My brother loves chocolate cheesecake, and my father, once an avid baker, would normally heed the request. However, my father has fallen off the baking trail for a while, and the torch has been passed to me. I was told I needed to make this chocolate cheesecake for his belated birthday celebration, or I would be excommunicated from the family forever.
*Not exactly, but my family’s cunning use of guilt could be perceived as such!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love making cheesecake, but it’s very time consuming. My typical cheesecake takes me a solid 2 1/2-3 hours to prep and bake, and an overnight time for the cake the set up. It’s so hot in July, and I try my best not to turn on my oven unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Luckily, I recently purchased an Instant Pot on Amazon Prime Day, the latest crave in the pressure cooker community. I was hesitant to purchase one because I don’t like to buy gimmicky, unnecessary appliances–ever. But I did enough research and was intrigued with the idea that the Instant Pot could not only expedite cooking though the powers of pressure cooking, but it can also act as a slow cooker, a yogurt maker, and it has a sauté option to help sear meat, and to help get a kickstart on aromatics. It sounded too good to be true, and although I don’t think it is a machine that would replace my trusty stovetop and oven for good, it’s definitely a winner. Especially for custardy desserts like cheesecake!
When I saw this pressure cooker could be used for cheesecake, I was skeptical. But I was also intrigued because I thought about my cardinal rule for making cheesecake: I always create a waterbath to prevent cracks and general overcooking. The pressure cooker, or in my case, the Instant Pot, is essentially steaming my cheesecake just the same by putting two cups of water underneath the rack-raised cheesecake. Because it’s a countertop appliance, I am not raising the temperature in my apartment one bit! No oven needed! Additionally, because it is a pressure cooker, my cheesecake only needed 28 minutes of active cooking time versus the hours I have wasted before.
If you’ve made cheesecakes before, you know the usual drill: bake the cheesecake for an hour, open the oven door while shutting off the heat for another hour, and then you need to cool it on a rack for some time. With this appliance, or any other pressure cooker, you can make your cheesecake and cool it in under an hour. And if you’re afraid that a pressure cooker is going to texturally change the cheesecake–it doesn’t. It tastes as if you baked in the oven, and this way it is guaranteed to be silky, creamy, and smooth!
My one note of caution is this: remember the inactive times associated with a pressure cooker. Yes, pressure cookers advertise times that seem incredible, like this one–but it takes time for the pressure cooker to “preheat” (about 10-15 minutes), and most importantly, time for the machine to depressurize (super important–you NEVER want to open your pressure cooker prematurely–it’s dangerous!), which is approximately 15-20 minutes depending on what you’re making. Because this cheesecake has two cups of water, it does not take too long at all to depressurize. And whatever you do, don’t rush the process! Do not do a so-called quick release–the cheesecake is continuing to cook as it is depressurizing, and this amount of steam release is not gentle enough for this dessert.
In a nutshell, the convenience of the instant pot and the perfected results is making me forgo the use of my oven for a cheesecake ever again! For this recipe, you don’t even have to bake the crust either as it’s prepared and then set in the freezer for ten minutes!
In addition to having excellent cooking results, this cheesecake is of course powered by great ingredients. I use Kahlua (or any coffee-based liqueur) to enhance the chocolate flavor. I also use my higher end vanilla extract. My favorite is Nielsen-Massey’s Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, which you can easily grab on Amazon.
I also believe in using good chocolate, but for some reason, I find this triple chocolate needs the milk chocolate to distinguish itself from the bittersweet ganache topping and the oreo crust. If you prefer a different chocolate, go for it!
Other recommended equipment (helpful, but not necessary): Food Processor (I have an immersion blender, so I have a small hand food processor attachment I use to crush the oreos) and my trusty Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. Also, make sure you know what size pan you’re using because a larger cheesecake cannot be made in the pressure cooker as it is too large. A 7 inch springform pan is a must!
- 20 whole Oreo cookies (yes, even the white part!)
- 4 tbsp of unsalted butter, melted then cooled
- 1 lb room temperature cream cheese, room temperature for two hours
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 whole egg – room temperature
- 2 egg yolks – room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 8 oz of chocolate (I used Hershey’s milk chocolate, but you can use bittersweet chocolate if that’s your preference)
- 1 tsp higher end vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of Kahlua or coffee-based liqueur
- 1 tbsp flour (optional–I did not use this)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (or a bar–you’re just melting it, so it does not matter)
- 3 oz heavy whipping cream (or half and half)
- Spray the 7″ springform pan with cooking spray.
- Add two cups of water to the instant pot and place the rack on the bottom.
- Make a tin foil sling to lift the cheesecake in and out of the Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Essentially, you are folding a piece of tin that’s long enough to be able scoop out your cheesecake.
- In a food processor, combine the whole Oreo cookies and the butter. If you don’t have a food processor, put the cookies in a plastic bag and break them up with a heavy item like a rolling pin, until you have fine crumbs.
- Pour the crumb butter mixture into the bottom of the pan and pat until it is evenly distributed on the bottom. Put in freezer for 10 minutes.
- In a food processor or stand mixer (I use my stand mixer for this step), mix the cream cheese with dark brown sugar, white sugar, and cocoa powder.
- Once combined, add one egg followed by the two egg yolks.
- Add the melted chocolate and sour cream.
- Continually scrape the bowl down. Add Kahlua, vanilla, and flour (flour is optional) and mix until creamy.
- Pour mixture into the springform pan and smooth with a spatula.
- Place pan on the tin foil sling and slowly lower into the Instant Pot.
- Set Instant Pot to maximum pressure for 28 minutes.
- Once done, turn machine off and let it return to normal pressure for 15 minutes.
- Unlock lid and use sling to transfer pan to cooling rack for an hour.
- Chill in refrigerator overnight.
- Put the 3/4 cup of chocolate in a bowl.
- Heat the heavy whipping cream to a simmer. Pour over chocolate.
- Chocolate will melt, stir until incorporated. Once incorporated, use a spatula and spread over the top of the cake.
- Put back in refrigerator to cool.
- If you like, use a vegetable peeler and slide the peeler on chocolate for chocolate curls for garnish and/or crumble some oreos!