Hi friends! Today I am sharing a wonderful recipe with you to celebrate a special occasion: Mondomulia turns 10! I am sure you will love this baked chocolate cheesecake with a Speculoos cookie crust topped with caramelised pecan nuts.
Mondomulia turns 10!
When I first started writing this blog in November 2011, I honestly could not have imagined myself 10 years and nearly 800 blog posts later, still sharing recipes, tips on where to eat and travel tips. What started as a creative outlet during a difficult period of my life became a hobby, a passion and then a job!
So much has changed in my life since that day ten years and I will forever be grateful for making that decision and changing my life.
Over this decade, my blog Mondomulia has grown and evolved, going through different looks, becoming more than just a food blog as my passion for travel seeped into these pages more and more. It opened doors for fantastic collaborations and travel opportunities, but most importantly this blog created connections and friendships that made me a better person.
I hope that my posts have been and will continue to be useful for many of you!
Thank you to everyone who read my blog posts, liked my photos, and followed me over the years. Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment or sent me kind words of appreciation in a message or email. Knowing there are people who have enjoyed my work and found it useful is the best gift I could ask for!
Food was then and remains today one of my biggest passions. I will continue to cook, bake, photograph food and share my favourite recipes!
Did you know that the first recipe I published on Mondomulia was a baked chocolate cheesecake? And so it only seemed right to make another one for the big 10!
Baked chocolate cheesecake with Speculoos cookie crust and caramelised pecan topping
You can tell I love chocolate. Just take a look back at Mondomulia’s recipes through the years: I celebrated my first blog anniversary with a chocolate cake; the third year of my blog I made a Chocolate Guinness Cake; the following anniversary it was a Turkish Mosaic Cake; I took a break from chocolate in 2016 with this Rosemary Buttercream Lemon Cake, but I was back at it a year later with a Salted Caramel Pretzel Chocolate Cake; and last year I celebrated turning 9 with a double chocolate flourless cake.
This year’s chocolate cheesecake recipe is a real keeper! The original recipe is by Nigella and I have made it many times. It is wonderful as it is, but for my blog’s anniversary I wanted something special and unique. And so, I made a few tweaks here and there to Nigella’s cake recipe.
Let’s start with the crust. My cheesecake crust is extra decadent as it’s made with Speculoos cookies and chocolate. Speculoos is a type of thin spiced biscuits, traditionally baked for St Nicholas’ Day in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. I used the kind of Speculoos coated with chocolate, but if you can’t find them in store, use the regular cookies with added cocoa powder.
Now I’ll say something: usually I’m not a big fan of cheesecake because I often find it too sweet and heavy. But not this cheesecake, my friends!
The smooth and velvety filling of this baked chocolate cheesecake is made with cream cheese and dark chocolate, sugar, a little bit of cocoa powder, eggs and egg yolks. There is also a “not so secret” ingredient: sour cream. The cream gives the cake exactly the right balance between satiny sweetness and smooth tang. These are Nigella’s words, but I agree!
For the topping, I caramelised some pecan nuts with sugar and spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). The pecans go so well with the sweetness of the chocolate cheesecake and the speculoos cookies!
Tips for a perfect cheesecake
As usual in baked cheesecake recipes, there a little bit of custard powder in the filling. If you don’t have any, you can substitute it with cornflour (cornstarch for the American readers), but make sure to add a teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar. The purpose of either custard powder or cornflour is to avoid cracking of the cake during baking. It also makes the cake easier to cut into clean slices.
Another tip to remember when making cheesecake is to use cream cheese at room temperature. This is very important to ensure your cake is smooth and without any lumps.
Before making this baked chocolate cheesecake, please red the preparation instructions carefully. There are a few steps that are essential to a successful result and you don’t want to skip them, such as using a water bath to create steam in the oven and keeping the oven closed during baking. These steps will allow an even bake and help keep the cheesecake from drying out and cracking.
Yields: 10-12 slices
For the base
- 200g chocolate covered speculoos biscuits (see notes below)
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
- 200g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
- 500g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- 150g white sugar
- 1 tbsp custard powder (see notes below)
- 3 medium eggs
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 150 mm sour cream
- 1/2 tsp dark cocoa powder (dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water)
For the topping
- 100g pecans
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 2 tbsp soft brown / demerara sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
Note: if you cannot find chocolate coated Speculoos biscuits, it is fine to use regular Speculoos and add 1 tbsp of cocoa powder in the crust mix. Also, if you don’t have any custard powder, you can substitute it with 1 tbsp of cornflour (if you’re in the UK) or cornstarch (if you’re in the US) plus 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
To make the base, process the biscuits by hand or in a food processor to make rough crumbs. Add the melted butter and cocoa powder and combine. Press the mixture into a 23cm / 9 inch springform tin lined with baking paper. Make an even base and put into the freezer while you make the filling.
To make the caramelised pecans, put the pecans in a saucepan and turn the heat on. Keep moving the pan a little to make sure they don’t burn. When the pecans start to brown a little, tip them out into a bowl and put the honey and sugar in the saucepan. When it begins to bubble, stir with a wooden spoon. Let it bubble for a minute and then tip in the pecans and stir to coat in the caramel. Tip the pecans out onto a piece of foil or non-stick baking paper. Leave to cool and harden.
Preheat the oven to gas 180ºC/160°C Fan. Put a kettle on to boil. Melt the chocolate either in a microwave or double boiler, and set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the cream cheese to soften it, and then add the sugar and custard powder (or cornflour with vanilla extract, if you don’t have custard powder), beating again to combine. Beat in the whole eggs and then the yolks, and the sour cream. Finally add the cocoa dissolved in hot water and the melted chocolate, and mix to a smooth batter. Don’t over mix or mix on a high speed as this adds more air to the cake batter, which may cause cracks later.
Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.
Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Add the caramelised pecans on top. Fill the roasting pan with just-boiled water to come about halfway up the cake tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Bake for around 45-60 minutes. You’ll know the cheesecake is ready when the edges are well set and the underneath is set but still jiggly.
Take out of the oven, peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool.
Once the cheesecake is no longer hot, cover the tin with clingfilm and transfer to the fridge to set overnight. Remove the cake from the fridge 30 minutes before serving. Let the cake come to room temperature before un-springing the tin. To cut the cheesecake use a clean knife and clean it after every slice.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days or freeze for 1-2 months.