The inspiration for this Tiramisù Cheesecake was born out of necessity. We are all suffering supply shortages. After promising dinner guests Tiramisù for dessert, I was unable to find soft lady fingers (I prefer soft, sponge cake lady fingers to the dry, cookie-like Savoiardi). I didn’t think it would be difficult to make my own, even though I had never made them before. I opted for Italian Pan di Spagna (sponge cake) instead of individual lady fingers. The good news is the results were excellent; the bad news is it was so good that I can see myself making Pan di Spagna from now on!
But I got to thinking what else could I have made? And, of course, the answer is Tiramisù Cheesecake.
If there was ever a perfect marriage made in dessert heaven, it is this combination of Tiramisù and cheesecake! Tiramisù’s flavors (espresso, chocolate, mascarpone) play so well with rich and creamy cheesecake that it can only be said they were made for each other. A dark chocolate shortbread crust is topped with a rich and creamy espresso cheesecake filling and a chocolate swirl throughout. A tangy, espresso sour cream topping rounds out the sweetness of the cheesecake.
For a picture-perfect cheesecake, it is important that the cream cheese and other refrigerated ingredients are at room temperature before starting. Full fat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sour cream are required. This is not the place to cut calories. Medaglia D’Oro instant espresso is readily available and highly recommended. Instant espresso and espresso powder can be used interchangeably. But instant coffee is quite different and not recommended.
The traditional dusting of unsweetened cocoa powder for flavor and richness is the perfect finishing touch for this elegant, decadent, and incredibly delicious cheesecake.
Chocolate Espresso Crust
- 4 ounces butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Dutch cocoa
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso or espresso powder (do not use instant coffee)
- 3 (8-ounce) packages of full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
- 8 ounces Mascarpone, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons Marsala
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso or espresso powder (do not use instant coffee)
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ teaspoon instant espresso or espresso powder
- 1½ cups full-fat sour cream
- 1½ tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso or espresso powder
Chocolate Espresso Crust
- Spray a 9” springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with a parchment round. Often, the butter will seep out of the pan and make a mess in your oven. I wrap a piece of tin foil over the bottom of the pan to catch drips. You can also bake the crust on a sheet pan.
- Preheat the oven to 325° convection.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add melted and cooled butter and mix together. Pat evenly into prepared pan.
- Chill the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes. Bake for about 15 minutes.
- Cool before adding the cheesecake filling.
- Line the inside rim of the spring form pan with strips of parchment paper. This will ensure that the cheesecake will cleanly release from the pan when chilled.
- Preheat the oven to 300° convection.
- Add the room temperature cream cheese and Mascarpone to the bowl of a stand mixer with beater blade attachment. Combine on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Scrape the bowl and beater blade to ensure there are no lumps remaining.
- Add the sugar and flour and mix until combined.
- Mix in the sour cream, Marsala and instant espresso.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each into the batter before adding another. Mix on medium low speed. Do not mix on high or over mix.
- Reserve 1 cup of the filling and set aside. For now, leave the rest of the filling in the stand mixer.
- Heat the cream to a simmer. I do this in the microwave. Don’t let it boil.
- Add the chocolate and espresso to the hot cream and stir until it comes together and looks like chocolate sauce. Cool slightly.
- Stir in the 1 cup of reserved cheesecake batter and set aside.
(Back to Cheesecake Filling)
- Pour half of the white batter into the cooled crust and spread evenly.
- Drizzle half of the chocolate batter over the top.
- Carefully, pour the remaining white batter over the chocolate and spread evenly.
- Drizzle the remaining chocolate batter over the top. Using a toothpick or skewer, make a swirl patter on top of the cheesecake.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes. Do not bake on a sheet pan. This could affect the cooking time. Every oven is different. The temperature I recommend, 300° convection, works in my oven. The internal temperature of the cheesecake should be 175° (one inch from the edge) and 150° (in the center). The center of the cheesecake should wobble slightly. As it cools, the center will continue to bake and firm up in the fridge. If the cheesecake cracks, your oven might be too hot. The sour cream topping will cover any minor cracks.
- Cool the cake for 30 minutes before adding the sour cream topping.
- Mix ingredients together and spread evenly on top of the cheesecake, which has cooled for 30 minutes. Bake about 5 minutes at 325° convection, or until the sour cream topping seems fairly is set.
- Cool the cake at least 3 hours before removing the outer ring of the pan and chill overnight before removing the bottom of the pan.
- The cake should be thoroughly chilled before sprinkling with cocoa powder.