chocolate peanut-butter cheesecake

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nigella – yes I tend to think of her by her first name, as do many people – calls this an unashamed indulgence and that was the reason I made it, since this is meant to feed a horde of more than 10 men. the fact that I’ve watched nigella make this in that effortless manner she has also made this very enticing.

I have to say I plied on the (un)shame for this cake, by adding a chocolate topping and more salted peanuts over the chocolate-sour-cream layer over the peanut-butter-sour-cream filling over a chocolate-peanut-digestive-butter crust.

I changed the quantities around a bit to make two 8-inch cakes, and I’ve included my quantities below for reference. it’s important that it’s all at room temperature.

crust 300g digestives
75g salted peanuts
150g dark chocolate
75g unsalted butter
filling 600g full-fat soft cheese (2 packets)
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
230g castor sugar
150ml sour cream
300g smooth peanut butter
sour cream topping 300ml sour cream
100g milk chocolate
20g dark chocolate
35g soft brown sugar
chocolate topping 55g dark chocolate
1 tbsp water
Handful of salted peanuts
2 8-inch loose-bottomed tins

Directions:

  1. preheat the fan oven to 160C.
  2. crust: put all the crust ingredients (I had to do this in 2 batches) into a food processor and pulse very finely. turn out the mixture into the pans, and press into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. I think it’s meant to have a deeper bottom crust since nigella’s photo doesn’t show as much up the sides but I like the look of a surrounded cake. place in the fridge while you mix the filling.
  3. filling: throw all the ingredients in a large bowl and whizz at it with an electric mixer. it comes together amazingly quickly into a smooth mixture. pour the filling into both of the crusts and place it into the oven. they are done when the top feels dry and set – mine only took 25-30 minutes. at that point you want to remove the cakes from the oven but leave the oven on and start with the sour cream topping.
  4. sour cream topping: place all the ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl and heat it up in the microwave, checking every 20 seconds to give it a stir. I found that this came together very quickly, and note that the chocolate melts very rapidly under the sour cream so you’ll want to check it often and stir. pour this over the cheesecake and press down gently with a spoon to spread it to the edges; I found this the best way to do it without affecting the top of the cake.
  5. bake for another 10 minutes and remove from the oven to cool in the tins completely, and cover before refrigerating it overnight. the chocolate topping will be made the next day. make sure the cover doesn’t touch the cake (I learnt this hard way when my clingfilm touched and spoilt the top slightly – I suggest using aluminium foil tucked in tightly around the sides so it doesn’t sag).
  6. chocolate topping (only makes enough for the top of 1 cake, double it if you want to coat both cakes): put a kettle of water onto the boil. place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat up until melted, remembering to check every 15-20 seconds and stirring till smooth because it burns very easily. once melted, quickly stir in 1 tbsp of the hot water from the kettle, and whisk like your life depended on it (if you don’t do this it will split and you would have wasted perfectly good chocolate!).
  7. let the chocolate topping cool a little and spread it over the top of the cake. I used a spoon to push the filling to the edges – do this quickly as it cools and hardens rapidly – because I like the rustic look of it, but you can of course do it with a palette knife for neater results. chop up the salted peanuts and sprinkle it over the centre.

and voila! an amazing cake. you notice in the photos that the cake I cut up did not have the chocolate topping – I’m bringing that one to a party but you see the clear and distinct layers don’t you? this cake slices amazingly well (as you can see) when cold so I recommend you do that.

p.s. I think the chocolate layer brings the cake over the top in a brilliant way.

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