Ultimate No-Bake Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
I am so excited to share this cheesecake.
It is a beauty, it is delicious, and it just might be my most favorite creation ever.
Truly, I am in love.
Lately I’ve been feeling like I need to push my boundaries. That I need to be more experimental, more creative, more exciting, more more. I wasn’t sure how exactly I was going to achieve this goal, but one night as I lay in bed hopelessly trying to sleep, it came to me.
As it so often does my mind dreamily wandered to the blog, then to food, then to recipes. My thoughts lingered on chocolate, then traveled onto sumptuous cakes, cozy cabins, tinkling fireplaces, and dark, rich, romantic colors.
Then I envisioned this.
If you’re thinking that this looks like a seductively dreamy treat straight out of fairytale, then you’d be right. This is one decadent, rich, sinfully good chocolate cheesecake, and once you try it, you’ll never bake another one again.
Cheesecake is a finicky bird, and for a non-baker like me it’s incredibly difficult to cook. There’s that whole getting it to set jussst right, with a jiggly center that’s not too-too jiggly but not too-too firm, either. Then you need to let it cool, slowly and deliberately, so those icky looking surface cracks don’t come to play. And then there’s the debate over how many eggs, flour or no flour, sour cream or no sour cream, on and on.
In sum, it’s a conversation all too complicated for an impatient little flower like me. So instead I’ve removed myself from it completely, developed a most delectable no-bake formula, and made what I think is the best damn cheesecake ever.
Before I highlight this recipes ridiculously easy preparation, I’ll start with the ingredients. There are only seven of them (eight if you count salt) and if beauty in numbers means less is more, than this cake is flush with spades.
A thick buttery crust is the foundation of any great cheesecake, and for this one I enlisted famous chocolate wafers. They are the quintessential chocolate cookie, with the ideal crunch and level of sweetness that makes for the perfect cheesecake base. If you can’t find them in your local store (link below), chocolate graham crackers, plain graham crackers, or even oreos are all great substitutes, but chocolate wafers should definitely be your preference.
Once your wafers (or substitute) are in hand, the transformation from cookies to crust is easy. Simply pulse them in your food processor, combine with melted butter, and voilà! A crust is born. I almost exclusively bake with salted butter – to me it just lends better flavor – but feel free to use whichever you like best.
When it comes to chocolate I’ve grown a serious appreciation for chopping your own chunks vs. using chips, and as I’ve said before Green & Black’s has some of my favorite bars. Their chocolate is really rich, really flavorful, chops easily, and melts beautifully, so for these reasons and more it’s become my go-to brand.
To create the cheesecake filling you start by creating a ridiculously thick chocolate sauce. Part chopped dark chocolate, part heavy cream, simply alternate and stir these two ingredients over medium-low heat and before your know it, you will literally be drooling into your saucepan. Once the chocolate sauce is tempting you with every swirl, you’re ready to incorporate the cream cheese. I always use Philadelphia, and I’d never make a cheesecake (or anything else that needs CC) without it. I opt for the reduced fat variety to ease my conscience, but of course using original would work just as well. Whisk your cc into the chocolate sauce, sometimes slowly, sometimes fast (I go into more detail below) and as you do your mixture will gradually become thicker. Once all the cc is whisked in, simply add in white sugar, vanilla extract, a touch of salt, and perhaps… a dash of patience.
Because once you pour your filling over the crust, you’re going to need to wait at least six hours before digging in.
Yes, six hours. Preferably eight, or even overnight, but I stopped waiting at six and things worked out just fine.
As you can see I decorated this to set the mood, and I think it’d be really lovely for you to recreate it too. It seems like a lot of effort, but trust me, it really isn’t. All you’re doing is slopping some berries on top and sprinkling with powdered sugar, but the effect of these minimal steps simply MAKES the whole presentation, so I say go for it.
As for the taste? Where do I even begin. Silky, creamy, smooth, chocolatey perfection, this cake is a true beauty. It’s thick and luscious filling bounces perfectly off the crunchy buttery crust, you might actually start fighting your guests for bites. The taste is sweet but not too sweet, and it’s full of those classic hints of tang and tart that make cheesecake the delicious treat it is. The powdered sugar doesn’t add much flavor wise, but the berries are the perfect palate cleanser, all bright and refreshing and giving you room for another hefty slice.
Because obviously, you’re going to need at least two.
Ultimate No-Bake Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 sleeve Famous Chocolate Wafers
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps Salted Butter (melted)
- 2 cups Chopped Dark Chocolate (I used 4 bars of Green & Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate)
- 1 pint Heavy Cream
- 16 oz Reduced Fat Cream Cheese (I used Philadelphia)
- 1 cup Sugar
- 2 tsps Vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- Crisco to grease
- Cherries, Blueberries, Pomegranate Seeds, Mint and Powdered Sugar to garnish (optional)
- Lightly grease 9″ springform pan.
- In food processor grind chocolate wafers into crumbs. Next, add melted butter to processor, then pulse all ingredients until crumbs are well coated. Transfer buttered crumbs to bottom of springform pan and spread into an even layer, using the back of a tablespoon to smooth the top. Place in freezer to set.
- In large saucepan heat 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate and 1/2 cup heavy cream over medium -low heat, stirring gently until well combined. Once melted, continue to add chocolate and heavy cream in alternating doses until all ingredients have been used and a thick chocolate sauce has formed. Next, begin to whisk in cream cheese, approximately 4 oz at a time. Whisking speeds should alternate between gentle and vigorous.* Once all cream cheese has been incorporated, lastly whisk in sugar, vanilla, and salt, then immediately pour over frozen crust. Return cake to freezer and let set for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
- When ready to serve, allow cake to thaw ~10 minutes before removing from pan.** Top with fresh berries and sprinkle with powdered sugar, then serve.
* Gently whisk the cream cheese at first, allowing it to naturally melt at the temperature of the chocolate sauce. However, as it starts to break down begin to whisk more vigorously so that it incorporates smoothly and evenly. It sounds complicated, but it’s easy to tell what whisking speed you need based on where in the melting process the cream cheese is.
** Running a butter knife around the edges of your thawed cake will make it easier to remove neatly from the springform pan.