One of many custom cakes I have baked for family and friends. I'm still trying to make the perfect caramel for a caramel turtle cheese cake. It took me two years to get this cheese cake recipe right, I went through 3 hand mixers and finally broke down and bought a stand mixer, it's essential as you will blow out a regular hand mixer within minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 300, prepare a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan with a parchment circle over the bottom that will hang over the edge an inch or so all the way around, and I use PAM cooking spray for the sides and over the parchment for clean plating. I usually tear parchment plenty big, place it over the bottom, lock the pan together then cut off the excess, makes for a quiker, easier arrangement.
In your stand mixer, cream the sugar, cocoa and cream cheese together, this makes the chocolate more uniform, and let it run for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and make the cream cheese fluffy, add the liquer at this stage so it doesn't break the sour cream.
Add your eggs one at a time and keep scraping the sides of the mixer to incorporate all ingredients uniformly. Add the sour cream, I just dump it on top and let it run. Prepare your crust using the recipe on the box. Put your crust into your prepared spring form pan and level, I use the back of a tablespoon and eye it (I'm not a perfectionist). Add your cream cheese mixture on top and this is where it gets a little strange, you need to gently slam your cheesecake on the counter to get all the air bubbles out. I also kind of slap the side of the pan to get the smaller bubbles to surface. (if needed I use a tooth pick to break the stubborn ones) When that is complete you can prepare your water bath.
I put heavy duty aluminium foil outside the springform pan with the shiny side down, and put it in the bottom of my ceramic coated broiler pan, pulling the sides of the aluminium up and folding/twisting the corners and making sure the foil is not above the sides of the pan. I put the whole thing into the oven and use a pitcher to fill the broiler pan almost to the brim, while it's in the oven. (I'd spill it otherwise, I've tried)
Bake for one hour, don't open the door, turn the heat off, let it set in the oven for another hour without opening the door, remove from the oven, top with the cherry pie filling and refrigerate while preparing the chocolate ganache.
You can use a double boiler for this but I just use a pan on the electric stove with the burner on low and I keep stirring until everything is melted and it comes out delish! Use your manufacturing cream and Guittard chocolate chips, melt in your preferred manner and top the cheesecake, this will make more than enough chocolate ganache so be very careful as you pour or you will wind up with a chocolatey mess. You can do this portion after you've plated if you want a more elegant chocolate drip down the sides, or while it's in the pan to avoid the mess.
Refrigerate 8 hour or so and then plate, placing your cheese cake edge close to the outter edge of your plate and pulling your parchment out as you slide your hand back. It is a great way to make sure you don't break your cheesecake. If it warms too much it will crack. This is a dessert that is best made one to two days ahead of time. That way the topping has time to set and the flavors develope fully. Bon Appetit!