First things first, this is not my recipe. It was developed by the genius minds and creators of all things exceptionally exceptional at The Hummingbird Bakery in London.
It’s here because if I think a recipe is really that good (by which I mean I cannot fault it), it turns out 100% perfect, and tastes like something made in a restaurant or bought somewhere as good as the aforementioned bakery itself, then I know I have to repost it here. Because it deserves all the praise it gets, and hopefully it will be a new discovery for some.
Cheesecake is one of my favourite foods. Baked cheesecake, more importantly. It’s dense, creamy, smooth. I love the texture of a dense cheesecake with the juxtaposition of a rich and crumbly base. This cake fulfils all my needs and I don’t order cheesecake when I’m out anymore (unless it’s some crazy concoction or a new yet to be discovered flavour) because I can officially say that I have found the ONE.
I don’t care if I sound dramatic.
You could make this as a perfect treat for your other half on Valentine’s Day! This recipe makes a 12 slice cake, so I can guarantee you’ll be rolling your eyes over it (in a good way) for the entire weekend. It also has to be made the day before, or at least 12 hours before, because it has to set. I’m a little last minute. Sorry about that.
Once you’ve got this recipe down, you’ll never go back. It tastes like Nando’s chocolate cheesecake, without the cream and chocolate coloured marble layers. I found it online originally, which is where I found the recipe for their red velvet cupcakes too. Both turned out so well that I received their recipe book for Christmas and I get both excited and stressed at the same time flicking through the pages, over what I’ll make next, everything looks so good.
If chocolate cheesecake is a little rich for you, you can omit the chocolate and make a classic New York cheesecake. If you’re looking for something a little more red and romantic for Valentines, you could also make the Hummingbird Bakery’s perfect red velvet cupcakes. My icing job was lazy and botched though. Ignore my images. Yours will be better.
First step. If you’re selfless enough to make this for someone, you should accompany your saintly-ness with a drink. It may take up your free hand from time to time (or all the time, if you’re a good multi-tasker.) Either way, you deserve it!
- 900 g cream cheese
- 190 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 200 g chocolate roughly chopped (I used milk chocolate this time around)
For the base
Preheat the oven to 150C/302F. You will need a relatively large springform cheesecake tin. You’ll also need two large mixing bowls, an electronic whisk and a spatula.
Roughly break up the digestive biscuits first. Throw them all in a ziplock bag with the cocoa powder and whack the living daylights out of them with a rolling pin. If you have any pent up aggression or you’re making this entire cheesecake for yourself in protest because you hate Valentine’s Day, now is the time to let it all out. Double ziplock bagging may be required.
Melt the butter and add it to the now chocolate biscuit breadcrumbs until well mixed, throw it all into your springform tin, flattening it out with a fork. Put in it in the fridge while you make the main event. I used a very large mixing bowl to combine the biscuits and butter, and then rinsed it thoroughly to make the cheesecake – you will need a huge bowl for this to hold all the ingredients or things will get very messy very fast. 900 grams of cream cheese is no joke.
Next cream all the cheese together, with the sugar and vanilla essence. It should be thick but smooth with no lumps.
Keep mixing while cracking each egg into the mixture one by one until you end up with smooth, glossy (and obviously thinner) consistency. Scrape any excess from the sides of the bowl and mix them in too.
Now this part is a bit trickier. I know in the images the bowl I used to melt the chocolate pieces is really small. This makes things a lot more difficult. This is where your other large mixing bowl should come in. After you melt the chocolate in a large mixing bowl over a pot of simmering water, take it off the heat and spoon some of the cream cheese mixture into the melted chocolate to bring down the temperature. If you try it the other way around and pour the chocolate into the cream cheese, it will start to harden and you’ll get a speckled chocolate chip effect. If you end up doing this by mistake – don’t worry – just keep stirring like crazy until the chocolate mixes evenly with the cheese.
The advised method is to add spoonfuls of cream cheese to the bowl of melted chocolate bit by bit, until all mixtures are combined and glossy. Or you could use chocolate Philadelphia to avoid all this..but that might be gross…or a little too intense.
Next, take your cheesecake tin out of the fridge and fill with your chocolate cream cheese mixture.
For the final step, you need to create a water bath for your little friend. This helps keep the cheesecake moist and prevents cracks from forming. You need to use a shallow casserole dish or baking dish, large enough to hold the tin. I was a bit wary placing the cheesecake tin right into a dish half filled with water, in case the water managed to seep in somehow. Instead, I turned a pasta bowl upside down and placed the tin on top to avoid any contact with water. This will ensure the cheesecake is still steamed by the water bath, but you don’t have to worry about it getting wet after all your hard work.
Bake the cheesecake on the middle shelf for 50-60 minutes (without opening the oven door!) When time is up, the cheesecake should still be quite wobbly in the middle – that’s normal. Carefully take it out of the oven and when it’s cool, place it in the fridge overnight.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
♥ ♥ ♥