If there’s one thing I love more than eating cheesecake, it’s decorating it! I think I love it so much because there are so many possibilities for turning a cheesecake into a total showstopper! You can add fresh flowers, swirl in chocolate, or pile on fresh fruit. The list can literally go on and on, and I can’t wait to talk about my latest cheesecake design with you.
Between the cheesecake baking and the design, this recipe might seem a bit intense, but don’t be intimidated! Let’s break it down a bit.
This cheesecake recipe is my go-to. I use it for the base of most of my cheesecakes and it comes out delicious every time. It’s wonderfully sweet, creamy and slightly dense. The crust is a classic graham cracker crust that is perfectly buttery with a little crunch. The addition of the chocolate makes this even more delicious. To me, it tastes like ice cream.
Feel free to use different cookies for the crust to change it up a bit. I’ve used Oreos and Biscoff Lotus cookies in the past. I like to play around with cookies of different colors like Oreos for some contrast. The dark chocolate color against the white cheesecake (with maybe some fresh flowers on top?) would be really beautiful.
I recommend reading through this entire recipe before you begin as there are some important steps. For instance, when it comes time to cool your cheesecake, it must sit in the oven as the oven cools down for 1 hour. Then it will need to sit out until it reaches room temperature before refrigerating it. And finally, I recommend refrigerating it for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight before releasing it from the springform pan. These are not difficult steps by any means, but are important for planning purposes. (For all you hostesses, this is not a recipe you can bake and serve in the same day.)
To ensure your cheesecake comes out perfect I have a few more tips for you. These are tricks I have found extremely helpful especially if you want to avoid any cracks on the top of your cheesecake.
1. Make sure your cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature. This is very important for a smooth and creamy texture.
2. Don’t over mix the eggs. They are the last ingredient added in to ensure all the other ingredients are well combined before the eggs go in.
3. What I have found to be crucial, is knowing when to stop the baking process. Depending on your oven, the cheesecake will be done baking after 45-55 minutes. It will look pale white (it should not be golden brown) and should be slightly wobbly in the center. It will continue to bake as it cools and will firm up even more once you refrigerate it. If you overbake it, the sides of your cheesecake will rise too high and collapse when it shrinks back down, forming cracks. I’ve learnt this from much trial and error and don’t want you to make the same mistakes! You can handle it 😉
Okay now for the fun stuff! Let’s talk about those polka dots! Don’t they look gorgeous?! Best part? They are super easy to make!
You might think I’m crazy for saying that, but I promise, there’s seriously not much to it. All you need to do is fill up either a plastic squeeze bottle or pastry bag with the chocolate filling, and squeeze it into your cheesecake batter. To ensure that the polka dots are visible in the inside of your cheesecake, make sure you insert the chocolate filling evenly and close together throughout the bottom, middle and top. You’ll also want to squeeze longer for bigger circles. This will ensure that every slice has visible polka dots in it. Not only do the chocolate polka dots add tons of character, they also add in a delicious chocolate-y taste.
Although the Polka Dot Cheesecake didn’t need anything else added to it to make it a total winner, I decided a pop of color and some fresh fruit couldn’t hurt, so I added a pile of fresh raspberries to the top. You can use any fruit you like. Strawberries, blueberries, cherries…whatever you have will work.
Want to impress your guests with this showstopper but don’t have all day? No problem! Skip the fruit topping and freeze the cheesecake. Just wrap tightly for up to 2 months. Allow it to defrost in the refrigerator overnight, top with fresh fruit and serve.
I hope you enjoy this Polka Dot Cheesecake recipe as much as I do! Your guests are sure to be wowed!
- For the Filling:
- 3-8oz packs of cream cheese, not whipped, room temperature. (I use Philadelphia Cream Cheese)
- 1¼ cups granulated sugar
- 8oz sour cream, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate morsels, melted
- For the Crust:
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- You will also need:
- -A plastic squeeze bottle (mine is from bed bath and beyond for $2) or pastry bag to make the polka dots. (If you are using a pastry bag, cut off ⅛ inch to ¼ inch off the tip).
- -Fresh raspberries washed, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a spring-form pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add in the sugar and mix well. Then, add the sour cream, flour and vanilla until well combined. Turn the speed down to low and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Reserve ½ cup of the cheesecake filling. Set aside for later use.
- In a separate bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and salt. Press into the bottom of the prepared spring-form pan. Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust. Set aside.
- Mix the melted chocolate with the reserved ½ cup of cheesecake filling. Place in the refrigerator to cool.
- Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, fill your squeeze bottle or pastry bag with it. Make sure the chocolate mixture is at the very tip, so you don’t squeeze air into your cheesecake.
- Start at the bottom of the cheesecake and start squeezing medium size dots close together. Make your way up towards the middle and then top, to ensure you have covered all areas. Then, put polka dots on the very top of the cheesecake so they are visible from the outside.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes. The cheesecake should be pale in color and still slightly wobbly in the center. It will continue to cook as it cools and will become more firm after refrigerating it.
- Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside for 1 hour with the door closed. After one hour, allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature before refrigerating. I recommend refrigerating the cheesecake for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight before releasing it from the pan.
- When you are ready to serve, pile fresh raspberries on the top.