Close-up of Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake: the chocolate cookie crus and the vanilla cheesecake loaded with chocolate chunks. Photo courtesy Hyperion Press.



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April 2011

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cookies, Cakes & Pastries

Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake Recipe

With Premium Ingredients, Baked To Perfection




John Scharffenberger, a California vintner, and Robert Steinberg, a physician, had a mutual desire to make chocolate. Together they founded Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker, in 1997.

In 2006, they published a chocolate cookbook, The Essence Of Chocolate: a compendium of wonderful sweet and savory chocolate dishes, including this chocolate cheesecake.

It uses 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate, which has more intensity than the chocolate many Americans use for baking: semisweet Baker’s chocolate (54% cacao) or Nestle’s semisweet morsels (47% cacao).

You’ll enjoy this recipe. If you’d like something lighter, take a look at our recipes for milk chocolate cheesecake or a white chocolate cheesecake, and numerous other cheesecake recipes.

  The Essence Of Chocolate
Purchase online at Amazon.


Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe From Scharffenberger

This triple chocolate cheesecake combines a chocolate cookie crust with a vanilla  cheesecake center mixed with chocolate chunks. Note the authors:

“Every bite of this cheesecake gives you a double hit of chocolate....The chocolate chunks register on your tongue a half instant after the cheese and sour cream flavors, so you get a layered effect that pleases both chocolate and cheesecake lovers.”

Serves 10.



  • 2-1/2 cups fine chocolate wafer cookie crumbs made from store-bought cookies
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted


  • Three (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 cups sour cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 10 ounces 70% cacao chocolate, chopped into ¼-inch pieces


For the Crust

  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie crumbs and melted butter. Press the crumbs into the bottom and at least halfway up the sides of an 8-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375º F. Bake the crust for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 350º F.

For the Filling

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and salt on medium speed about 1 minute, or until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix for an additional 2 minutes, or until the batter is smooth and creamy. Scrape the bowl and paddles as necessary. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the chocolate.
  3. Pour the batter into the crust. Spread it evenly with a small offset spatula, then mound it slightly higher in the center  to prevent the cheesecake from spilling over the rim.
  4. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until lightly browned and set. There may be a few cracks around the edges. Turn off the heat, prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon, and let the cake rest in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill and firm or preferably overnight.
  6. Run a palette knife or icing spatula around the edge of the pan, remove the springform ring, and carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. (If your want to remove the springform bottom from the cheesecake, run the spatula carefully between the crust and the bottom of the pan.)
  7. The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, and frozen for up to 1 month.

Recipe © Copyright John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg. Additional material