I LOVE chocolate and I LOVE cheesecake so the two together was heaven on earth for me. A chocolate cheesecake recipe is nothing new, but I've added a little bit of spice to each one of my little cheesecakers. I've done the dirty (if cooking and tasting chocolate cheesecakes can really be called "dirty"?) work for you. I made one batch of cheesecake and divided it into four. I then added different secret ingredients to each one. So... let's get to it shall we?
The first cake batter I added ground cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves.
The other three cakes were accompanied with alternative spices as well. One cake had Cayenne, the other Chili Powder and the last one had Chipotle Chile Pepper.
Once the graham cracker crust had cooled from it's prior baking I added the four different cheesecake batters. I then filled the casserole dishes with boiling water half way up the sides of the cheesecake pans. This helps keep the cheesecake moist and hopefully from cracking.
Tip 1: make sure your tin foil is wrapped snuggly around the spring form pans so no water can seep through.
Tip 2 (if you're going to bake all four flavors at once): wrap tin foil around the handle of the casserole dishes identifying which cake is which.
Now for the hard part-- tasting each one!
Cake 1: Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Cloves-- tasted very Christmassy
Cake 2: Chili Powder-- had the slightest hint of chili, but not a lot of other flavors going on
Cake 3: Cayenne Pepper-- had a good amount of spice taste, but didn't overwhelm the chocolate flavor
Cake 4: Chipotle Chile Pepper-- smokey undertones
THE WINNER-- Cayenne Pepper! It was a nice pair to chocolate and didn't take away from it. Now, that's not to say the other three weren't delicious, but the Cayenne was by far my fave.
Chocolate Cayenne Cheesecake
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar (brown or granulated white-- I've used either and both work great for the crust)
3 (8 ounce) pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate, melted (I used Ghiradelli's baking chips)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper (If you like more heat add additional increments, but I would suggest tasting the batter as you go. Keep in mind the spicyness subsides a bit with baking)
1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Combine the melted butter, graham crackers and sugar in a food processor. Press mixture into the bottom of your springform pan and bake for 5 minutes. Set aside and cool
2. In a large bowl mix together cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add sweet condensed milk until smooth and creamy. Next, add all of the remaining ingredients. Poor into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 65 minutes or until cake center is set. Cool to room temperature and then chill thoroughly in the fridge. Store leftovers in the fridge (if you have any).