Kahlua Cheesecake with Chocolate Almond Crust and Chocolate Ganache
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"I wanted to make a truly great chocolate cheesecake crust. I mean one thats 'wow, that knocks the socks off all bakers, not just gluten-free ones.' Crushed Oreos or gluten-free Teddy Grahams were not good enough as far as I was concerned. I just dont like them; sue me. So I was left with the conundrum of what type of cheesecake to pair with this amazing crust? I chose to start with Kahlua because, well, yum!"
To freeze: Remove the plastic wrap and the outer ring. Wrap the cheesecake in plastic wrap and place into a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost completely before serving.
Tip: DO NOT cover the cake with ganache before freezing. Add it after you defrost it and are ready to serve.
Preparation Time1 hr
Cooking Time1 hr 25 min
Cooking Vessel Size9-inch Springform Pan
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened, dutch-process cocoa
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons Kahlua, Tia Maria, or other coffee liqueur
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- FOR THE GANACHE:
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Kahlua, Tia Maria or other coffee liqueur (optional)
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
For the crust: Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a microwave-safe, medium mixing bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave.
Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the egg yolk and mix until thoroughly combined.
Add the salt, almond flour, and cocoa. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Spread the batter about a half-inch thick on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled, grind the "cookie" into crumbs using a food processor or blender.
In another microwave-safe, medium mixing bowl, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Add the crumbs and mix until thoroughly combined.
Press the mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 inch Springform pan.
Bake for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature before adding filling, about 30-45 minutes.
For the filling: Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Fill a 9 x 13 inch pan with about 1 inch of hot water and place it into oven. Tip: I used my roasting pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, scraping side and bottom of bowl frequently to ensure that no lumps remain. Tip: DO NOT overbeat cheesecake batter; beating at a lower speed guarantees a denser, smoother cheesecake.
Turn the mixer down to low speed. Add the sugar and beat just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the eggs one at a time. Beat on low speed until combined. Scrape down the bowl.
Switch to the whisk attachment. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla extract, Kahlua and salt. Beat on low speed until combined and there are no lumps. Scrape down the bowl.
Add the cornstarch. Beat on low speed until the cornstarch disappears. Scrape down the bowl.
Place the springform pan (now with a cooled, parbaked crust) into a large oven bag or crock pot liner. Push down the sides of the bag so the top of pan is completely open. Use foil to hold the bag in place if necessary. Tip: I used a Large Reynolds Oven Cooking Bag and it fit perfectly. Pour the batter over the crust in prepared pan.
Place the cheesecake into the "water bath" in the oven. Check the level of hot water; it should come halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. Add more water if necessary, but do not let the pan float.
Bake for 55 to 70 minutes or until you see a three-inch wobbly spot in the middle of the cheesecake.
Remove from the oven by taking the cheesecake pan out of water bath, and setting it aside on a cooling rack. Remove the bag and any aluminum foil. Run a small knife around sides of cake and leave it to cool completely. DO NOT remove the outer ring.
Once, the cheesecake has cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to overnight. At least 2 hours before serving prepare the ganache.
For the ganache: Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.
Heat the cream on low until it just comes to a simmer.
Remove from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for about 10 to 15 seconds.
Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the alcohol.
Allow to cool, stirring occasionally.
Set the cake on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet. Remove the outer ring and pour the chocolate ganache over the cake. The cookie sheet catches all the drippings. Smooth the top and sides with a palette knife, if desired. Work quickly as the cold cake will cause the ganache to harden. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator. Tip from my mother: Cover the cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper to make cleanup easy.
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