Italian baked cheesecake with chocolate and black cherries

Italian baked cheesecake with chocolate anc black cherries, served with cherry syrup and whipped cream

I have a game I like to play. I love to bake birthday cakes, and I like to try and figure out what the perfect cake will be for someone’s birthday. It was my father’s birthday this week, and I was trying to figure out what to bake for his birthday lunch. I decided on this Italian baked cheesecake with chocolate and black cherries. It’s based on a baked ricotta cheesecake I used to make years ago. I thought a chocolate crust would make it something special. The use of low fat cream cheese and fresh low fat ricotta ensure it’s a little less sinful than it could be. Blending the cheeses with Galliano really takes the cake to another level. The combination of almonds, cherries, vanilla and chocolate in this cake are truly divine.

Crust

2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 cup almond meal
6 teaspoon cocoa powder
1   free range egg
200 grams butter, chilled and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons flaked almonds
2 tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped

 Filling

400 grams low fat cream cheese
400 grams fresh, low fat ricotta
1 cup raw caster sugar
2 tablespoons Galliano
100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon icing sugar
1 cup black cherries in syrup, chopped, syrup reserved
1 teaspoon Galliano, additional

Italian baked cheesecake with chocolate and black cherries

To make the crust combine the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, vanilla, almond meal, cocoa and egg in a food processor. When combined, gradually add the butter and combine until the crumbs start to come together in a ball. Grease and line a 23cm spring form baking tin. Press 2/3 of the mixture onto the base and sides of the tin and refrigerate for an hour. Add the chocolate and almonds to the remaining mixture and reserve. Preheat oven to 180oC.

Italian baked cheesecake with chocolate and black cherries

To make the filling, combine the cheeses, caster sugar and Galliano in a food processor. Combine until smooth. (This mixture will be a divine spreading consistency, and would make a great filling for canoli) Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the chocolate and black cherries. Pour into the chilled crust and spread out evenly. Top with the reserved crust mixture. Bake for an hour. Remove from the oven, cool and remove from tin. Sift the icing sugar over the top of the cake. Serve at room temperature with whipped cream and cherry syrup.

To make the cherry syrup, combine the reserved cherry syrup and additional Galliano in a small saucepan, simmer until reduced to a thick syrup.

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