A couple of months ago, while thinking about ideas for new blog posts, I decided that it was necessary for me to develop a perfect birthday cake recipe for each member of my family. Since Philip, my mom, and my nephew all have January birthdays and I came up with this idea in February, I guess I’ll have to get them on the next go-round. My brother’s birthday was next, at the end of March.
For the last several years, I have made cake balls for my brother’s birthday, so I assumed that he’d want some variation of those…but to my surprise, his request was, “Cheesecake….using liquor is a bonus. Haha.” His liquor of choice was Jameson or bourbon and since his birthday falls shortly after St. Patrick’s Day my mind went to the Irish Car Bomb cupcakes I made him a few years back, with Guinness in the batter, whiskey ganache filling, and Irish Creme icing. How could I turn this into a cheesecake? Hmmm. Chocolate crumb crust, Irish creme cheesecake with chocolate stout swirl, and bourbon ganache topping??
The thing is, Philip hates cheesecake, so I prior to this recipe I have made cheesecake exactly twice, and one of those was a total disaster (turns out my grandmother forgot to write “bake cheesecake in water bath”, presumably thinking it was a foregone conclusion, and I should have trusted my instincts and done it anyway). I made the test recipe for a church potluck, a risky thing to do here in the south, because that’s how I roll. The Irish creme cheesecake was a hit. Score.
The Irish creme cheesecake has a lot of liquid in it, making it a little “wetter” than your average cheesecake, and it is very, very rich with dark chocolate. Cut a small slice.
But make this Irish creme cheesecake. Please. And serve it to everyone you know. Over 21, of course.
While this recipe is mine, I did borrow elements of this cheesecake from other blogs and websites. For the chocolate cookies and the chocolate crumb crust, I consulted Smitten Kitchen. For the chocolate stout portion of the cheesecake, I borrowed from a recipe on AllRecipes. For the Irish Creme cheesecake, I looked at Life’s Ambrosia. For the bourbon ganache, I adapted a recipe from MyRecipes.
Yield: 1 9-inch cheesecake
- 9 Ounces (255 grams) chocolate wafer or chocolate sandwich cookies (to make your own, see the link I've shared above)
- 6 Ounces (170 grams) semi or bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter (melted, still hot)
- 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese (softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 Cup + 2 tablespoons Irish Cream liqueur
- 1/4 Cup + 2 tablespoons stout beer (I used Guinness)
- 4 Ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 5 Ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (again, I used the Ghirardelli chips here)
- 3 Tablespoons bourbon or Irish whisky (I used Maker's Mark)
- For the crust: Wrap a 9-inch springform pan in a double layer of aluminum foil. In a food processor, blend the cookies, 6 ounces of chocolate, and brown sugar until finely ground. Drizzle in the butter and process until the mixture sticks together. Press the crumbs into the prepared pan, working up the sides an inch or so and using a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to level the bottom. It is helpful to wrap your fingers in plastic wrap to keep the crumbs from sticking to your hands. Chill for several hours or overnight.
- For the cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a sturdy hand mixer until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the sour cream, salt, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Divide the batter in half (a kitchen scale with a tare function is helpful here, but if you don't have one use a measuring cup to ensure an even amount). Stir the Irish cream into one-half of the batter and set aside.
- For the chocolate-stout batter, microwave the 4 ounces of chocolate and the tablespoon of cream thirty seconds at a time, stirring after each time until smooth and evenly melted. Stir into the other half of the batter along with the stout beer.
- Use a large spoon to scoop the batters into the prepared pan in an alternating fashion. Use a butter knife to carefully swirl the batters together, taking care to not cut into the crust.
- Place the pan in a large roasting or baking pan. Pour hot water in to come 1 inch up the sides. Bake for an hour then turn off the heat and allow the cake to sit in the oven for an hour (don't open the door). Thoroughly chill the cheesecake.
- For the ganache: Heat the cream just to simmering. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for a minute then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the bourbon/whisky.
- To finish, unmold the cheesecake from the springform pan. Pour the ganache over. Chill until set.