Last year for my other half’s birthday I asked him what kind of cake would he like me to make for him. In his usual nonchalant manner he said “why don’t you surprise me?” I asked again for clarification, “Do you have a flavor in mind?” His reply reinforced his first response “just make me something you think I would like.” So all of a sudden the possibilities were endless. I had the creative reign to make whatever I wanted. It was inspirational really. The end result is a “frankensteining” of flavors that works together so well that it should be illegal. I warn you: this is not a “beginner” recipe, it takes several hours from beginning to end. As such, I suggest you read the entire recipe and then get started as timing and technique are equally important. This recipe is a labor of love, but every minute of time and effort will be more than worth it when you take the first bite.
I present to you Tuxedo cheesecake in three parts. An oreo cookie crust with a vanilla bean cheesecake topped by a dark chocolate mousse. When prepared together they form a symphony of flavor that is so exquisite and so delicious it must be tasted to be believed. My other half asked asked me to surprise him, and I did not disappoint; I even surprised myself.
Makes 8-12 servings
Oreo Cookie Crust
This crust works wonderfully with many cheesecakes/cakes. I use it in several recipes. I prefer the coconut oil to traditional butter because the fats in the coconut oil solidify better once cold and it adds a dimension of flavor to the recipe.
2 C crushed Oreo cookie (or other creme filled chocolate sandwich cookie) crumbs. A 14.oz bag will yield enough cookie crumbs to make the crust as long as you don’t eat too many from the bag.
1/3 C Coconut oil
Preheat oven to 375°. Remove stuffing from Oreo cookies and crush to a fine to coarse crumb using a food processor or potato masher. I have seen the pre-crushed crumbs in the baking aisle at the grocery store and you can use those to save time. However, I never have because crushing the cookies is one of my favorite parts and I find the bagged stuff is too uniform. Next, place the crumbs in a mixing bowl and add the coconut oil. Mix until thoroughly combined. You have the option to line the pan with parchment paper. This will make extrusion from the spring form pan much easier later on. I use the Alton Brown method to get the perfect sized piece of parchment.
Start by laying out a piece of parchment larger than the bottom of your pan. Then fold it in half vertically, then again horizontally. Then fold it into a triangle and then fold that in half, keeping the center (the pointy piece) of the paper lined up with the center of the pan the whole time. Then cut the parchment the size of the pan, unfold and place in your spring form. Voila! Next, using your hands and/or the back of a big spoon press crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of an 8″ spring form pan. You should have approximately 1/3 C cookie crumb mixture left over. Hang on to this for later and resist the urge to just pour it in your mouth. Place pan into oven for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. Then place pan in fridge to chill. On to the next step!
Preheat oven to 350°. Split open Vanilla bean. Scrape out the seeds and put pods and beans in the cream. Place cream and vanilla in a small saucepan until just hot, being very careful not to boil the cream. Remove from heat, set aside and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Once fully steeped, run vanilla cream through a strainer to remove the solids. In the meantime using a paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and sour cream in a stand mixer until blended. Scrape sides then add sugar and beat again until smooth. Scrape sides again and start mixing, add eggs one at a time; combine until smooth. Lastly add cooled vanilla mixture until well combined, no lumps. Pour batter into the chilled Oreo cookie crust pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes (edges set but center jiggly.) Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Place a large metal mixing bowl and your whisk attachment in the freezer; the bowl from your stand mixer will work (this is for the mousse.) Allow the cheesecake to cool for at least one hour before starting the next step.
At this point you have the option to tap out. This Vanilla cheesecake is delicious in of itself. However, the last step will put it over the top into the next level. If you have the energy to keep going, you will be rewarded.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
Inspired by Chocolate Mousse recipe from Alton Brown (my cooking Guru)
1 C Heavy whipping cream
1 TB Coconut oil
2 oz dark chocolate (more than 70% cacao)
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1.5 oz espresso with sugar
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Make the espresso. In fact you may want to do this step first before making the crust and drink what you don’t need for the mousse so that you have the energy to make it through the whole cake recipe.
The Cuban method is to put ~2 tsp of sugar in a cup, and when the espresso just starts to brew, take about 1/2 tsp (eyeball it) and pour it into the cup with sugar. Then stir it furiously with a spoon to get that nice foam. We call this la crema. Once the coffee has completed brewing, pour the rest of it in the cup with la crema and you will get that perfect foamy top every time. Set aside 1.5 oz for the mousse.
Remove the cold metal mixing bowl from the freezer and immediately pour the whipping cream into it. Using the whisk attachment (on the stand mixer or a hand mixer,) whip the cream until medium peaks form. Then place in the fridge. Using a double broiler (or improvise like I do using a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water) coat the bowl in coconut oil, then add the chocolate, stir with a rubber spatula to keep the chocolate from burning, once melted add the espresso and mix until glossy and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and vanilla extract until fluffy. Add the chocolate mixture and combine. Mix until smooth and creamy scraping the sides as necessary. Remove bowl from mixer and gently fold in the whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Be very careful not to deflate the mixture by lifting and turning until smooth. Once combined, spread the mousse over the cheesecake and refrigerate for at least one – two hours prior to serving. This will give the mousse time to set. Remove the cake from the spring form pan. Using the leftover cookie crumbs, press them against the sides of the cake until you have an even layer going up the sides of the cake. Now you are ready to cut and serve. You made it to the end of the journey. Revel in the sweet, delicious benefits of your dedication. Like I said at the beginning, it’s a lot of work but so worth it. Enjoy!