Best homemade cheesecake yet
This recipe is fantastic. The flavor is perfect and the texture is spot on. It is really, really dense and has a perfect balance between "creamy" and "firm". The recipe is straight forward for a baked cheesecake:
- Make a crust (sugar, graham cracker crumbs, butter);
The recipe is very simple and the ingredient list is perfectly balanced to get a great result. And the water bath, mentioned above, is the extra TLC that takes a good recipe and makes it special.
This was my first water bath for a cheesecake and I was absolutely pleased with the results. I have tried covering the cake part way through baking, placing pans of water in the oven, and so forth to prevent my cakes from cracking and to keep them evenly moist while also dense and firm--just like a good cheesecake from a nice bakery.
I have also tried a number of variations in the ingredients, including flour (disaster!), corn starch (good results), gelatin (good results depending on the recipe, although the gelatin + water + cream cheese recipes are below average) and so forth.
These tips and tricks are all handy and have their place. Sometimes time or recipe dictates using a preformed crust in a pie dish. Likewise, water baths take time and patience (especially wrapping the springform pan and avoiding leaks and tears). And many of the tips go hand in hand with the water bath, so it is not solution unto itself. But the results have been great and I now see why so many chefs have recommended water baths for cheesecakes--they work, and the end result is a much more consistant and enjoyable texture that is very pleasing to the eye.
The cake tastes great too :) The chocolate flavor is robust and dark and not overly sweet, almost coffee like. The vanilla portions are smooth and sweet, and together they are a wonderful compliment. And as Tammy noted it preserves well--good enough to thaw out pieces for company and serve it as "fresh" made and still get ohhhs and ahhhs.
If you like dark chocolate and like cheesecakes you owe it to yourself to try this recipe. It is absolutely, positively fantastic. It is so good I wish I had invented it... but alas, it was given to me by a co-worker. I think they get a kick out of me trying new recipes, altering them, and telling them what I think. I guess male cooks are rare these days ;)