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Brownie Bottom Lemon Cheesecake

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This recipe caught my eye when I was looking through the May 2009 issue of Bon Appetit. You almost never see lemon and chocolate together, so I wanted to try it.  This recipe is from the same people who published Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Bon Appetit did a feature on diner dessert makeovers and these guys had several of their recipes featured.  The recipes in the magazine did not appear in their cookbook, so it was like a little bonus.  This recipe was actually created by accident.  Apparently, a batch of brownies was pulled out of the oven too early.  They wanted to think of a way to put them to use, so they pressed them in the bottom of a cheesecake pan and used it as a base for this cheesecake.  It’s funny how accidents like this create delicious desserts!

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The cheesecake part of this recipe was pretty standard.  It was a tall and creamy cheesecake lightly flavored with lemon.  The lemon flavor was perfect.  It was neither too subtle nor overpowering.  I really liked the brownie crust.  I was different and a fun change from the usual graham cracker or other cookie crust.   I will probably use it in the future when I make cheesecakes.  Even though the lemon-chocolate combination was somewhat unusual, it went together well and made for a delicious dessert.

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Brownie-Bottom Lemon Cheesecake
Source: Bon Appetit May 2009, also on epicurious.com

Crust:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (54% to 60% cacao), chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 5 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 13/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Topping:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Bittersweet chocolate curls or shavings
  • 1 lemon, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
  • For crust:
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray inside of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-to 3-inch-high sides with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt in small bowl; set aside. Combine chocolate and butter in medium metal bowl; place bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth. Remove bowl from over water. Add both sugars to chocolate mixture and whisk until blended. Let cool until mixture is barely lukewarm, about 10 minutes. Whisk egg and vanilla into chocolate mixture. Fold flour mixture into chocolate mixture. Spread brownie batter evenly over bottom of prepared pan.
  • Bake brownie crust until top looks slightly cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to rack; cool crust to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
  • For filling:
    Place pan with cooled crust on rimmed baking sheet. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, flour, lemon peel, and lemon juice; beat until smooth. Add eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until incorporated after each addition. Beat in 1/2 cup sour cream and whipping cream. Pour filling over brownie crust in pan; smooth top.
  • Bake cake until puffed, light golden, and set around edges (center will still move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove cake from oven. Maintain oven temperature.
  • For topping:
    Spoon 1 cup sour cream in dollops over top of cake, then spread evenly over top with offset spatula. Return cake to oven and bake 5 minutes. Run small sharp knife around sides of cake to loosen. Place pan with cake directly in refrigerator and chill uncovered overnight (cake may sink in center). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
  • Remove pan sides from cake. Run thin sharp knife between pan bottom and crust to loosen. Using 2 metal spatulas as aid, transfer cake to platter. Garnish top edge of cake with chocolate curls and lemon slices.

10 Responses

  1. I saw that recipe and couldn’t wrap my brain around a chocolate lemon combination.

    But if you say it works, I believe you!

  2. Erin, this looks amazing! You did a great job with making it beautiful. I love lemon, and chocolate, and brownies, and cheesecake, and while I wouldn’t generally expect them all to go together, I’m interested in trying this out now!

  3. This looks SO beautiful and elegant! So who do you share these delicacies with?

  4. Wow, it’s gorgeous! The chocolate and lemon combination sounds strange to me too but those Baked guys know their desserts so I’m sure it’s terrific! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What an interesting combination. Your cheesecake looks gorgeous!

  6. That looks amazing! Great job!

  7. That’s a gorgeous cheesecake! You’re right, lemon & chocolate together is pretty rare (even though chocolate and orange is so popular!). I bet it tasted great.

  8. Beautiful cake and it’s definitely a combo I wouldn’t have thought worked together very well but you’ve showed how it can work nicely!

  9. that is so pretty! And a brownie base with cheesecake? genius!

  10. Beautiful cheesecake. Hook me up with a slice, please.🙂

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