Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

This is a visually impressive cheesecake that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

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It all starts off with a really easy to make brownie recipe.

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Then you get to the cheesecake which is also one of those one-bowl affairs with little clean-up and fuss.

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Together, they make an arresting cheesecake which promises velvety chocolate nestled in a creamy cheesecake bed. The whole thing is then topped off with bittersweet chocolate and a crunchy, buttery base, adding textural and flavour contrast.

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Honestly speaking though, I felt that this cheesecake did not live up to its appearance. Sure, it was a pretty decent cheesecake, but its taste did not have the wow factor that I expected. Of course, this could be down to the alterations I made to the recipe (see notes), so feel free to follow the original recipe down to the tee (although I think my alterations were not the reason why I did not like the recipe since my alterations were pretty minor and did not affect the parts I didn’t like).

Still, it’s an easy recipe (for its nature) that yields a pretty cake with a satisfactory taste. The brownie texture matched the cheesecake’s pretty well, so the whole cake was overall pretty harmonious.

I got this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Ingredients (makes an 8″ cake)

Brownies

  • 113g unsweetened chocolate/baking chocolate (4 ounces)
  • 170g unsalted butter (3/4 cup)
  • 350g granulated sugar (1 3/4 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 125g flour (1 cup)

Crumb crust (see notes)

  • 284g finely ground cookies of your choice, I used chocolate digestives (10 ounces)
  • 142g unsalted butter, melted (10 tbsp)
  • 134g sugar (2/3 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake

  • 3 package cream cheese, softened (each packet being 227g or 8 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 200g sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 cups brownie cubes (I definitely used more than this though)

Ganache

  • 85g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (3 ounces)
  • 56.7g butter (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

Brownies

  1. Melt the chocolate and butter either in a microwave or over a double boiler until the butter is melted. Stir in sugar. Then blend in the eggs and vanilla. Then stir in the flour and salt.
  2. Butter and line a pan and pour the mixture in.
  3. Bake at 180°C for 30-35 mins (press the surface and it should spring back. The toothpick test will not work here since the insides are pretty gooey even when it is done).
  4. Refrigerate the brownies (if you want; it’s easier to cut when it’s cold) and cube into 3/4 to 1 inch squares.

Crumb crust

  1. Stir together and press onto the bottom and up the sides of a buttered springform pan (see notes).

Cheesecake

  1. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. Add vanilla and sugar, beating until well incorporated.
  3. Fold in the brownie cubes gently.
  4. Pour into the crust shell and bake at 180°C for 45 mins, or until when you shake it, it jiggles slightly in the middle (and is set about 1 inch from the edge).
  5. Let cool in the tin at room temperature. When it is cool to the touch, refrigerate the cheesecake.

Ganache

  1. Heat the butter and the cream in a saucepan until the cream just reaches boiling. Take the cream off the heat.
  2. Pour the hot cream into a bowl containing the chocolate and let sit for a minute. Then stir the whole thing together.
  3. Add the extract and stir.

Assemble

  1. Spread ganache over the cheesecake when still warm.
  2. Decorate with leftover brownies and random cookie crumbs that fell off and extra ganache.
  3. Chill cake until ready to serve.

Notes

  • I really did not like the cookie base I ended up with in this recipe. This could be down to my choice of cookies, since the original recommended chocolate wafers or chocolate teddy grahams and I used chocolate digestives. What I ended up with was waaaaay too oily and crumbly. I recommend very gradually adding your butter until you get the right consistency. Also, I omitted the sugar when making the crust since the cookies were already so sweet.
  • When folding the brownie cubes into the cheesecake, just use as many brownie cubes as you want, man. 2 cups is too little (though this could be down to my sucky volume measuring skills. HOW do you measure the volume of uneven objects)
  • You WILL end up with extra brownies but is that really a bad thing?
  • All the sugar used here is granulated sugar, not caster sugar (which could affect your recipe if you’re measuring by volume)
  • I reduced the sugar by 30g for the brownies and 20g for the cheesecake and it turned out fine.
  • Don’t worry about baking this cake in a water bath since the chocolate ganache is going to cover your lovingly cultivated crackless top. If you’re the type that gets bothered by cracks, I made this cake and didn’t get a crack in my cheesecake anyway.
  • I thought putting the crumbs up the side made the cake really ugly, but that could be down to my personal preference and my (lack of) technique.
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