I (Rachel) am back at school in Arkansas. So for the next few months Casey and I will be baking separately, but it will still be delicious! Monday was Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, which means we did not have classes!! So naturally, my friends and I wanted to have a "bake-on" (a bake-off would require splitting into teams, we just wanted to bake together) in honor of Dr. King. What would Dr. King love more than a Coffee-and-Coconut layered cheesecake?
We had to make a quick trip to the grocery, so we strapped on our rollerblades and hopped on our bikes (one or the other, not both at the same time) and headed off the Kroger.
After our run to the grocery, it was time to get a move on the baking. My wonderful friends were thrilled to be a part of the blog, so they were all a big help in making the cheesecake. Here are the ingredients that you need for the filling:
Coffee-and-Coconut Layered Cheesecake
For the crust:
1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter (I felt like it needed 6 tablespoons....it couldn't hurt)
For the cheesecake:
2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
For the chocolate ganache:
1.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¼ stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/8 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ tablespoon powdered sugar
Chocolate-covered espresso beans, for garnish (optional)
1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil.
2. Stir the graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are moist. Turn the mixture into the springform pan and pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides. Put the pan in the freezer while the oven is preheated.
3. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust on a cooling rack.
4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
5. Put a kettle of water (or medium saucepan filled with water) on to boil.
6. Beat the cream cheese at medium speed until soft and creamy, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes, until the cream cheese is light. Add the eggs one by one, beating for one minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the sour cream.
7. Put half of the batter into another bowl.
8. To one half of the batter, add the coconut extract and gently mix with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.
9. Dissolve the espresso powder with the boiling water and add to the other half of the batter. Again, use a rubber spatula to gently mix in the espresso until thoroughly combined.
10. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the pan with some space around it. Pour the coconut-flavored batter into the prepared crust and spread into an even layer. Very slowly, pour the espresso-flavored batter over the coconut batter.
11. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
12. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door propped open for one hour.
13. After 1 hour, carefully pull the roasting pan out of the oven and lift the springform pan out. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight is better).
14. To make the chocolate ganache, place finely chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Microwave the butter and heavy cream on HIGH for 1 minute. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Whisk in the vanilla and then mix in the powdered sugar until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.
*I must give credit where credit is due. The original recipe is from Brown-Eyed Baker http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/05/05/coffee-and-espresso-layered-cheesecake/