache and… wait, can you guess? The whipped cream! Since we are using the heavy cream so many times to build the layers of this dessert, it is so important to use a premium brand. That’s why I grab Hood, restaurant quality yet available to us home cooks.
There are several parts to this dessert, but I am going to help you break it down into steps. You can still serve a show-stopper dessert even with a busy schedule. Several things can be done ahead of time. Unlike many desserts, cheesecake is better when made and refrigerated a day or two ahead of time.
First we have to make a crust. Graham cracker crusts are pretty straight forward to make. The crust can be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated overnight before baking. Or even just crush the graham crackers and mix with the other dry ingredients when you have time. The crust will be baked for a short time before being topped with the cheesecake batter.
The next task is the big one, making the actual cheesecake. Since cheesecake has so few ingredients, I think the batter is super easy to whip together, and I hope you will too! Most of the work is prepping the pan for baking. Cheesecake is a custard, and it is best baked in a water bath. I cook it low and slow, and this will also help prevent cracks on the top. I recommend using a 9 inch springform pan, so the cheesecake will be easy to remove later. Line the pan with parchment and then wrap the bottom of the springform pan with extra long aluminum foil. The foil keeps the water bath from seeping into the pan and making your crust soggy, definitely a no-no.
It takes a few simple preparations, but you will be rewarded with a silky smooth cheesecake in the end.
So worth it.
For the ganache layer, I used the highest quality dark cocoa baking chips I could find plus heavy cream. We want the ganache to be smooth and not grainy as the top layer of the cheesecake, isn’t it so pretty? With just those two ingredients ganache is super easy to make and can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
The last piece of the cheesecake is the espresso whipped cream. Whipped cream is probably the first thing I think of when working with heavy cream, and every dessert tastes just a little bit better with a dollop 🙂 Fresh whipped cream doesn’t last long in the refrigerator so this is the one step I recommend saving for the day of serving. Just a bit of flavor and sugar go into making this light and lovely cream topping. The whipped cream is a great contrast to the dense cheesecake, and I would even serve each piece with a little extra.
Whenever I’m baking, I make sure to use the best possible ingredients. If I am going to invest my time, I want the end result to be worth it. The consistency of Hood Cream helps to ensure my recipes will be a success. More importantly, the high end flavor of quality cream makes dessert that much better. I know I can count on their cream for flawless ganache, smooth and creamy cheesecake, and perfectly fluffy whipped cream.
Hood was founded right here in Massachusetts, and the company is over 150 years old. Home chefs throughout New England can use their cream to make spectacular desserts!
Looking for more recipes this holiday season? Cream is not just for dessert. Hood has collaborated with Chef Chris Coombs to create the Hood Cream eCookBook, filled with everything from appetizers to dessert. This year the eCookBook has been updated with all the amazing dishes we enjoyed at the Hood Cream Immersion Dinner. Also included are holiday menus to make planning easy.
- 1 and ½ Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (Prefer Dutch Process)
- 7 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
- 2 Pounds Cream Cheese, Softened
- 1 and ¼ Cups Sugar
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Brewed Coffee
- 4 Teaspoons Instant Espresso Powder (or Instant Coffee)
- 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ Cup Hood Heavy Cream
- ½ Cup Dark Chocolate, Chopped
- ½ Cup Hood Heavy Cream
- 1 Cup Hood Heavy Cream
- 1 Teaspoon Instant Espresso Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 4 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
- 10 pieces of Chocolate for Topping (Optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the bottom of a 9inch springform pan with vegetable oil, then line with parchment paper. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder, and sugar together in a small bowl. Add in the melted butter and stir until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan. (Prepare up to this point and then cover and refrigerate overnight if desired.) Bake for 12 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare the cheesecake pan to be baked in a water bath by wrapping heavy duty extra long aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the springform pan (with the already baked crust). Very lightly brush the sides of the pan with vegetable oil. Place the springform pan into a larger baking pan that it can fit into. Heat some water to boiling in a teakettle.
- Dissolve the espresso powder into the brewed coffee.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also mix this with a hand mixer it will just take it a bit longer. Beat on a low speed until the cream cheese is smooth, then slowly pour in the sugar while it is still mixing. Beat until the cream cheese and sugar are thoroughly combined. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then mix again on low speed for 2 minutes longer.
- Add in the eggs one at a time on low speed, being sure each one is incorporated before adding the next. Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Add in the coffee, heavy cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Pour the boiling water into the outer pan about 1 to 2 inches high , being very careful not to get any into the cheesecake pan. Bake for 90 minutes, the outside of the cheesecake should be set, but the middle will still be jiggly. Shut the oven off and crack open the door. Allow the cheesecake to cool in the oven for 1 hour. Then remove from the oven and remove the pan from the water bath. Allow it to cool another hour on the counter before refrigerating overnight. Loosely cover the top of the cheesecake in the refrigerator. The cheesecake will stay fresh for 3-5 days covered in the refrigerator.
- Heat the cream, but do not boil. (This can be done in the microwave.) Place the dark chocolate pieces into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Add enough cream to cover the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, and then stir until completely smooth. This can be refrigerated 2-3 days, then rewarmed in the microwave. When ready to use, pour onto the middle of the chilled cheesecake, and use an offset spatula to push the ganache to the edges. Refrigerate to set the ganache.
- Prepare a piping bag with tip of choice.
- Place all the ingredients into a metal bowl and beat with a whisk or the whisk attachment of a mixer. Beat until medium peaks form, too much and it will turn to butter! Place the whipped cream into the piping bag and pipe 10 or 12 rosettes along the outside of your chilled cheesecake. Top each whipped cream rosette with a piece of dark chocolate and refrigerate again until serving.
I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Hood® Cream. I received product samples and compensation for my time, but all opinions are 100% my own!