Sorry about the long delay, but it's a busy season in law school. It was my friend Joe's 30th birthday the other day, and I volunteered to make the cake with the help of my friend Jessica. I was told Joe's favorite kinds of cake were cheesecake, and chocolate cake. Being an indecisive person, I decided that rather than choosing one, I would combine the two. The obvious choice was a brownie bottomed cheesecake. Some quick googling turned up this recipe for a brownie bottomed peanut butter cheesecake. This cheesecake was amazing, good enough that people cursed me out when they felt compelled to go back for more. Which is why this is a cheesecake to share, so that you won't end up eating the whole thing. This recipe does make more cheesecake batter than is needed, so I made a second smaller cheesecake with the extra. I tried to make a pretzel crust for it, but I didn't like it, so I didn't bother to include the recipe for it.
Peanut Butter Cup Brownie Bottom Cheesecake
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract (I used Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with butter.
2. Stir together butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with spoon or wire whisk. Add eggs; stir until well blended. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; blend well. Spread in prepared pan.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from side of pan. Meanwhile make cheesecake layer (see below).
4. Immediately after removing brownie from oven, sprinkle milk chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and peanut butter cups over brownie surface. Spoon cheesecake mixture over chips. Turn down oven 325°.
2 lbs cream cheese, softened
5 eggs, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural-style)
1/2 cups whipping cream
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini peanut butter cups*
*These were chocolate chip sized peanut butter cups I got from Trader Joes, if you can’t find them, skip them
1. Beat cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer until smooth.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sugar, peanut butter and cream; mix until smooth.
3. Stir in vanilla and mini peanut butter cups.
4. Pour filling into prepared crust. (I poured the rest off into a smaller springform pan)
5. Double-wrap springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water seeping in. Place springform pan into a larger baking pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan so that the water comes 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. (This is easiest to do once you have already moved the pan into the oven, that way you don’t have to try to move a pan full of water).
6. Bake at 325 degrees 1-1/2 hours, or until firm and lightly browned.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for one hour.
8. Run a knife along the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan somewhat.
9. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before decorating. I tend to make cheesecakes a day ahead to let things set.
Decoration¼ cup whipping cream
1. Place all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on medium power in 30 second bursts, whisking after each, until mixture is fully combined.
2. Let the ganache sit out until it has firmed up enough to pipe. Use to decorate the cake as you choose.