The recipe for this showstopper cheesecake comes from Maida Heatter, aka “Queen of Cake”. She passed away in 2019 at the age of 102. A prodigiously gifted pastry chef and cookbook author, Maida Heatter wrote more than ten cookbooks, many of which are treasured baking resources that I refer to time and again. Her recipes are beautifully written, precise and foolproof. So much of what I’ve learned about baking has come from Maida Heatter’s wise baking counsel. I love to bake this cake for special occasions. Enjoy!
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 2 pounds cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
Before you begin make sure to have on hand an 8”x3” one-piece cheesecake pan* and a larger pan (less deep) that you will fill with hot water. You will also need a large (16”) pastry bag fitted with a ½” tube.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter well the whole cheesecake pan.
Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cheese until it is smooth, then add the vanilla and the sugar. Beat well, then add the eggs one at a time, beating just enough to mix ingredients together.
Place two cups of the batter into a small bowl. Add the melted chocolate and beat until smooth. Spray the buttered, cake pan with non-stick spray, then pour in the lighter colored mixture. Fill the pastry bag with the chocolate batter. Place the cake pan on a table. Take the pastry bag with the chocolate batter and place the tip of the tube in the center of the light batter, inserting it ½’ inch into the cake. Squeeze out enough of the chocolate batter to form a round ball about 2” wide. There is now a polka dot in the center of the cake.
Squeeze out six more smaller balls evenly spaced around the edge of the pan. Place the cake pan into the larger pan. Pour hot water into the larger pan about 1 ½ “ deep. Bake for 1 ½ hours. Lift pan out of the water and place on a cake rack. Cool at room temperature for several hours. Cover the pan with plastic wrap. Place a flat plate upside down over the pan and turn the pan and plate upside down. Carefully remove the pan. Sprinkle evenly the graham cracker crumbs over the bottom of the cake. Gently place another flat plate over the cake and invert again. Cake should be right side up with the polka dots on top. Remove the plastic wrap. Refrigerate several hours before serving. To serve, dip a sharp knife into very hot water. Cut from the center dot through the middle of one of the smaller dots, so that you get a nice visual of the dots when serving.
*If you have trouble finding the one-piece cheesecake pan, email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on using different pans.