Dark Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

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I really had to rally for this cheesecake. I needed to make it for a birthday celebration I was throwing for one of my instructor friends and I ended up making this at midnight on a Friday night after 2 weeks straight of 16 hours day and  no more than 6 hours of sleep. Not to mention that day I had a marathon meeting with my boss that spanned the whole day. That being said, it wasn’t the most well thought out recipe. Like I’ve mentioned before I have an issue with following just 1 recipe. I usually have 2-4 then combine them on the fly, which is why my recipes can sometimes be a little vague.

Due to that I only got 3 packages of cream cheese at the store–which most of the recipes used–and no sour cream because I wasn’t feeling it (P.S. the late night QFC guys and me have become pretty good friends recently due to the weird times I go shopping). But when I got home I realized that only 1 of the 4 recipes I had looked at had no sour cream but it also used 4 packages of cream cheese. So then I had to improvise and unfreeze some frozen yogurt I had made and substituted that for the sour cream. Even though yogurt is commonly used in cheesecake recipes, it’s usually Greek yogurt with fat content, so I was a little wary of my non-fat regular yogurt. It ended up working out just fine but I think that might have been one of the reasons my cheesecake cracked. And I mean really cracked. The other reason might have been that I kept the oven door closed when cooling. Usually I bake my cheesecake for around an hour then turn off the heat and crack the oven door and let it cool slowly which always prevents cracks. After an hour the cheesecake wasn’t quite ready but as it was 1 am and there was a high probability that I would have passed out on my kitchen floor had I tried to stay awake any longer I just turned off the oven and kept the door closed to let it bake a little longer. 

Regardless of the no-sleeping thing Saturday turned out to be an amazing day. The 8 am class I teach went great then only 1 other teacher showed up to my second class so we got to practice together instead. After that (and a 15 minute nap woo-hoo!) a bunch of other people in my program and myself went to HUMP!–a Pacific Northwest amateur porn festival, which is always an experience. Then we had champagne and this cheesecake cheesecake at the birthday lady’s house (where I learned that you can make whipped cream using two forks wedged together thanks to my friend DJ Gizzy Fresh)  before going out dancing at a place that had both a cage and a stripper pole. I think it’s safe to say that a fun time was had by all. 

Anyway, I’m really glad I did get to make this cheesecake. Everyone really loved it (including the birthday girl) so I call it a success–minus the small issue of the ravine down the middle of the cheesecake. But hey, that’s what toppings are for. 

Ingredients

Crust

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Cheesecake

12 oz bittersweet chocolate  
3-8oz packages cream cheese (softened).  
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup either sour cream or yogurt
1 can cherry pie filling
2 cups sweetened whipped cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Brush spring-foam pan with melted butter. Mix remaining butter with graham cracker crumbs, cocoa and a pinch of salt. Press into spring foam pan and bake 15 minutes. Let cool. 

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Melt the chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan on simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar. 

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Add the melted chocolate and beat until fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well (about 30 seconds) after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 
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Add the vanilla extract and sour cream (or yogurt) and beat until thoroughly incorporated. 
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Pour the filling into the crust. Place the cheesecake pan on a larger baking pan and place in the oven. Pour boiling water into the pan to steam the cheesecake while it cooks. 
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Bake for about 55-60 minutes or until firm (the center of the cheesecake will still look a little wobbly). Turn off the heat and crack the oven door open. Let cheesecake cool (anywhere between 1 and 3 hours). Remove from oven and pour cherry pie filling over cheesecake. 
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Cover and refrigerate a few hours before serving. Top with delicious whipped cream and enjoy! 
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