Chocolate Orange Cheesecake- Around the holidays, we all see chocolate oranges in stores. They are a staple in our stockings in my house every Christmas morning. I wanted to make that holiday magic last all year long by capturing this classic flavor combination in a form that could be enjoyed throughout the year. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a delicious cheesecake that is easy and impressive!
Why You’ll Love This Cheesecake
You know I’m a sucker for cheesecakes. In fact, it is the favorite dessert of everyone in my household. I love this recipe, and I think you will too. It’s not too sweet, with a hint of orange and a rich, deep chocolate flavor. You get chocolate not only from the crust, but the cocoa powder, and a ganache that you add right to the cheesecake filling. The best part? No water bath required!
If you like a treat once in a while, make it yourself instead of buying it from the grocery store! This recipe is easy and wonderful to serve to guests because it is elegant and has a wow factor without being stress inducing to make!
For years now, I have been making all of our sweet treats at home. They are so much better than store bought, and healthier too without all those additives and overprocessing.
If you are trying to transition into making more of your own desserts, cheesecakes are not as intimidating as they seem. This no water bath cheesecake is really easy to make.
This water bath free cooking method starts at higher heat, then finishes off low and slow with some time cooling in the oven. I have used this method many times and it works well!
The fresh orange zest really makes this cheesecake sing, and it pairs perfectly with the chocolate.
Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Ingredients
Chocolate Graham Crackers- These can be found in most grocery stores. You can try using chocolate sandwich cookies, but you will need to remove the filling and just use the cookie part.
Unsalted Butter- This helps the crust hold together.
Granulated Sugar- Added to the cheesecake crust to sweeten it.
Cream Cheese- This is the backbone of most any cheesecake! I recommend full fat, not reduced fat.
Dark Brown Sugar- Using brown sugar in the cheesecake batter adds depth, and helps enhance the chocolate flavor.
Whole Milk Ricotta- This adds body to the cheesecake batter. Be sure to use whole milk ricotta (or double cream ricotta if you can find it).
Cocoa Powder- You can use dutch process or regular cocoa here, it doesn’t really make a difference. I like using dark cocoa for more depth, but regular chocolate is fine too.
Heavy Whipping Cream- In addition to the cocoa, we are making a ganache to add to the cheesecake batter.
Orange Zest- It’s not chocolate orange cheesecake without orange! You’ll need the zest of a whole orange for this recipe.
Chocolate Chips- You will need these along with the heavy whipping cream to make the ganache. You can use semi sweet, dark, bittersweet, or milk chocolate chips.
Eggs- You will need 3 large eggs for this recipe, make sure they are room temperature (more on that in the recipe card).
You will notice in the recipe card that you can add espresso powder if you like. This is purely optional. It helps add some depth to the chocolate, but it is not a necessary ingredient. I think you’ll find your cheesecake is still great even if you don’t add it.
How To Make Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
This cheesecake is pretty easy, even if you aren’t a baker! I recommend using a stand mixer but if you don’t have one, a hand mixer with beater attachments will work fine. Here are the basic steps with more detailed info and notes in the recipe card, so be sure to head down to the end of the post to check it out!
- Make the cheesecake crust.
- Beat the cream cheese and brown sugar.
- Add the ricotta and cocoa powder and mix.
- Make the chocolate ganache and add the orange zest.
- Pour the ganache into the cream cheese mixture and beat.
- Add the eggs and beat.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the crust and bake.
- Refrigerate until set.
Cheesecake Crust Step By Step
If you’re going to make a chocolate cheesecake, it should have a chocolate crust right? I like using chocolate graham crackers for this recipe. Here are some tips for the crust:
- Crush the graham crackers.
- Add the sugar and stir.
- Add the melted butter and stir again.
- Press the crust mixture into the springform pan on the bottom and up the sides.
If you don’t have a food processor to make the crust, a gallon freezer bag and a rolling pin is a good substitute. After crushing the graham crackers, place them right in the springform pan and combine with the sugar and melted butter, rather than in the food processor bowl.
Expert Cheesecake Tips
One of the things I love most about cheesecake is that it’s a make ahead dessert. I have never served a cheesecake the same day I made it, and I find they are better after a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. If you can do anything in advance when planning a meal, it’s a great idea to seize the opportunity when you can. Here are a few tips to help you as you make your cheesecake:
- This is great to serve at a dinner party because you can get ten slices out of it. You might even be able to get twelve slices if you cut carefully.
- For best results, this should be made the day before it is served and refrigerated until ready to eat.
