The first prototype of what is currently my best-selling cheesecake at Filio Bistro. This is as simple as a cheesecake can get. No frills — not even whipped cream on top. While I was quite happy with this version of Nutella cheesecake, I came up with something fancier for the restaurant (no, I don’t own the restaurant; I just supply cakes) — something more visually catchy topped with a thin layer of cream and sprinkled with chopped nuts and chocolate morsels.
For those who are new to cheesecake baking, this is a good project precisely because of its simplicity. Make and bake the crust, mix the ingredients of the cheesecake layer, pour over the semi-cooled crust and bake long and slow in a water bath.
It is almost the same as the basic cheesecake except for an addition here and a substitution there — I added cocoa powder to the shortbread crust and Nutella in the cheesecake layer, and substituted vanilla extract for the lemon juice. The trick is to NOT use too much Nutella that it kills the natural saltiness and tartness of the cream cheese. You want to taste both with every forkful and discern the distinct flavors of each. The second trick is to add a little strong coffee to enhance the chocolate-y flavor.
Bake this Nutella cheesecake for the coming holidays. It is also perfect for a Valentine’s gift.
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (60 grams) cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 500 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¾ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup cream
- 1 tablespoon strong coffee, cooled
- ½ cup Nutella
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Wrap a 9-inch or 10-inch cheesecake pan with two layers of aluminum foil. Lightly spray the bottom and sides with oil.
- Make and bake the crust by following the procedure in the basic cheesecake recipe. The only difference is that you add cocoa powder for this crust.
- Again following the procedure in the basic cheesecake recipe, prepare the cheesecake layer. Add vanilla extract instead of lemon juice.
- Scoop out about three tablespoonfuls of the mixture and set aside.
- Fold in the vanilla extract, coffee and Nutella.
- Pour the cheese-Nutella mixture over the baked crust.
- Take the reserved cheesecake mixture and spoon into a small piping bag or a Ziploc bag with one corner snipped off. Squeeze the mixture to form small dots around the surface of the cheesecake. You can have three circles of dots or just one. It's up to you. Drag the tip of a wooden toothpick to connect the dots to form hearts.
- Prepare the water bath and bake the Nutella cheesecake using the same procedure from the basic cheesecake recipe.