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Coffee cheesecake is a cream cheese based dessert that has been flavored with coffee. Instant or freshly brewed varieties of coffee may be used, depending on the flavor preferences of the chef. Different types of liquor may be used to additionally flavor the cake, or used as a topping.
Traditional cheesecake recipes combine softened cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and sugar together to form a creamy, heavy, sweet dish that is often served with fresh fruit and dark, bitter coffee. This type of dessert is typically baked in a crushed graham cracker crust that has been pressed inside a spring form pan. Prior to serving, once the cake has had adequate time to cool, the pan is removed so that only the baked, creamy cheesecake sides and interior, and graham cracker bottom remain.
Most recipes for coffee cheesecake blend ingredients similar to those in traditional cheesecake. Heavy whipping cream may be added to increase the sweetness of the dish so that it is not overpowered by the heavier notes of coffee. Any type of coffee may be used to create this dessert's signature flavor. Freeze dried instant coffee, mixed with a minimal amount of water, creates the heavy flavor of coffee without diluting the thick cake batter. A small amount of freshly brewed espresso that has had time to cool may also be used to capture the richness and fullness of the beans. This ingredient is usually added last, and blended until thoroughly mixed, before pouring the batter into the spring form pan.
Differently flavored coffee liquors, in addition to actual coffee, may be used to add flavor to coffee cheesecake. Kahlua, cacao liquor, and Irish cream liquors are common choices to use as pairings with this type of dish. Some chefs may prefer to experiment with complimentary flavors, such as amaretto, peppermint, and caramel liquors, that pair well with the dark and rich notes of coffee.
The coffee cheesecake may be served alone or crowned with a variety of sweet toppings. Freshly whipped heavy cream and drizzled caramel add light notes of sweetness to the cake's slightly bitter nature. Sugar glazed chopped pecans are commonly sprinkled over this type of cake to add signature notes of smoke, sugar, and a crunch to the dish. A coffee liquor drizzle may be easily mixed from the remaining ingredients used to create the cake batter. Heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, and liquor, when whipped at medium to high speeds using a hand mixer, form a frothy, semi-sweet cream that may be dolloped onto the tops of cakes immediately prior to serving.