I first must admit, that in looking up the source recipes online, I ended up on Facebook for a good 20 minutes. Focus. Must focus. Anyways, although I drink coconut water and love my quinoa and kale, I am not about to say “no” to a chocolate cake. Especially not a homemade one. With cheesecake in the middle.

It is my Dad’s birthday today (happy birthday Dad!) and being a lover of all things chocolate, I figured he would enjoy this special cake. Every part of this cake is fairly easy to make (even if you’ve never baked before!). Just follow the directions, get your measurements right, and stay close to your oven to ensure proper baking times. If I can pull this off in an oven that’s circa 1950 with a completely unreliable temperature dial, you can do this too!

After consuming, please attend a yoga class. To cleanse and clear your body of all the deliciousness that you are about to consume. So, without further ado, here is Devil’s Food Cheesecake.

For the Cake Layer:
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp. white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (or 2 tsp. instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water, or simply 1 cup boiling water)

For the cheesecake:
1 ¼ pounds bar cream cheese (20 oz.), room temperature
¾ cups sugar
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream

For the frosting:
8 oz. of Dark Chocolate (I love the Ghirardelli’s Semi Sweet baking bars. They are divine!)
1 cup of butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

For cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set a kettle of water to boil. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream.

Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of the cheesecake pan. Wrap bottom half of pan in foil. Pour in filling; place in a roasting pan. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of spring form. Bake until just set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Cover, chill overnight, then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.

For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch baking pans (or line with parchment paper circles) and set aside.
2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in hot coffee.
3. Pour batter evenly between the two pans and bake on middle rack of oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool 5 minutes in pans; run a butter knife around the edges of each cake. Place a wire cooling rack over top of each pan. Wearing oven mitts, use both hands to hold the racks in place while flipping the cakes over onto the racks. Set the racks down and thump on the bottom of the pans until the cakes release. Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
Microwave chocolate in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on High power for 1 minute. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10- to 15- second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature

Beat butter and vanilla extract in medium mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate until blended, scraping occasionally. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until light and fluffy. If icing is too thick, add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to desired consistency. Makes 3 cups.

Assembly:
Place bottom layer on cake stand. Remove cheesecake from freezer, unwrap, and remove from metal bottom, then peel off parchment paper. Place bottom layer of chocolate cake onto stand, and spread a small amount of frosting over the top (this will hold the cheesecake in place as well as add to the yumminess). If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, and it is necessary to trim it, wait approximately 10 minutes for the cheesecake to soften, then trim it with a knife. Spread some frosting on top of cheesecake layer and place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake. Coat entire cake with a generous layer of the frosting to act as the crumb coat. Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes, and then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as necessary. Top with shaved white chocolate and/or shaved dark chocolate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (This cake doesn’t have to stay in the fridge until IMMEDIATELY before serving, so don’t worry if you have a 30-minute lapse between the refrigerator and serving.)

Adapted and Inspired by Junior’s Most Fabulous Cheesecakes and Deserts, Foodess.com, and Erin’s Food Files.com.

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