Black Forest Cheesecake

Black Forest Cheesecake

The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Cooling Time: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 55 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 cake

Chocolate and cherries are an undeniably great combo and this black forest cheesecake is a great vehicle for showcasing this delightful pairing. The crust is an easy-peasy chocolate cookie crust with sugar to amp up the sweetness just a bit. It takes a short rest in the freezer after it is pressed into the pan, so that it keeps its shape while baking. The filling is also super simple, as long as you remember to bring all of your ingredient to room temp before you begin assembly and to mix them on a low speed. 

Cheesecakes get a bad rap as being difficult to make and finicky, but they really don’t have to be (and there is always whipped cream to hide any imperfections on the top of the cake—should they exist!). Moreover, this particular recipe does not require a water bath, which makes baking the filling just that much easier.

The finished cake does need to cool down in the oven (turning the oven off, but keeping the cheesecake inside insures it will not crack from a drastic drop in temperature), but you can make your compote and mise en place your whipped cream while it does. 

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (about 45 two-inch thin wafer cookies)

  • 1/3 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons, divided

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided

  • 24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 5 cups sweet cherries

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 7 tablespoons Kirsch, divided

  • 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Black Forest Cheesecake Ingredients
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  2.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray or softened butter.

  3. To make crust, place wafer cookies, 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until fine crumbs form.

    cheesecake crust crumbs
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  4. Add melted butter and process until combined, scraping bowl periodically with a rubber spatula, if necessary.

    crust crumbs with butter
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  5. Transfer crumbs to prepared pan and firmly press crumbs into bottom and 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pan. Place crust in freezer for 30 minutes.

    crust in pan pre-bake
    ​ The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  6. Meanwhile, place chocolate and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second bursts, until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

    melted chocolate
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  7. Bake crust for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating at halfway point until dry and fragrant.

  8. To prepare cheesecake filling, in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix cream cheese, light brown sugar, vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt and mix on medium-low speed until smooth, scraping down bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed.

    cheesecake mixture
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  9. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until incorporated, and scraping down bowl as needed.

    cheesecake mixture with eggs
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan 
  10. Stir flour into cooled chocolate mixture.

    chocolate with flour
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  11. Add chocolate mixture to stand mixer bowl and mix on low until just combined. 

    final filling
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  12. Transfer filling to prepared pan and place it on a cookie sheet in oven. Bake for about 55 to 60 minutes, until edges are set, but middle jiggles just a bit. 

    baked cheesecake
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  13. Turn oven off, crack oven door, and leave cheesecake in oven to cool for one hour. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven, and let cool on counter at room temperature.

  14. For toppings, place cherries, 1 /3 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cornstarch, and 1/4 cup Kirsch in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until sugar melts and cherries burst and release their juice, stirring frequently, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

    cooked cherries
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  15. Place remaining 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, a few tablespoons cherry juice from compote, and 3 tablespoons of the remaining Kirsch in the now clean bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until medium peaks form.

    whipped cream
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan
  16. To serve, spread Kirsh whipped cream over cooled cheesecake. Serve immediately or chill, tightly covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve slices of cheesecake with a generous spoonful or two of cherry compote.

    finished cheesecake
     The Spruce / Jessie Sheehan

Tip

  • The cheesecake and toppings will last for up to three days refrigerated and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • You can make the crust, press it into the pan and freeze it, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap up to several days in advance of making the cheesecake.

Recipe Variations

  • Use a couple of drops of red food coloring, rather than the cherry juice, to amp up the color of the cream. 
  • Make the crust with graham crackers or vanilla wafers (the same amount in weight as the chocolate cookies) if you would like.
  • If you do not like Kirsch, you may leave it out.