This cake is very rich and you can probably serve 16 servings out of it. For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free cookies for the bottom.
- shortbread cookies - 1 8-ounce package , or other vanilla cookies
- butter - 4 tablespoons , plus 1 for greasing pan
- cream cheese - 3 8-ounce packages (not whipped)
- large eggs - 4
- sugar - 1 cup
- dark cocoa - 1/2 cup
- pure vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- whipping cream - 1/2 cup to decorate, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Place the butter into a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds, or until melted. You will need a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan. Trace the bottom on parchment paper and cut out the circle. Cover the top of the pan bottom with heavy duty aluminum foil, and then wrap the foil under the bottom. Attach the pan sides to the bottom, lock in place and then unwrap the foil and wrap up around the sides of the pan.
2. Take the other tablespoon of butter and rub around the bottom and sides of the pan. Press the parchment circle in the bottom and grease the top. Set aside a large roasting pan with sides higher than 2 inches that can fit the spring form pan inside.
3. Place the cookies into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until ground, but not completely in crumbs; leave some ¼-inch pieces. Add the melted butter and pulse a few seconds to mix. Spoon crumbs into the pan and press to cover the bottom of the pan. You can use a piece of waxed paper to help press the crumbs evenly while keeping your hands clean. Set aside.
4. Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer or blender, and whisk or mix until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and scrape down the bowl each time to make sure all the cream cheese and eggs are being mixed together and the mixture looks creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add the cocoa and mix well, making sure everything is mixed in. Pour the batter on top of the cookie crumbs in the pan.
5. Place the pan inside the roasting pan and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bring over boiling water and pour into the roasting pan, around the cheesecake pan, until the water reaches one-third to half way up the sides of the pan.
6. Bake for one hour. Turn off the oven and then prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the cake in the oven for30 minutes. Remove the cake from the roasting pan and let cool on a rack until the cake is completely cooled. Place in the fridge for five hours or overnight. May be kept for four days in the fridge or frozen.
7. Serve with whipped cream if desired.