Mary Anne here. If you’ve never baked in your life – not one solitary cupcake, nary a Pillsbury Crescent Roll - then I recommend you start with this foolproof Chocolate Cheesecake. Regardless of your prowess with a whisk, this puppy whips up in under 30 minutes and takes about 35 minutes to bake, yet it’s virtually guaranteed to “wow” even the fussiest fusspot. Dress it up with fresh berries, or simply serve it as written. And to give credit where it’s due, this is yet another of my mother’s Dutchess County-renowned desserts. Thanks, Mom.
Note: This cheesecake freezes beautifully and I swear it will stay as fresh as the day it was baked if wrapped properly before hitting the deep-freeze. After refrigerating the cake overnight (as directed below), remove the cake from the spring-form pan. Don’t forget to remove the bottom as well. Simply run a sharp knife along the sides and bottom and remove the 2 pieces of the pan. Tightly cover the entire cheesecake in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of heavy-duty tin foil. Be sure to seal it completely. Pop it into the freezer where it will keep for up to six months!
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs – $4.00
1/3 cup granulated sugar – stock
1/3 cup butter (melted) – stock
2 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened – $2.67
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar – stock
1/3 cup unsweetend cocoa powder (Hershey’s or Ghiradelli’s, or the like is fine) – stock
1 teaspoon vanilla – stock
2 eggs – stock
1 cup sour cream – stock
2 Tablespoon granulated sugar – stock
½ teaspoon vanilla – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $6.67
Total Per Slice: $0.67
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare the crust by combining the 1/3 cup of sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and melted butter. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan and gently press the crust into the bottom and sides of a 9 x 1 ½ inch removable bottom pan or a 9-inch spring-form pan.
Note: If using the deeper pan spring-form variety, press the crust up the sides about 1½ inches. I use the rounded bottom of a glass to press the crust evenly along bottom and then use my fingertips to press crust up the sides. Don’t worry about an even line, some of the crust inevitably crumbles when the cake is sliced.
2. In a mixer set on medium-high speed, blend the softened cream cheese with the 1¼ cups sugar, cocoa, and vanilla. Next, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake at 375 for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is set in the middle.
4. In the meantime, as the cake bakes, prepare the topping by mixing the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla, stirring well to combine thoroughly.
5. Spread the sour cream icing on the top of the cake as soon as it is removed from the oven. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate several hours or overnight. (Personally, I have never refrigerated the cake for anything less than overnight.) Using a flour sifter, dust the top lightly with a sprinkle of cocoa.