Double chocolate cheesecake is generally cheesecake containing two different chocolate applications. Usually, one of these uses is in the flavoring of the cheesecake itself. The second application may take a number of different forms. The cheesecake might contain chocolate chips or swirls. The crust might be made of chocolate graham crackers or contain cocoa powder. Many double chocolate cheesecakes are topped with some kind of chocolate ganache or sauce.
As a rule, double chocolate cheesecakes are almost always chocolate-flavored. There are very few exceptions to this, generally because the name implies that the main part of the cheesecake contains cocoa powder or chocolate-flavored cream cheese. For example, a plain cheesecake with a chocolate crust and chocolate chips in the cake portion is not typically called a double chocolate cheesecake. Chocolate must be the predominate flavor in the cheesecake.
The second application of chocolate in this dessert can vary greatly. Ribbons of chocolate marbled through the cake is a very popular choice because they offer layers of texture and additional rich flavor. Cooks that choose this method often drizzle melted chocolate or chocolate fudge over the cheesecake mixture and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Good-quality, dark chocolate generally works best because it doesn’t add much sweetness and complements the slightly tangy cream cheese.
Other cooks might choose to use a second use of chocolate through some kind of topping. This can include shards of chocolate-covered pretzels, homemade chocolate ganache, or a layer of shaved chocolate curls carefully arranged on top of the dessert. Some may choose to hide the second chocolate application under the cake, or even in the crust. These cooks may use any of the above types of chocolate for that purpose.
Sometimes the name double chocolate cheesecake refers to two different kinds of chocolate rather than two applications. This may mean that the cheesecake itself is flavored with white chocolate, and the crust and toppings are all dark or milk chocolate. A dark chocolate cheesecake may have white chocolate accents. This name can also be applied to desserts in which the second type of chocolate is infused with chili powder, orange zest, or mint.
In a few cases, the term double chocolate cheesecake may mean there is simply a double-helping of chocolate in the cheesecake itself. This does not mean there are chips or ribbons of chocolate in the cheesecake. Instead, it indicates that the cook likely doubled the amount of cocoa powder in the recipe, making the cheesecake extra chocolaty. This is the simplest, but possibly rarest, way to make double chocolate cheesecake.