Imagine the perfect cup of cappuccino: frothy froth on top with a sprinkle of cocoa, creamy rich coffee with a touch of sweetness underneath, and that "Ahhh," that you can't help sighing. That is how I imagine this cheesecake.
I garnish the whipped cream top with chocolate covered coffee beans, then grate unsweetened chocolate over the surface of the whipped cream. I like the touch of bitterness with the sweet cream as it yields to the coffee flavor in the filling.
Definitely plan to make your cheesecake 24 hours before you plan to serve it. It's important that it have ample time to cool completely and set up.
And one more note: to safely remove the baking sheet full of hot water from the oven after removing the cheesecake, just leave the oven door open until the water has cooled enough that you can handle it without burning yourself. - boulangere
Test Kitchen Notes
Boulangere's cheesecake is rich but not overly sweet, with the thrum of instant espresso pulsing in the background. The cake is gorgeous once you've put it all together, and we noticed that a cross section mimics the layers of an actual cappuccino -- the cocoa-infused crumb crust creates a dark thin base; this is followed by the latte-hued filling; and then there's the creamy cap on top. A note: we found that we only needed half the whipped cream, so make just what you need, or save the rest for another day. - A&M —The Editors
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put a kettle of water on the stove to heat.
Stir together crumbs, 2 ounces granulated sugar, cocoa powder, melted butter, and pinch of salt until fully blended. Spread evenly over the bottom of a 10" springform pan, then press very firmly all over.
If eggs are not at room temp, fill a bowl with warm (not hot) water and soak them for 5 minutes, then remove. You'll be making an emulsion with the cream cheese, sugar, and eggs, and your results will be much better if all ingredients are at room temp. For cream cheese, I let it sit out overnight.
Measure cream cheese and 12 ounces granulated sugar into bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on lowest speed until fully blended and no lumps of cream cheese remain. Stop mixer, drop bowl and scrape very thoroughly around sides and bottom. Raise bowl and mix to blend what you scraped loose.
Crack eggs into a bowl. With mixer running on lowest speed, tip one at a time into mixer bowl. This is your emulsion; take your time and allow each to be fully incorporated before adding the next. After all eggs have been added, once again stop mixer, drop bowl and scrape very thoroughly around sides and bottom then raise bowl and mix to blend what you scraped loose.
Warm 1/2 cup cream in a microwave just enough so that you can dissolve the coffee in it. Stir to blend, then add to filling mixture along with vanilla. Mix on lowest speed until fully incorporated.
If your springform pan is prone to leaking, you may want to wrap the outside with foil. Turn filling into pan. Set pan in the center of a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet on center rack in oven with front edge protruding slightly. Carefully pour hot water into baking sheet until it comes almost to the lip of the sheet. Gently slide it the rest of the way into the oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Start watching it carefully at 45 minutes. Custards are done when you can bump the edge of the baking vessel and the contents will, I'm not making this up, jiggle like jello, not wiggle like a wave.
When done, remove cheesecake pan from oven and allow to cool to room temp before refrigerating overnight. The next day, run some warm water into a sink and set the cheesecake pan in it for a few seconds. Remove to a towel and run a narrow spatula all the way around edge. Release and remove springform ring. Whip remaining cream with powdered sugar and spread over top of cheesecake. Arrange chocolate covered coffee beans evenly around edge, then grate unsweetened chocolate over the top -- as much as you like.
The best way to cut a cheesecake is with a hot, wet, flat-bladed knife (not a curved chef's knife). Run your blade under hot water, shake it off slightly, make a cut, then repeat for as many slices as you need, being sure to rinse all cheesecake off before making the next cut.