This No-Bake Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake is so worth the indulgence, especially when paired with a glass of Hojicha Latte!
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Birthdays and cakes
It’s going to be my birthday in a couple of days so I thought I’d post about this treat of a cake today. I feel like I’m starting this post out the same way as the previous one by saying: This No-Bake Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake is quite possibly one of the best no-bake desserts I have made so far. I mean, I know I also said in my previous post that I’m always hesitant to throw out superlatives, but what can I do? This was SO FREAKING GOOD! It probably helps that I am an avid fan of chocolate and coffee, and both of them are together in this cake. So I don’t know; maybe I’m biased?
It’s funny that what I’m thinking right now is that there are probably people out there who go out of their way to argue about baked versus no-bake cheesecake. As with anything in this world, of course you can casually discuss the differences between the two because there are admittedly plenty, however it won’t surprise me if there are people who purposefully argue about cheesecake in a way that offends whatever side they’re not on. That seems to be the trend these days– people hating on other people for the most trivial things. (I remember seeing this guy throw a hissy fit in someone’s comments section because he found the blueness of a butterfly pea drink “wrong on so many levels”…)
I feel like as the years go by, more people are becoming braver on the Internet thinking having a “shroud of anonymity” means they can get away with saying absolutely anything. Some people just really thrive within conflict for some reason.
I don’t know if anybody’s heard about this, but I recently read an article about this young lady who got unnecessary internet-hate over her usage of the word “luxury” in referring to a bag she received from her father as a gift. I wasn’t aware there was a monopoly on how the word “luxury” was supposed to be used, but then again, people can be so literal when it suits their specific situation. I can’t imagine the amount of hate she must’ve gotten to become viral, and why it had to get to a point where the poor girl felt compelled to explain the context of her word usage!
And while I was impressed by how this teenager handled a situation where adult commenters were acting so shamefully, it makes me upset that the entire thing needed to get blown so out of proportion to begin with. I just find it ridiculous that so many people would go out of their way to leave mean comments under her video when she was just sharing her joy. How come lots of people these days get provoked by the most random nothings and react as if they were wronged in a life-altering way? What is up with this desperate need to pull other people down? Does making other people feel like crap actually solve any of their own life problems? Instead of focusing on their own lives they prefer to shit on another’s parade– and for what? (To borrow a comment from a friend of mine, “YOU ALL SHOULD WORRY ABOUT YOURSELVES!”)
Being a jerk is a choice, just as much as being nice to others is a choice; and frankly, scrolling past is so much easier than taking the time to type out a comment. Yet some people get such a kick out of spewing hate and poison… Makes me see how it is a real possibility that more people own LV’s rather than respect and class these days.
The reason I bring this up is because I realized that the older I grow, the less tolerant I become of people who act like assholes. While it’s true that I don’t want to give such undeserving people my time, energy, and emotions, it’s also true that they are shining examples of the kind of person I DO NOT want to be: Negative. Mean. Bitter. High and mighty without substance. And a lot of times it can be easier to be these things, but at the end of the day, like I said, it is a choice. There are so many things in this Universe I have no control over, including how other people conduct themselves, but at the very least I have the power to control how I act. If I mess up and hurt others, it is my responsibility to acknowledge it and face the consequences of my actions.
And if there’s one thing I learned from the young lady from the “luxury bag” brouhaha, it’s that I don’t always need to fight fire with fire. It doesn’t hurt to be a little kinder, especially to people who deserve it, occasionally even to those who don’t. As for those who continually perpetuate negativity in my life, they’ll certainly be part of my cleansing process.
So now that I have said my piece, let’s have some cake.
This cheesecake is the bomb
Cheesecakes are a favorite guilty pleasure in our household, especially as far as my co-birthday celebrator is concerned. My brother, who shares the same birthday as I except five years apart, loves cheesecake. He’s not particular about baked or no-bake. It just needs to be delicious! And I can tell you he enjoyed this No-Bake Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake with gusto. Everyone in the house did, in fact. It is a brilliant recipe from Baker by Nature!
There are three parts to this super easy cheesecake: 1) a chocolate cookie crust with coffee-infused butter as a binder; 2) a rich and sublime chocolate-coffee cheesecake body, and 3) a chocolate-coffee ganache topping. You might think all those layers put this over the top but I think this has that perfect amount of chocolate flavor without crossing to the overly cloying spectrum. I am not a fan of chocolate desserts that clog my throat.
