Chocolates and strawberries must most definitely have been the food of the Gods. The more adventurous amongst the heavenly elites might have indulged in a bit of cream cheese as well. Definitely indulged in cream cheese! If you have been following the blog for the past few weeks, you will know that I have been smitten by cream cheese. I wanted to bake something that shouted "Happy Valentine's Day" with obviously chocolate and strawberries. I decided to bake a simple chocolate brownie cheesecake. And then simply top it with fresh strawberries.
I adapted a recipe for chocolate cheesecake brownie and baked it into a decent sized round cake, complete with the crusty brownie edges and soft dense cheesy middle.
The first time I baked it, I had an accident. A happy one! You see, the recipe calls for two batters, one brown and one white. It says to layer the batters and swirl them with a fork, a la marble cake. So when I poured the brown batter in the pan and topped it with the white batter, I realized that I had completely forgotten to add flour to the brown batter.
Since it was too late to scoop it out, I cringed inwardly, admonished myself with a few choice words, added the flour to the remainder of the brown batter and proceeded as if all was right in this world.
The cake that resulted was perfect except the bottom of the cake was all fudgy and saucy and ooey-gooey, kind of like a molten chocolate pudding's insides. This was the flourless brown batter that I had added first. Happy accident? Hell Yeah!
The next time around, I was a good girl and added my flour when my flour was due. The cake was perfect, no fudgy, saucy bottom this time around. But I kind of preferred my accident version. The recipe that I share today is the accident free recipe. But if you are a sucker for fudgy chocolatey middles then you know what to do.
And a Happy Valentine's Day to ya all! May your day and night be filled with sweet deliciousness.
CHOCOLATE BROWNIE CHEESECAKE
Preparation Time - 25 minutes
Baking Time - 1 hour 15 minutes
Chilling Time - 5-6 hours or overnight
Serves - 10 if you all behave and have respectable sized portions
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
250g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
750g cream cheese, softened
15-20 strawberries, tops trimmed
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 20cm round springform pan.*
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). **
Place butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar in a bowl, beat with electric beater until pale and thick. Add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well between each. Add melted chocolate and flour. Mix well until combined.
Spread two thirds of the chocolate mixture in the pan. Set the remaining aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Beat with electric beater until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining 2 eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition.
Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture randomly in the pan. Alternate with dollops of chocolate mixture until all the batter is gone. Using a fork, gently swirl and smooth the top layer to create a marble effect.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes until the centre is just set. Cool completely in the pan, then decorate with trimmed strawberries.
Cover with plastic wrap or place in airtight container and chill for at least 5 hours. Remove from fridge at least 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
* I used a smaller pan because I wanted a higher cake. A bit of the cheesecake spilled over as it cooked as it rose quite well. But no dramas there. If I was making this for a dinner party or a special occasion where others other than myself and Nick were going to be eating this cake, I would have trimmed the top flat and decorated it with more panache. But because it was just us, we went au natural! I must warn you though, this cake is very rich and indulgent. The following night, we skipped dinner to dig into this beauty. If you use a larger pan, you will have a flatter, larger, more elegant cake.
** I have a red non-stick heavy bottomed milk pan. I don't remember the brand because I have had it forever (more like 10 years now). I have a vague memory of it being Raco, but can't be sure. I use it to make custard and melt chocolate. Although cookbooks and all good chefs advise on using the bowl over water method for melting chocolate, I use my milk pan. I melt the chocolate directly in it. Mostly because I was lazy one day all those years ago and discovered to my amusement and amazement that it worked. You of course have to go drill sergeant on the chocolate and stand over it, wooden spoon in hand, stir-crazy. And yes, the temperature has to be just right. You can of course experiment with a trusty saucepan if you have one or try out a few for good measure. I haven't always had success with the milk pan method, so be forewarned. The melt-chocolate-in-the-bowl-over -immering-water method invariably always works.