Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake

We’re saying goodbye to 2021 and hello to a beautiful 2022 with a Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake. A Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake covered in glossy ganache and gold flecks because we’re feeling fancy – even if we’re in PJs watching The Office. Again.

This cheesecake is intensely chocolate with a layer of silky ganache on top. The coffee flavor is subtle – I dare say you could serve it to a “coffee hater,” and they’d just think it was chocolate. Buttery and sweet with just a hint of salt, the crust is a perfect match to the light and fluffy chocolate cheesecake filling.

My boys love cheesecake. I love cheesecake. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who dislikes it. Over the years, I’ve shared cheesecake favorites, including:


Y’all. That’s just a sampling. Over 13 years of blogging, cheesecakes of all kinds have been our favorites.

Cheesecake is a baked custard!

I never thought about it until I read on the Junior’s Cheesecake site that cheesecake is baked custard! It really is! Eggs, cream cheese (in American versions), sugar…custard! Ok, my mind is a little blown; I’d never thought of cheesecake that way.


There’s a record of cheesecakes dating back to ancient Greece, and in 1730s Philadelphia, there was a tavern called the “Cheesecake House.” I wonder it was opened by the ancestors of the Cheesecake Factory?

Start with a cookie crust.

I prefer cookie crumb crusts for cheesecakes. I’ve seen some baked in pastry crusts – I don’t trust them. Cookie crust all the way!

For this cheesecake, we’ll use crushed sandwich cookies. Here’s a mind-blowing fact – it’s not necessary to remove the creme filling. What?!? It actually helps the crumbs stick together.

In this case, since we’re making a chocolate coffee cheesecake, I’m using these mocha-flavored sandwich cookies I found at my grocery store. If you can only find plain, that’s perfectly fine. If you want to pump up the coffee flavor in the crust, you’ll add a little espresso powder in the crust mix. It is absolutely still delicious without it.

Whir the cookie crumbs with a little melted butter, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Press into the pan. Bake for a few minutes.

How to add chocolate and coffee flavor to the cheesecake

For the chocolate, it’s as simple as melting chocolate, letting it cool, then stirring into the cheesecake base.

For the coffee flavor, we’re using two ingredients. One is espresso powder. The other is Kahlua liqueur.

Why espresso powder?

I always keep espresso powder on hand. Not only does it add coffee flavor, but if you add just a smidge to your chocolate desserts, it boosts the chocolate flavor. I watched a show ages ago where Ina Garten tested it with chocolate cake. When you’re using the small amounts in a chocolate recipe, you can’t taste the coffee, just a deeper chocolate flavor.

It’s stocked in two places in my grocery store: in the Italian food section and with the powdered decaf coffee. You can also get it on AmazonKing Arthur Baking Company, etc.

Why use Kahlua?

Well, Kahlua is dreamy. It’s a coffee liqueur that adds richness and depth of coffee flavor. Of course, you can leave it out. Replace with actual coffee or double up on the vanilla.

If you love Kahlua, be sure to check out all of the Kahlua recipes on the blog, including Kahlua-Coffee Ice Cream Dream CakeBoozy Pudding Cake, and Golden Kahlua Coladas.

Tips for baking a cheesecake

There are two tips I always use now, and they’ve yet to fail me.

Bake in a bain-marie, or a water bath. Simply put, you’ll wrap the springform pan in a few layers of foil. This serves two purposes – one, it guards against a leaky pan, and two, it keeps water from the water bath out. You’ll place the cheesecake inside a large roasting pan and add water to the pan up about an inch depth. This keeps the cheesecake moist and helps prevent cracking.


Let the cheesecake cool gradually in the oven. Once it’s finished baking and is set, crack the oven door and let the cheesecake cool for an hour as the oven cools. This will lessen the shock of going from a hot oven to a cool room, or worse, straight into the fridge. Doing so can cause cracking.

Why room temperature ingredients are important when baking a cheesecake

Room temperature cream cheese will whip up more smoothly than cold cream cheese. Cold cream cheese can leave lumps in the batter.

Adding cold eggs or Greek yogurt to the mix can cool the batter down again, causing lumps and messing with that fluffy and light texture we want.

Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake

for the crust:

about 20 mocha sandwich cookies (regular sandwich cookies are just fine)*

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons sugar

pinch fine sea salt

*if using regular sandwich cookies, add 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder to the melted butter

for the cheesecake:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons Kahlua*

1 3/4 teaspoons espresso powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 ounces full-fat Greek yogurt, room temperature

*If not using Kahlua, increase both espresso powder and vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons, or sub 2 tablespoons of brewed coffee

for the ganache and topping:

1 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

edible gold luster dust, optional

vodka or Everclear for mixing luster dust, optional

Place oven rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 350. Wrap three layers of foil around the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.

Make the crust. Whir the cookies in a food processor until they form fine crumbs. Measure out 2 cups. Discard the remainder or save for another use. Add the 2 cups back into the food processor bowl along with the butter, sugar, and salt. Pulse until well combined.

Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Reduce oven temp to 325. Melt chopped chocolate over low heat or in the microwave in 30-second intervals at 50% power, stirring between intervals. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese for several minutes until fluffy and no lumps remain. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in sugar and salt. Mix until well combined.

One at a time, add the eggs, beating until incorporated and scraping sides and bottom of bowl between each addition. Stir Kahlua, espresso powder, and vanilla together in a small bowl. On low speed, beat in the Greek yogurt and Kahlua mixture.

With the mixture on low, mix in the cooled, melted chocolate. Scrape bottom and sides of the bowl, stirring until all of the chocolate is incorporated.

Pour into the prepared pan over the crust, smooth top. Place pan in a large roasting pan. Working quickly, but being careful not to burn yourself, place the roasting pan in the oven. Pull the rack out a bit and pour hot water into the roasting pan (not on the cheesecake) until it comes up about 1 inch up the sides of the cake pan. Close the oven. Bake for 70-85 minutes until the cheesecake is set. You’ll know by jiggling the pan. The center will wobble a bit but should not slosh. If it looks too jiggly, let it bake a bit more.

Turn the oven off. Take the cheesecake out of the roasting pan and place back in the oven. Crack the oven door open, and let the cheesecake gradually cool, in the oven for 1 hour. After one hour, remove to a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edge of the pan. Cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Make the ganache. Heat the cream and butter to a bare simmer. Pour over chocolate. Let sit 5 minutes, then stir, don’t whisk, until smooth. Remove 1/2 cup of ganache to a small bowl and set aside. Quickly pour the remaining ganache over the cooled cheesecake, spreading evenly with an offset spatula. Return to the refrigerator along with the bowl of reserved ganache.

After 30 minutes to an hour, check the reserved ganache to see if it’s stiffened up and will hold its shape. Transfer to a piping bag. Use plain or star tips, or just snip the end, to add ganache decorations on top. Chill.

Mix a bit of gold luster dust with vodka or Everclear. Use a food-only paintbrush to flick onto the cheesecake.

Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


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