The chocolatey-ness of this cheesecake will entirely depend on the chocolate you use. I used ever-dependable Auro Chocolate when I made this, which is why it tasted sublime. It has delightful coffee undertones in both crust and cake as well. I added chocolate-covered beans as decoration to stay true to theme but found it really adds to the eating experience too! And if you make sure to use good-quality cream, you’ll get a beautiful texture that’s mousse-like, creamy, and melt-in-the-mouth all at the same time– an additional detail that just makes this treat overall dangerous.
I do have one regret here however. I wish I used a different cacao percentage chocolate for the ganache topping, just to get a different hue of chocolate for the layer on top. I used the same chocolate I used for the cheesecake itself so the color came out the same, making it hard to see the ganache layer in the photos. You will feel it when you slice into the cake with a knife though, because the top layer has a firm, almost crisp give to it. I just wish I could show off the layers better!
(No point crying over it now that it’s all been gobbled up.)
If you’re not really up for the chocolate ganache you can safely skip it (because it’s extra refrigeration time and sometimes we ain’t got no time for that!). However I highly recommend pairing this No-Bake Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake with a drink like the Hojicha Latte.
The chocolate and hojicha combo has really become a favorite for me. They pair well as flavors, but the earthiness of the hojicha also helps balance out the richness of the cheesecake. I suppose this only means there’s a chance you’ll go for a second slice, but hey, it’s a good thing the recipe I’m sharing is just for a 6-inch cheesecake lol.
- Before starting your recipe, leave your cream cheese out at room temperature until it’s very soft. Cream cheese takes quite some time to soften so plan at least 2 hours ahead! If you don’t soften the cream cheese sufficiently, it will be very difficult to create a smooth mixture for your cheesecake. The slices will not look as pretty, though of course it will still taste great. (Also make sure to allow the cream to come to room temp because the mixture will come out smoother if the ingredients are around the same temperature.)
- A springform pan is the preferred pan for this recipe. If you use a regular pan, it will be VERY hard to slice the cake and take it out of the pan without ruining it. If you don’t own a springform pan yet I highly suggest investing in one. It is, in my opinion, one of the most useful pans you could own.
- You can make a 9-inch version of this cheesecake by doubling the recipe. The original recipe actually yields a 9-inch cake, but I decided to scale down because for some reason I thought it would be “enough”.
- Use good quality cream cheese, chocolate, espresso, and cream to achieve best results. You can use whatever brand you prefer, but in case you’re curious about what I used in the recipe I’ll share it here. I personally love using Philadelphia Full-Fat Cream Cheese and Emborg Heavy Cream for cheesecakes the most. As for my chocolate of choice, I always use Auro Chocolate when I make chocolate-dominant desserts because it’s one of the best chocolate brands I have ever used, plus it’s local. For the espresso powder, I actually used Nescafe Gold instant coffee granules because that was all I had access to at the time. I think it turned out pretty great even though it wasn’t, strictly speaking, “espresso powder”. I think you can safely sub good instant coffee here. (I’m still on the hunt for a good espresso powder that’s more easily available.)
- For the cookie crust, you can use either pre-crushed cookie crumbs or you can crush the chocolate cookies yourself. Sometimes I get lazy and buy the crushed stuff, but I generally prefer using Oreos because they taste better. (There’s a crushed cookie version by Oreo as well!) If you’re going to crush whole Oreos yourself, it’s totally up to you if you want to include the cream or not.
- Make sure to pack the crust REALLY well into the bottom of the pan. Remember that the crust will not be baked, so if you don’t pack it in well it might fall apart when it’s sliced. I certainly did not have this problem, nor did my crust detach from the cheesecake body in any way.
- Beat the cream cheese really well until it’s completely smooth before adding anything else in. If you have trouble smoothing out the cream cheese it probably isn’t softened enough. You can also use a food processor if you want.
- After melting your chocolate, allow it to cool before adding it into your main mixture. Using the double boiler method is, I think, the easiest way to melt your chocolate gently in a manner you can easily control. You put your bowl of chocolate atop a pot with a small amount of simmering water, then allow the heat and steam trapped inside to melt your chocolate slowly. Using this method, you must make sure the bottom of your bowl does not touch the simmering water. After your chocolate is smooth and shiny, leave it to cool for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to have hot chocolate melt your cheesecake mixture.
