Oh my goodness. I can’t believe how fast the year just shot past! This time last year, I was a college student: happy-go-lucky, with big dreams and aspirations. This year is different. It’s my first Christmas and New Year as a working graduate, and my first time to actually buy my family decent gifts with my hard-earned money.
Stepping into the real world has made me realize how things can change as if in the blink of an eye; and it seems the passage of time is quicker than ever! But it’s a great comfort to know that there will always be Christmas and New Year, which to me is a chance to just be myself in the comfort of my own home with the people who love me. Ah I do love the holiday season!
I actually didn’t know what to make to mark the New Year. But then I figured, maybe something with a bit of liqueur would be a nice change from the usual baked goods that I make. My family and I don’t really drink, which is why I know nothing about baking and cooking liqueur– only that I need to buy myself some dark rum and Grand Marnier, among other things, for the slew of recipes I have earmarked for this coming year. However, we do almost always have Bailey’s in the house during the Christmas/New Year season, and you know what that means!
Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake. Is there anything cheesecake doesn’t go well with?
So we like Bailey’s. We also happen to like chocolate a lot. And then my brother is obsessed with cheesecake. Well just by looking at that equation, you’ve probably already figured that this cheesecake was a big hit. And why not? It was fantastic!
The gorgeous colour of the cheesecake comes from cocoa powder, contrasted by the darker cookie crust. You can really taste and feel the heat of the Bailey’s all throughout the cheesecake. Eating this is a bit like taking shots of Bailey’s Irish Cream, only in a solid, silky form. I love that the cream cheese and chocolate adds this great sweet-and-salty play in your mouth. When I decided to make something with a little fiery kick, this gave all that, and more!
In case you decide to make this by hand, like I did, make sure you let your cream cheese soften for about an hour or so to make everything easier to combine. It’s ready when you can mash the cream cheese with your whisk without any trouble.
Just so you know:
- When is the best time to make this recipe? If you’re going to make this for a party, I’m pretty sure this will impress your guests. But this recipe is too awesome to limit to just a special occasion. Seriously!
- Anything special we should know about before attempting this recipe? The chocolate ganache is optional, but I suggest you apply it if you’re not such a big fan of Irish Cream to make its flavour stand out a bit less. I skipped the ganache when I made mine because as I mentioned, we like Bailey’s. (But really I was just too lazy to do that last step. HA!) But I’m definitely going to try it with the ganache next time.
- Would I change anything from this recipe? I omitted some ingredients from the original recipe for the crust, but it’s nothing major that affects the general outcome of the cheesecake.
Irish Cream Chocolate Cheesecake
Makes one 9-inch round cake
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker/chocolate cookie crumbs
- 1/4 cup 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake
- 3 8- ounce packages cream cheese, softened (low-fat is fine)
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup Bailey’s or other Irish cream liqueur
- For the Chocolate Ganache:, Optional
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or half cream
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Set a rack in the centre of the oven, and another rack in the lower third. Fill a glass pan halfway with water and place it on the bottom rack. This will help prevent cracking on the cheesecake as it bakes.
Make the crust
- 2. In a large bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and the melted butter. Stir together until well-combined. Pat into the bottom of a 9-inch well-greased springform pan.
- 3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; set aside.
- 4. Increase oven temperature to 450°F (230°C).
Make the cheesecake
- 5. In a large bowl, by mixer or hand, combine cream cheese, white sugar, cocoa powder and flour. Beat at medium speed until blended and smooth, trying not to over-mix.
- 6. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Blend in the sour cream and Irish cream liqueur; mixing on low speed until blended. Pour filling over baked crust.
- 7. Place the cheesecake on the rack above the water bath, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 250°F (120°C), and continue baking for 60 more minutes.
- 8. Once cooked, the cheesecake will be firm at the sides and only slightly jiggly in the centre. With a knife, loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool for about 15 minutes on a baking rack, then remove the rim of pan. Chill for a few hours, or overnight, before serving.
To prepare the optional ganache
- 9. Place the chopped chocolates in a bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the cream until it is almost boiling. Remove from heat, and pour over the chocolate chips and let sit for 30 seconds.
- 10. With a dry spoon, gently stir the mixture in a circular motion starting from the centre-out, until the chocolate has melted and are mixed in well. The ganache should be just slightly warm at this point. Pour over the top of the cooled cheesecake before refrigerating.
- 11. You may also sprinkle the cheesecake with chocolate chips or chocolate shavings*, but it's best if this is done right before serving to prevent moisture from forming on of your chocolate garnish while it sits in the fridge.
Have a blessed New Year everyone! 🙂