Guys, meet the best cheesecake in the world. Cheesecake, meet the world. Have I had every cheesecake in the world to know that this is the best? Nope, but I’m that confident.
Why do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
One. This cheesecake has the perfect texture. It’s creamy and dense, but not overly so. When you prepare the batter, make sure all the ingredients and especially the cream cheese are at room temperature. This will help give you a smooth velvety texture.
Two. I can finally make a cheesecake without cracks on top! “We never think this would happen for you. Never.” (Love that movie!)
What’s the secret? Consistency, consistency, and a bit of consistency with a side of consistency. If you set the oven to 350 degrees F, the oven will strive to keep that as the average temperature while you have it set to that. The problem with any average is that you spend almost all of the cooking time either above or below the temperature you set. The secret to how ovens work is that they control their temperature with a pair of temperature thresholds. These thresholds mark the temperature where the heat is turned on, and where it turns off again. For example, your 350 degrees F oven will turn the heat on full blast when the oven cools to around 340 degrees F and will turn it off again when it hits 360 degrees F. This almost constant changing of temperature wreaks havoc on the delicate structure of your cheesecake.
The fix is easy. Provide something that has an built in maximum temperature and lots of substance to hold heat. This magical ingredient is none other than water. By putting a bunch of water in the oven with your cheesecake in it you have something that helps even out the temperature when your oven it turns on and off over and over. This results in a much smaller change as far as the cheesecake is concerned which in turn means that delicate structure we mentioned before stays delicate.
This secret comes with a couple of rules too. It means you definitely can’t open the oven door while it’s baking (that really goes for baking anything). No amount of water will be able to keep your oven the right temperature when one whole side of the hot box goes missing. It also means that the cooling process is an important step to a flawless cheesecake. Once the cheesecake is “done” baking (i.e. after the 50 to 60 minutes in the hot oven), turn off the oven, open the oven door a little, and walk away for a whole hour.
Keep in mind that when a cheesecake is done baking the center still looks wobbly. Don’t panic. It’ll set up as it cools and there is very little in a cheesecake that can make anyone sick so there is no need to dry it out by over baking it.
When you are finally ready to move the cheesecake from the oven, remove it from the water and be super gentle moving it the counter. Make sure you put it on a wire rack because it’s still vulnerable to cracking and the counter can end up pulling any left over heat out of it too quickly. Lastly, make sure the cheesecake is at room temperature before moving it to the fridge.
I know this process may sound intense but it’s not complicated and you don’t have to be babysitting it. With a little patience and a little luck you will have made a winner of a dessert. To prevent therapy sessions later, please remember that if you end up with a crack or two, shake it off. It’ll be delicious either way.
Three. This cheesecake is not too short and it’s not too tall. It’s just right. I know that sounds like something straight out of a fairy tale, but it’s really how I feel. If it’s too tall, you end up with cheesecake that goes past the tines of your fork and half way up the handle when you try to take a bite. Then if you try to eat it all at once you could stab yourself in the back of the mouth when trying to get the whole bite in there. If it’s too short, well let’s be realistic here, it’s dessert, you don’t want to skimp on it do you? “Don’t get cheap on me, Dodson.” (My hubby loves that movie.)
Four. Oooh, the crust! It’s superb. I don’t care what anyone says, a cheesecake must have a crust! If you skip it you’re just being lazy, it’s really not that hard. This one has a nice thick one. Butter and graham were designed to be mashed together into delicious crust. One bite of this bad boy and you’ll agree.
Isn’t this cheesecake super dreamy? Have I convinced you it’s the best? Well, I’ve got more reasons!
Five. The taste… oh, it just tastes so darn delicious. The glorious cream cheesy-ness works in harmony with the chocolate hazelnut spread and graham cracker crust.
I have to give credit to my husband. He sat up in bed and pretty much blurted out his random idea about how to make an awesome cheesecake even better. His idea was to add the layer of chocolate nutty goodness in between the cheesecake and the crust. He admitted that his idea didn’t involve rocket science, but was firm on the concept that the chocolate be separate from the cheesecake and not all mixed in.