- I recommend using a springform pan for this recipe that is NOT non-stick. I have found over the years that the classic stainless steel version works best. Out of all the cheesecakes I have ever made, not one has ever stuck to the inside of the pan, and the results I have experienced using a non-stick springform pan are not as good. With a non-stick pan, I have noticed the cheesecake tends to pull away from the sides of the pan and get too brown and overcook on the sides.
- Make sure to let the cream cheese, ricotta, and eggs come to room temperature before preparing the filling. If the ingredients are not room temp, not only will your mixer have a harder time getting the ingredients incorporated properly, but your cheesecake will probably crack on the top.
- You don’t need to let the heavy cream come to room temperature because you will be heating it in a saucepan.
- I find that a straight sided scotch glass works great for pressing the graham cracker crumbs to the sides of the pan.
What To Serve With Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
If you are looking for suggestions for mains or sides to serve as part of a meal that includes this cheesecake, here are a few suggestions:
- Beer braised short ribs
- Slow cooker pot roast
- Yukon gold mashed potatoes
- Roasted green beans and carrots
This would be a great dessert to make for your loved one to enjoy on Valentine’s Day, or any day of the week really. It’s always time for cheesecake! I hope you love this chocolate orange cheesecake recipe, and if you enjoy it please let me know by leaving a rating or comment. If you want all the latest updates, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Happy Baking!
This Chocolate Orange Cheesecake has deep and rich chocolate flavor with a hint of orange. It's a showstopper!
- 10 oz chocolate graham crackers
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 8 oz bricks of cream cheese
- 1 cup of dark brown sugar
- 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup of dark cocoa powder (or regular cocoa powder)
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- Zest from one whole orange
- 3 large eggs
For the Crust
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl.
- Place the chocolate graham crackers, and 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of a food processor or gallon sized freezer bag. If using food processor, pulse until crackers are finely ground. If using a freezer bag, use a rolling pin to crush and grind the crackers.
- If you are using a food processor, add the butter and pulse until combined. Add the mixture to a 9 inch springform pan. If you are using a freezer bag, place the crushed crackers into a bowl, and add the butter. Stir well and then add the mixture to the springform pan.
- Next, using your hands or a straight sided cup such as a scotch glass, press the crumbs firmly into the bottom and sides of the pan, making sure the thickness is even all the way around. The crust will go almost all the way up the sides of the pan.
- Bake the crust on the center rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes. Due to the dark color of the crust, it will be difficult to detect browning, but you will notice the very top edge of the crust should be a bit darker brown.
- Remove the pan from the oven, and turn the oven heat up to 450 degrees and make the filling while the crust cools and the oven heats up.
For the Filling
- Place the 3 bricks of cream cheese and 1 cup of dark brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and stir on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy. You will notice that the mixture is a beige color, that is from the brown sugar.
- Add the 1 cup of ricotta, espresso powder if using, and 1/3 cup of dark cocoa powder and stir on medium speed until combined, then turn off the mixer and make the ganache.
- In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup of heavy cream on medium low heat. While cream is heating, zest the orange and chop finely if the pieces are large. When the cream is hot but not boiling, add the 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. Remove from heat and stir with a rubber scraper until chocolate is fully melted. Once the cream and chocolate are incorporated, stir in the orange zest. Add the ganache to the mixer bowl and stir on medium low speed until well incorporated.
- Next, slowly add the 3 eggs one at a time, mixing with each addition.
- Add the cheesecake filling to the springform pan, smoothing the top with a knife or spatula. Place the cheesecake on the center rack of the oven and bake at 450 for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn down the oven temp to 250 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. Then, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 15 minutes. Open the oven door about a foot, and leave in the oven for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven (cheesecake will still be slightly wobbly in the center) and allow to cool to room temperature, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Cut into slices and serve!
You can use semi sweet, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or bittersweet chocolate chips. In my opinion, I find semi sweet chocolate chips have the best flavor in this recipe.
If you don't want to use brown sugar, you can substitute 1 cup of granulated sugar. The brown sugar really does add a deeper flavor you'll love!
Be sure that your cream cheese, ricotta, and eggs are room temperature before making the cheesecake batter. This ensures that your ingredients blend better, and helps prevent the top of the cheesecake from cracking.
The espresso powder is optional. It does help add depth to the chocolate, but your cheesecake will still taste great without it.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 681Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 431mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 41gProtein: 12g
All information presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist or registered dietitian and any nutritional information should only be used as a general guideline. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is provided for recipes contained on this site. This information comes from online calculators. Although The Copper Table attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.