I think this is the first recipe I haven't said was easy and simple, because its not.
Its not for the faint hearted and not a great first bake for those who haven't baked before. Not baked before? My advice, get some to make it for you, as you don't want to miss out on this one.
So it takes several hours to make and the recipe compromises of many, many steps it is still totally worth it.
I made it for dinner with the girls, and it was devoured. The use of bitter cocoa powder cuts through the richness of the cheesecake and the orange just lifts the flavours that little bit higher.
This is quite an expensive recipe, there's over 1kg of cream cheese! It will feed 12 people though, because you only want a small piece.
My advice is to save this one for a special occasion.
I hope my warnings haven't put you off. If they haven't here's the recipe.
Orange Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from The Baking Book
Serves - 12
Calories per slice - You don't want to know! (767)
225g chilled unsalted butter, plus extra to grease
205g plain flour, sifted
150g light muscovado sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
Chocolate curls to decorate (optional)
800g cream cheese
250g mascarpone cheese
4 large eggs
225g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla pod
1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Grease a 23cm spring-form cake tin and base-line with baking parchment.
2. Cut 175g butter into cubes. Melt the remaining butter and set aside. Put the flour and cubed butter into a large bowl and rub together with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder. Pour in the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture comes together.
3. Tip the crumb mixture into the prepared tin and press evenly onto the bottom, using the back of a metal spoon to level the surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly puffed; avoid over-browning or the base will have a bitter flavour. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Lower the oven setting to gas mark 2.
4. Zest both oranges and set the zest aside. Squeeze the juice from both oranges into a bowl (you'll need 150ml of juice. If you don't get that from the oranges just top up with pure orange juice). In a separate bowl put the cream cheese, mascarpone, eggs, sugar, cornflour, grated orange zest and vanilla extract. Beat together until well combined.
5. Spilt the vanilla pod in halve lengthways and using the tip of a sharp knife scrape out the seeds. Add them to the cheese mixture. Beat in the orange juice, and continuing mixing until it is smooth.
6. Pour the cheese mixture over the cooled biscuit base. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours until pale golden on top, slightly risen and just set around the edge. The cheesecake should still be wobbly in the middle, it will set as it cools. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside, with the door ajar, to cool for 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool completely (about 3 hours), then chill.
7. Just before serving, unclip the tin and transfer the cheesecake to a plate. Scatter chocolate curls on top to decorate if you like.
Phew! I told you that was a mammoth recipe.
It's totally worth it though and would make a lovely treat for a holiday party.
What's your favourite Christmas season dessert?