Specifically he wasn’t trying to make a chocolate hazelnut flavored cheesecake mixture because he likes the flavor of simple elegant cheesecake. He wanted the chocolate to be a nice hint of flavor that could be separately enjoyed in each bite without the flavors clouding each other up. I agreed with this plan and the next thing we knew it was time to go shopping to make it happen.
Can I cut you a slice… or two?
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake Recipe
(About 12 servings)
- 1 and 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (equivalent to about 12 full sheets of graham crackers)
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Nutella)
- 24 ounces cream cheese (equivalent to three 8 ounce packages), softened to room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread, for drizzle topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil, then grease the inside and set it aside. (If you happen to have very wide aluminum foil, wrapping the pan with a single unbroken piece will work better at keeping water out than multiple smaller pieces will.)
- In a food processor, blend the graham crackers until they are fine crumbs.
- Add 1/3 cup of sugar and drizzle in the melted butter. Blend until all of the ingredients are combined.
- Press the graham cracker crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and about 1 inch up the sides. I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to help pack the crumbs down firmly.
- Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes.
- Allow the crust to cool.
- Once the crust has cooled, pour 1/2 cup of the chocolate hazelnut spread onto the crust and spread it out evenly. (Note, I microwaved the chocolate hazelnut spread for about 30 seconds prior to pouring it onto the crust so it would spread easier.)
- Place the pan in the freezer until the chocolate hazelnut spread has hardened. (About 30 minutes will do, this is just to ensure it doesn’t mix into the cheesecake mixture.)
- While your crust is in the freezer, in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until the mixture is smooth and creamy. (About 3 minutes on medium speed.) Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature.
- Mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
- Mix in one egg at a time. (Beat until just blended on low speed.)
- Once the chocolate hazelnut spread has hardened in the crust, take it out of the freezer and pour the cream cheese filling on top of the chocolate hazelnut layer.
- Place the pan into a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with about 1 inch of hot water. (This is why the aluminum foil was wrapped around the springform pan. If you don’t cover the springform pan then the bath water will seep into the cheesecake. In fact, even if you do there might still be a little water sneaking in, don’t panic like I did!)
- Bake it for 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven. When the cheesecake is done it will have a 2 to 3 inch wobbly area in the center of the cake. Don’t worry, it will set as it cools.
- Turn off the oven, open the oven door a little bit, and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour. (Don’t skip this step, I’m convinced this is one of the secrets to really amazing cheesecake texture.)
- Take the cheesecake out of the oven, remove it from the water bath, and let it cool to room temperature on a wire rack on the counter.
- Then chill it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours. (I chilled it overnight.)
- When you are ready to serve it, loosen the cheesecake from the rim of the pan and remove the outer rim.
- Microwave about 1/4 cup of chocolate hazelnut spread for 15 to 30 seconds or until it’s at a consistency where you can drizzle it over the cheesecake.
- It’s finally ready to serve! Don’t forget to store leftover pieces in the fridge. (Like there will be leftovers.)
Cheesecake source: Sally’s Baking Addiction
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake source: Tina’s Chic Corner
Here are some other dreamy desserts.
Yes, please cut me TWO slices Tina, because OMG what a recipe!! From the criss crosses on top to the even layers this totally looks like it would come straight from a bakery! I admit I never gave too much thought to how ovens work re: temperature fluxes, but I loved learning your tips and tricks for a crackless cheesecake. I’m definitely following this method the next time I make cheesecake! Which will most definitely be this one and will most definitely be SOON! Enjoy your weekend! 🙂
Awesome sauce! Glad you enjoyed the read. 🙂
Craving a slice of this cheesecake right now, it looks so delicious and I am loving the combination of chocolate and hazelnut!
Thank you so much! 🙂
This looks amazing! I loooove chocolate hazelnut spreads but I’ve never had a nutella- or otherwise chocolate/hazelnut cheesecake! Yum!
