Years ago when I made desserts for local restaurants, my best-selling items always seemed to be either cheesecakes or anything made with chocolate. So, it was only natural that when I made Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake—which brings the two together—people went wild. One client dubbed it the “triple-chocolate threat” for its chocolate cookie crust and the cocoa and bittersweet chocolate in its rich cheese filling. Fortunately it’s easy to make, so I was able to keep up with the many requests, and, after your friends and family clamor for more, you will, too.
For the smoothest texture, don’t overwhip the batter. While the filling is easy to throw together, it’s important to avoid overwhipping it or you’ll end up with a puffed, cracked cake. I get the best results when I begin with the cream cheese at room temperature (about 70°F). I use the paddle attachment of my stand mixer to cream the cheese without aerating it. When I’m sure that the cream cheese is supersmooth and that the sugar, cocoa, and chocolate are well combined, I add the eggs one at a time and beat on low speed until they’re just blended.
Cocoa powder is the filling’s key ingredient. Unsweetened natural cocoa powder enriches and mellows the flavor of the bittersweet chocolate, and it also helps smooth out the cheesecake’s texture. Many cheesecake recipes call for all-purpose flour to stabilize the cream cheese, but cocoa powder offers a similar binding effect without the gluey mouthfeel. The instant coffee granules or espresso powder in the filling adds a final note of smoky richness that puts this cake over the top.
If you like, you can substitute chocolate graham crackers for the chocolate wafers in the crust. Pulse either one to fine crumbs in a food processor (or pulverize them in a plastic bag) before pressing them into the springform pan.