- Mix the chocolate into the main mixture until evenly blended. This is important. I think it would be weird to see random streaks of white unmixed cream cheese within the slices of the cheesecake, so make sure to mix the chocolate in properly. Use a folding motion and scrape the side and bottom of the bowl as you go to make sure you get everything.
- The espresso ganache (and the chocolate covered coffee beans) is optional but highly recommended! I would suggest using chocolate that’s a different cacao percentage from your main cheesecake, just so that when the ganache sets you get a prominent ganache layer that’s a different shade from the rest of the cheesecake. Baker by Nature suggests using semisweet for the ganache versus bittersweet for the body. I used the same chocolate for the ganache and the body and as you can see, you can’t even tell I have a ganache layer up there. Once the ganache sets though, it has a different give under the knife compared to the rest of the cheesecake. It would’ve made a prettier cheesecake if I had just followed the instructions of the original recipe lol.
- Chill the No-Bake Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake at least 6 hours before slicing. Definitely give the cheesecake time to set (in terms of structure and flavor both!) before enjoying. The wait will be worth it!
- Cake will keep in the fridge, loosely covered, for up to 4 days. I don’t think ours lasted that long…
No-Bake Espresso Chocolate Cheesecake
For the chocolate cookie crust
- 1-1/3 cup crushed chocolate cookies
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
For the espresso cheesecake filling
- 200 grams bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoons espresso powder
- 340 grams (1.5 bars) full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/8 cup (26 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 Tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
For the espresso ganache
- 55 grams semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- 85 mL heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
- Chocolate-covered coffee beans or chocolate shavings for garnish (optional)
Make the crust
- Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 6-inch springform pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, melted butter, and espresso powder. (You can also melt the coffee in the butter while it's hot if you want.) Mix well to combine.
- Press the crust into the prepared pan using the flat bottom of a measuring cup, pressing firmly down in the middle and slightly up the sides if you want. Place crust in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling
- Prepare a bain-marie by filling a pot about 1/4 of the way with water then bringing it to a low simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low once water is simmering.
- Place chocolate into a heatproof bowl that will sit just on the rim of pan. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the simmering water. Heat until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the espresso powder until smooth. Set aside to cool down until needed.
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until completely smooth. (You can also use a food processor for this part.) Add in both sugars and cocoa powder (sift it if you want) and beat again until smooth. Add in the vanilla and heavy cream and mix until just combined.
- Fold in the slightly cooled chocolate until evenly combined. Scrape your spatula against the bottom and sides of the bowl as you mix to ensure there are no leftover bits of anything unimxed. You want the filling to be evenly blended.
- Remove pan with the crust from the freezer and scrape the filling into the pan. Smooth the top. Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 6 hours, until it has firmed up.
Make the ganache
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the cream to a low simmer. You just want the cream very hot but do not let it boil! Meanwhile, into a medium bowl, add the chopped chocolate.
- Pour half of the cream on top of the chocolate pieces and leave it to melt the chocolate for a couple of minutes. Stir the chocolate into the cream until combined and smooth, then stir in the remaining cream.
- Add in the espresso powder and butter. Stir until butter is completely melted and mixture is smooth and glossy. Pour the ganache over the chilled cheesecake and refrigerate another 30 to 60 minutes until set.
- Garnish with chocolate shavings or chocolate-covered beans, as desired. (You can also make extra ganache and pipe it on top of the cheesecake!) To serve, slice the cheesecake with a thin-bladed sharp knife. To make clean slices, make sure to wipe the knife clean between each cut.
- Serve with a tall glass of cold Hojicha Iced Latte (recipe below)! Cake will keep in the fridge, loosely covered, for up to 4 days.
- Purchase Hojicha powder from reputable sources for best flavor and quality. That’s really the only major thing that’s worth a mention here.
- Feel free to sub out the milk for dairy-free options. I am not sure which works best for Hojicha’s flavor profile though. I have seen other people say that soy milk and oat milk work wonderfully.
Iced Hojicha Latte
- 2 teaspoons of Hojicha powder
- 60 mL cool filtered water
- 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 180 mL milk or other milk of choice
- In a bowl, whisk together Hojicha powder and water until fully dissolved.
- Add ice to a serving glass, then pour in the milk. Add maple syrup and stir to combine. Gently pour in whisked Hojicha to create a layered effect. Stir and enjoy with the cheesecake!
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