This polka dot cheesecake was fun to make. It's surprisingly easy, as well. Using a simple piping method to insert the dotted chocolate, you will impress your guests with the festive looking results.
The original recipe does not call for a complete graham cracker crust, but I think cheesecakes are remiss without. That said, I added my own crust. Next time I make this, I think I'll try adding a chocolate ganache topping and serve with a dollop of whipped cream. Although, maybe I shouldn't mess with it at all as this cheesecake was perfectly sweet and just light enough to remove any guilty feelings.
As I was making this, I didn't know if the polka dots would really be noticeable. My polka dots aren't perfect as I've seen other food bloggers accomplish, but I was still quite pleased with the results.
Polka Dot Cheesecake
For the Crust:
24 graham crackers
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
For the Cake:
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
16 oz cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ¾ cup sugar
4 large eggs
Spray a 9" X 3" spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray, including the bottom and the entire sides. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and preheat to 350˚F.
To make the crust, crush the graham crackers in a food blender or processor. Mix in the butter and sugar. Press the mixture into the bottom and side of the spring form pan. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heat proof bowl over simmering water; set aside.
Using an electric mixer, in a large bowl, beat the cheese until smooth, pausing frequently to scrape the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula. Beat in the sugar, then the vanilla and almond extracts until fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time until just mixed. Do not over mix.
Place one-third of the batter (about 2 cups) in a small bowl. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth.
Pour the light-colored mix into the spring-form pan.
Using a pastry bag with a plain circle tip, pipe the chocolate mixture into the light mixture. Use the following method: Place the tip in the center of the top of the cake, inserting it ¼" to ½" into the cake. Squeeze out enough of the chocolate mixture to form a perfectly round ball, about 2 inches. Then, using the same procedure, squeeze out 6 smaller balls around the rim. In order to space the 6 balls evenly, place the first one at 12 o'clock (straight up), the next at 6 o'clock (straight down), then two more dots on each side (4 dots). The balls around the rim should be smaller than the center circle.
The top of the cake will level out during baking.
To bake, place the cake into a larger pan. This larger pan must not be deeper than the cheesecake pan. Place in the oven and pour hot water into the larger pan, about 1 ½" deep.
Bake for 1 ½ hours, until golden brown and feels dry to the touch. The inside will be soft, but will firm while cooling.
Lift the cake pan out of the water and place on a cooling rack. Cool for 2 ½ hours in the pan. Do not cool in the fridge.
Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
To serve, remove the cake pan. Dip a sharp knife in very hot water and slice the first cut in the middle of one of the smaller dots and the second cut between two of the smaller dots.
Source: Adapted from The Urban Baker