A Strawberry Cheesecake with a Chocolate Swirl

I’d been itching to bake something fancy for awhile.  Saturday was my sister’s birthday, and she and my parents wanted to come out and visit us, so I happily volunteered to make her a birthday cake.  I stewed for awhile about what to make… there are far too many good ideas out there!  But, no matter how much time I spend on Pinterest, when I need to make a special dessert I will most likely make a cheesecake.  And it’s got “cake” in the name, so it qualifies as a birthday cake, right?

Besides, cheesecakes are kind of my thing.

I don’t do “cheesecakes” in 9 x 13 pans, I don’t do no-bake cheesecakes.  If I’m going to do it, I’m going to go all out and make the real thing.  If I don’t have the time to make a real cheesecake, I’ll make something else.

My go-to cookbook when I need a cheesecake recipe is this one:

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This book was a gift from my sister-in-law a few years ago.  It has just about every flavor of cheesecake you’d ever need.  I love that each cheesecake also has a topping, and it’s so easy to mix and match cheesecakes with different toppings, or use a topping completely your own.

To make a good cheesecake, you need to make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature.  I took my cream cheese, eggs, and strawberries out a good three hours before I got started.

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Place a cookie sheet on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any drips then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  My oven has two baking features: “Bake” cycles the top and bottom heating elements, “choice bake” only heats from the bottom.  I use the “choice bake” setting for my cheesecakes because I don’t want the top to brown.

I like to put a layer of parchment on the bottom of my springform pan.  I just lay it taut and close the springform around it, then trim off the excess.  Grease the bottom and sides of the pan – you can use butter, but I prefer to grease my pans with shortening.  This is a 9-inch springform pan.

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Pulse 20 whole chocolate sandwich cookies in the food processor until they’re a coarse crumb (think Panko).

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Then add 5 ounces of melted butter and give it a couple more pulses to incorporate it.

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Press the butter and cookie crumb mixture firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a springform pan and set aside.  (Apparently you didn’t need a photo of this step)

Put four 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese in your mixing bowl.  I start by giving the cream cheese a quick whip in my mixer (about 20-30 seconds), then add 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.

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Once that is smooth, add 4 large eggs, one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next.  Be sure to scrape the side of your bowl a few times too.  Then mix in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.

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Measure out 3/4 cup of the mixture and place it in a small bowl.  To this bowl, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix until it is well incorporated, then set aside.

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Back in the original bowl mix in the 12 ounces of thawed frozen strawberries along with their juice, 2 teaspoons of strawberry flavoring, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract.

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Now, we’re going to layer the two different batters in the pan, starting with half of the strawberry mixture.

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Then half of the chocolate mixture.  It’s thick and there’s not terribly much of it, so don’t worry too much about the distribution.  At least I didn’t. (I suppose if you want to make it look perfect you could put it in a piping bag and pipe circles or lines with the chocolate batter)

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The rest of the strawberry.

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Finally, the rest of the chocolate.

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Gently run a butter knife through the batter to create a swirl effect.  Try not to hit the crust as you’re doing so.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 2 hours or until the center is no longer shiny or jiggly.  Mine took an additional 15 minutes.

Take the cheesecake out of the oven and carefully run a knife between the cake and the pan to release the sides.  Return the cake to the oven, turn it off, and leave it for 2 hours to slowly cool.

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Chill overnight in the refrigerator.  I left it in the springform and set a plate on top of it, because with my luck something would have fallen on it had I left it uncovered.  There was a little condensation on it the next morning that I carefully blotted off with a paper towel.

Decorate as desired before serving.  I did the chocolate covered strawberries as recommended in the book along with a homemade whipped cream.  I wish I would have had the foresight to have my mom bring a pretty cake plate!

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After I got a photo of my sister with her cake (which I promised not to share, although it turned out really cute!), I served each plate with an extra dollop of whipped cream and a chocolate covered strawberry.

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As if chocolate covered strawberries weren’t fancy enough, I couldn’t help myself from adding a white chocolate drizzle.  I told you at the beginning, I wanted to make something fancy.  I mean, who wouldn’t want this for their birthday cake?!

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6 thoughts on “A Strawberry Cheesecake with a Chocolate Swirl

  1. Kimberly this looks delish. I did my first real cheesecake at least as an adult! this year. A co-worker who was a chef gave me a tip that I also read about somewhere else. Do you ever bake yours in a pan of water? I wrapped the springform pan in aluminum foil then placed in a glass baking dish of water. It’s supposed to keep it moist and from cracking. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard of baking cheesecakes in a water bath but I’ve never tried it. I think the first time I made a cheesecake I put a pan of water in the oven with it but haven’t put the cake in the water bath like you did. I’ve had very good luck with technique I used here.

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  2. WOW – yummy, just love it
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