Mocha Latte Cheesecake

Who doesn’t love coffee? I know I rely on this magical beverage to wake me up every morning and power me through the day. I’m actually one of those rare people who still prefers to brew her own coffee at home rather than go to Starbucks or Caribou Coffee. A Starbucks habit is definitely something way beyond my budget, and it simply takes too long to get out of bed, dressed, then find the car keys and my wallet and safely get out of the house and make it to the coffee shop to  procure the beverage just so that I wake up. In other words, I need to make coffee at home so that I would be fit to drive to the coffee shop! So since that arrangement hasn’t worked for me, I never developed a habit of Starbucks, and I rely on my trusty stainless-steel French press to meet all of my caffeinated needs. It’s easy, it’s flavorful, and produces a robust taste of coffee, and I hardly have to think about how to make it, which is pretty much a necessity if you’ve ever met me early in the morning. I heard rumors that a cup of French press coffee has more caffeine than a shot of espresso, but I’m going to pretend I never heard this. Because the grounds steep instead of filter, the coffee tastes better. Coffee made in a French press results in a a slightly thicker coffee with a very robust flavor because the oils of the coffee have been preserved and there is no dripping through a filter. The metal mesh in the French press acts as a filter; however, all of the coffee elements were soaked in the water, so everything is in the cup. I’m also quite fond of my French press method, because it’s super portable, so I can take it with me when I travel or even when I go camping. And the best part? It doesn’t require electricity. I say this last with a bit of gusto, because Dan’s best friend Tom and I got into a discussion some years ago about the advantages of French press coffee versus drip coffee. 

Leaving coffee brewing methods aside, sometimes coffee can come to us in the form of a wonderful dessert, and for all of you coffee-lover fans out there, Lauren Hugh from [hugheatswithyou] decided to create a collaboration together and invite everyone who loves coffee to develop a coffee-flavored beverage or dessert and post it on April 30. I was so impressed by all the wonderful ideas and creativity in our group. We have members from Europe, North America, South America, and other parts of the world all joining together by our mutual love of coffee and sweet things. My creation for this collab was a mocha latte cheesecake. I adore cheesecake for its dense, creamy texture. I know it’s a dessert, but to me it’s so nutritious, packed with calcium and protein, and yes, with a good dose of fat and sugar too. I have been known to eat cheesecake for breakfast, and I thought if I added some coffee and chocolate to it, not only was I upping my coffee game, I was upping my cheesecake game too! This cheesecake it decadently rich and creamy, and it’s also very visually appealing: you have three distinct layers with each color marking the main flavor. Brown-black for the chocolate crust, a coffee-colored layer for the mocha flavor, and a cream-colored layer for the vanilla flavor. It’s such an elegant dessert and the only thing that takes  a little bit of effort is removing part of the vanilla batter to create the mocha layer and baking it in stages. It is surprisingly easy to make, so I hope that you will try this recipe and that you will head over to Instagram and check the hashtag #coffeedessertcollab to see all the wonderful coffee-flavored creations our group has produced. They are truly amazing and will keep you caffeinated for a long time!

Mocha Latte Cheesecake

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes (30 + 25)

Chill time: 4 hours

Servings: 6 miniature cheesecakes that can be shared

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups pulverized chocolate wafers or cookies
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 4 tbsp strong coffee, brewed as instructed
  • 24 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 ½ tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • Whipped cream (for garnish)
  • Coffee beans (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the crush, combine the crushed wafers and 1/3 cup melted butter.
  3. Press onto the bottom of 6 miniature (4-inch) springform pans.
  4. Chill the crust in the refrigerator while you move onto prepare the cheesecake filling.
  5. In a small double boiler, melt the semi-sweet chocolate. Set aside.
  6. Brew ¼ cup of ground coffee with 2/3 cup of very hot water.
  7. When the coffee is brewed, stir into the melted chocolate and set it aside to cool.
  8. Meanwhile, in the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, cane sugar, all-purpose flour, vanilla and vanilla extract on medium speed until smooth.
  9. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed, only until just mixed. Do not overbeat.
  10. Remove 2 cups of this cream cheese mixture and set aside in a small bowl.
  11. Stir in the chocolate coffee mocha mixture into the remaining cream cheese mixture in the stand mixer bowl, stirring just until combined.
  12. Pour the chocolate cheesecake mixture into the crust-lined springform pans, distributing it evenly.
  13. Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes, or until the edge is set. The center will still look soft and shiny and slightly underbaked, but this is OK, as it will continue baking within the cheesecake.
  14. Gently pour the reserved vanilla cream cheese mixture over the chocolate mixture. I recommend pouring over the outside edge of the chocolate mixture, where it is set. It will flow into the center gradually.
  15. Bake the cheesecakes for another 25 minutes, or until the center is set when gently shaken.
  16. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
  17. Loosen the crust from the sides of the pan and cool for 30 more minutes. Remove the cheesecakes from the springform pans and cool completely.
  18. Chill the cheesecakes for at least 4-6 hours before serving, or overnight.
  19. If desired, top each miniature cheesecake with whipped cream and either chocolate garnishes or coffee beans to decorate as desired.

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