It’s life changing. 😉
Chocolate hazelnut is one delicious sounding flavor! This is such a pretty cheesecake! I don’t think I’ve made cheesecake in over a year!
Time to dust off that springform pan. 😉
Oh my! This looks lovely! And I love that it’s just the right height (I loved that!)! This is a perfect holiday dessert!
Hehe… thanks Annie. 🙂
This cheesecake looks gorgeous, Tina! I’ve never had a hazelnut kind before, so I’m loving this version. Sounds perfect!
Thank you. 🙂
This cheesecake looks like the best cheesecake ever! I love that chocolate layer on top of the crust, what a great idea!
Thanks so much!!
Love these cheesecake tips and reminders Tina! When I first started baking cheesecakes I had to shake it off, a lot! I was impatient and wanted to enjoy that cheesecake sooner than later… then I learned that one has to be very patient for a good, no crack, cheese cake! Yours turned out lovely my dear and what a delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing, Tina!! I think its time for a cheesecake!
Thank you so much Traci! It sounds like we are alike. 🙂
Ooh, you can definitely cut me a slice or three of this, Tina! Thanks so much for all the tips. I actually made some little cheesecakes yesterday and they turned out great, but I was nervous the whole time they’d be a disaster. It’s good to have these few fool proof tips (like the water and the open oven door). Like your hubby’s chocolate layer idea, too!
I’m always nervous making cheesecakes too!
Wow Tina! What a beautiful cheesecake – its perfection on a plate!
Thank you, kindly. 🙂
Cheesecakes are one of my favorite desserts to bake…and this flavor combination has me drooling for dessert (and it’s not even 8am yet)! If your hubby keeps coming up with these ideas, then you’ll have to hire him as your ‘creative director’. Haha! (That’s the title that my wife assumes whenever I ask her thoughts on a recipe.)
Haha…I’ll have to tell him that… he’ll love it!
I LOVE all of your cheesecake tips, Tina! It seems that my cheesecakes are always a total flop whenever I attempt them, but yours looks totally perfect! Also, I’d like 5 pieces if that’s cool with you. 😀
Thanks Sarah! 🙂 5 pieces coming right up. 😉
You can cut me about FIVE slices of this. I’ll be sick, but so worth it! LOL Looks perfect, Tina.
Lol! Thank you. 🙂
This looks so delicious! Wow. Pinning this!
Thank you so much!!
Yum! I’m all about this cheesecake, and I agree with your husband’s idea for adding a layer of the chocolate hazelnut spread between the crust and the cheesecake. Great tips for making cheesecake. I haven’t made one in years, but you’re right…it requires consistency and patience!
I honestly can’t get this cheesecake out of my mind. Too soon to make another? 😉
Tina, this does look perfect! And I love all of your tips to ensure cheesecake perfection. This would be so great for the holidays! 🙂
I’m so glad you liked the tips. 🙂 Definitely a great dessert to present to guests!
Tina, I think you rock! Your recipes are amazing. 🙂 I just sent this down to the chefs in the kitchen and asked the pastry gal to make for next weeks morning tea. Yarm.
No, YOU rock!!! Yowzer, what a compliment and I appreciate it very much. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we do. 🙂
First off, this cheesecake looks absolutely perfect. The nutella drizzle – yum!
Second, I had no idea that the oven temperature was an AVERAGE, not the constant temperature, and that having water in there would help stabilize the temperature. How interesting! I definitely have a bad habit of opening the oven to see what’s going on in there, so I am really glad I read this post and found out that THAT is the reason that cheesecake can have cracks. I knew it was a sensitive slightly finicky dessert, but never actually knew why. Thanks for this post 🙂
Thank you so much! I need to give credit to my husband for all those fun facts about ovens…he used to work for an appliance store when he was in high school. I learned right along with you. 🙂
This is a mouth-watering cake
It looks heavenly!!
This looks divine!!!! Happy New Year!
Thank you, kindly. 🙂 Have a happy new year!!