The crust for this cake is very thick compared to traditional cheesecake crust (as you can see in the last few pictures). If you prefer a thinner crust, just scale down the crust recipe. While I think it's great as is, this cheesecake could be made with a graham cracker crust, an Oreo crust (shown here), or a different ganache recipe (featured here). This ganache turned white-ish on top after I put the cake in the fridge overnight, uncovered. That didn't happen with the Almost-Fudge Gateau ganache (which I did cover), so the white could be due to the lack of cover or the actual ganache itself . . . I don't really feel like testing it out! Regardless, anything with a ganache topping has my vote! Plus using a topping covers up any cracks or imperfections :) The recipe did not say to take off the springform sides before topping, but I love the look of the ganache dripping over the sides, so I did - either way works well!
Bailey's Irish Cream Cheesecake
For the crust:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 package vanilla wafers, ground to crumbs in food processor
For the filling:
3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 1-ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted
For the ganache topping:
5 1-ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350F, and grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. I lined the pan with greased waxed paper (can also use parchment) because I always do.
2. Combine butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir in wafer crumbs. Press evenly over bottom of the springform pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool pan and grease sides, if desired.
Make the filling:
1. In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time while beating. Stir in sour cream, Bailey's, and vanilla. Pour 2/3 of the cheesecake mixture over the crust.
2. To the remaining mixture, stir the melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate mixture by large spoonfuls over the plain cheesecake mixture. Run a knife through it a few times to create a marbled effect. I thought there was so much filling that making a marbled effect was quite difficult. It was almost as if the chocolate mixture was just another layer - which was fine with me!
3. Bake at 325F for about 1 1/2 hours, until the center is raised and set. Let cool to room temperature. Remove springform pan sides before topping if you prefer the look of ganache drips on the sides of the cheesecake.
Make the topping:
1. Mix chopped chocolate with whipping cream and butter and melt (in a saucepan on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave). Stir in vanilla. At this point, I used a whisk to get the ganache nice and smooth, then let it cool a bit. Hopefully my whisking isn't what made the ganache turn white-ish on top! Spread over top of the cheesecake.
2. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, or overnight.
Source: Adapted from a recipe by Kerry M.