Time For Dessert
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 year round. Then I thought, why not a cheesecake? That’s how this Dark Chocolate Orange Cheesecake came to be! You know I’m a sucker for cheesecakes. In fact, it is the favorite dessert of everyone in the household. I love this recipe. It’s not too sweet, with just a hint of orange and a rich, deep chocolate flavor. The best part? No water bath required!
Make It Yourself!
The older I get, the more I find that I don’t have the sweet tooth I had when I was younger. More than that, I don’t care much for store bought desserts from the bakery aisle in the grocery store. I find them too sweet. I do like a treat once in a while, and I know that in order to have the kind of desserts I like to eat, I have to make it myself. 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 over-processing. If you are trying to transition into making more of your own desserts, cheesecakes are not as intimidating as they seem.
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.
- 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 in a mixing bowl and combine with the sugar and melted butter, rather than in the food processor bowl.
- Make sure to let the cream cheese, ricotta, and eggs come to room temperature before preparing the filling. You don’t need to let the heavy cream come to room temperature because you will be heating it in a saucepan. 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.
- I find that a straight sided scotch glass works great for pressing the graham cracker crumbs to the sides of the pan.
- You can omit the orange zest if you like, but don’t leave out the espresso powder. It really enhances the chocolate flavor. You could substitute regular cocoa powder for the dark and milk chocolate chips for the dark, but the chocolate flavor will not be quite as strong.
- 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!
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! If you’re a cheesecake fan as well, you might also love my recipe for Cheesecake With Blackberry Lavender Swirl. I hope you love this recipe, and if you enjoy it please let me know! Happy Baking!
- 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 granulated sugar
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp espresso powder
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp orange zest
- 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 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 cream cheese and 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.
- Add the ricotta, espresso powder, and dark cocoa powder and stir on medium speed until combined, then turn off the mixer.
- In a small saucepan, heat 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 orange zest and dark chocolate chips. Remove from heat and stir with a rubber scraper until chocolate is fully melted. Add to the mixer bowl and stir on medium low speed until well incorporated.
- Next, slowly add 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 683Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 43mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 2gSugar: 42gProtein: 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.