Blackbottom Marble Cheesecake


In most respects in my life, I’d say that I am a simple girl. I stick with the basices when it comes to dress, I don’t wear much jewelry or make-up, and I prefer the clean, uncluttered look in my home decorating. But when it comes to baking, I often equate simple with boring. I prefer my baked goods to be extra-decadent and over the top, with lots of inclusions like nuts and chocolate chunks, or toppings like caramels, glazes and ganache. In my desire to jazz up plainer recipes, I often overlook the goodness that can be found in simplicity. If something is well made, with quality ingredients, it doesn’t necessarily need all the extras.

Knowing that a good friend’s birthday was fast approaching, I decided to make her a cake. I owe this friend a lot, as she is the one who got me to join our run club and who convinced me I could do a half-marathon. In essence, she introduced me to an exercise that I love, that I excel at, and that has gotten me in better shape than I’ve ever been in my life. She is also the wife of a vascular surgeon at MGH, which means that she is, to all intents and purposes, a single parent much of the time. I knew that if I didn’t take charge of the situation, she would be making or buying her own cake. I just couldn’t have that on my conscience!

So I offered to make her whatever kind of cake her heart desired. The sky’s the limit. And she requested a simple marble cheesecake. Really? Just a marble cheesecake? Nothing with chopped-up candybars and gooey caramel in the middle? No layers of bourbon-scented whipped cream and a ganache topping? Well, okay, you’re the boss. Give the lady what she wants.

So I set about making the best darn marble cheesecake I could. After looking at numerous recipes, I ended up with a compromise between one from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, and an old blackberry swirl cheesecake recipe I had made up long, long ago. And then, just to jazz it up a little, I made the crust with chocolate wafer cookies instead of graham crackers. I couldn’t help myself, a graham cracker crust just seemed to plain!

The Results: I’d love to show you the inside of this cake, but since I was giving it away, I couldn’t exactly cut out a piece for pictures. What I can tell you is this: the thing smelled insanely good as I was photographing it. It was hard to resist diving right into it. And I did have a taste test or two of both the white and the chocolate batters, and what I tasted was Good with a capital G. I saw my friend just yesterday and she tells me that they loved it, and that she and her family ate it all in the first two days. And she gave me back my springform pan bottom to prove it!

Blackbottom Marble Cheesecake

18 chocolate wafer cookies
2 tbsp butter, melted

1/4 cup whipping cream, divided
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 8oz bricks of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp butter, melted

For the crust, preheat the oven to 350F. Process the wafer cookies in a food processor until fine. Pour crumbs into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle melted butter over crumbs and stir with a rubber spatula until well combined. Press crumb mixture evenly into bottom of pan.

Bake crust until firm, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while making the batter.

In a medium, microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate chips and 2 tbsp whipping cream together, stirring frequently until smooth, 1-3 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down beaters and sides of bowl as needed. Beat in sugar, eggs, vanilla and remaining cream until thoroughly incorporated and no lumps remain.

Take 1/4 cup of the batter and stir into the chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.

Taking care not to disturb the baked crust, brush sides of springform pan with melted butter. Set pan on a baking sheet and pour white batter into the pan. Dab spoonfuls of chocolate batter randomly on top and swirl with a knife or offset spatula until you have the desired marbled effect.

Bake cheesecake until set and center no longer jiggles when shaken, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around edge of cake to make sure it doesn’t stick to the sides while cooling. Cool for several hours, running knife around edge a few more times. Carefully remove sides of pan. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Serves 12.

Now this is a dish I am proud to bring to Potluck Fridays!

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  1. Pretend Chef says

    What a treat for your friend! That was incredibly sweet of you! This just looks and sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a birthday. My cheesecake loving man would go crazy over this!

  2. Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels says

    How sweet of you to make a birthday cheesecake for your friend! It looks so pretty and delicious. I'm sure she's going to love it! :)

  3. whatsfordinneracrossstatelines says

    I'm sure this was insanely good! I could go for some of that right now, my b-day is in Aug. In case you were wondering! He He

  4. Island Vittles says

    I love cheesecake, but not graham cracker crusts…I`m always on the lookout for a new crust…looks delicious! Theresa

  5. Kim - Liv Life says

    What a wonderful friend you are!! Congrats on the running, it's a sport I just can't excel at. I just don't like it! But I'm always in awe of those who do and how far they can push themselves. Congratulations to you!
    Cheesecake on the other hand… hmm… I could have this one every single day and never get tired of it! Nicely done. I'm sure she loved it!

  6. Cookbook Confessions says

    What a unique and impressive looking cheesecake! I will definitely have to try this for myself. Thanks for sharing!

  7. BakingWithoutaBox says

    What a great gift for your friend. And how fabulous for you to realize how close to single parenting moms of some occupations become. Very intuitive. I love the cheesecake. But then I love simple. Really boringly simple. Saving this.

  8. Susi says

    What a great gift for your friend! I bet she loved every bite of it :o) I'm not a runner, but I'm in awe of people who are good at it and love it. The cheesecake sounds wonderful and since it is one of my favorite desserts I wouldn't mind having a friend like you ;o)

  9. Mags @ the Other Side of 50 says

    Looks to me like you made the "best darned marble cheesecake" possible. Lucky friend! It looks stunning.

  10. Emily Z says

    What a nice cake to make for a friend. You did a beautiful job. And good for you for pursuing a marathon. A friend of mine has done a couple and it has been very rewarding for her!

  11. Charlie @ SweetSaltySpicy says

    This must be delicious!
    I made a cream cheese & chocolate cake (with graham crust) for a friend's birthday once and it was SO good :).

  12. Sophie says

    Waw, Carolyn!! That cheesecake of yours looks extremely tasty,..Really!

    In my next post, I will answer the senses that you tagged me with!

  13. sara @ CaffeIna says

    this cheesecake looks wonderful. My birthday is in July…just in case you might want to make me a similar gift :)

  14. Mama Cupcake says

    Cheesecake is one those things that don't have calories…of course that's what I tell myself anyway when I grab a second slice!

  15. Elisabeth says

    What a gorgeous marble cheesecake. I admire your generosity in giving it away. There's something about giving a cheesecake to friends. They truly appreciate it…in my case, I did the same, now I am required to bring my New York style cheesecake to the same friend's house for special occasions, which I don't mind at all!

  16. Foodiva says

    OMG, this looks insanely decadent! I might try it with an easy oats crust (to make me feel less guilty!). This is my kind of cheesecake, definitely a must-try.

  17. Lynn @ I'll Have What She's Having says

    I love the swirls in the cake! They're just perfect. The cake sounds amazing to me – a wonderful birthday gift!

  18. She's Cookin' says

    I would say you succeeded at making the best darn marble cheesecake ever! And with a crust of chocolate wafer cookies, you added your signature decadent touch :) I'm sure this made your friend's birthday extra special.

  19. Karen says

    Goodness gracious! This is just amazing. I sat looking at that photo for way too long! ha. What a lucky friend…

  20. Erin @ EKat's Kitchen says

    Carolyn, what a great recipe to bring to Friday Potluck. I love love love this presentation and all of these amazing flavors! Thanks so much for linking up again this week. I always look forward to your recipes!

  21. gobakeyourself says

    How could I have missed this recipe while devouring the rest of your blog? It is perfection on a plate – you must have amazing willpower to not eat all of this at once and give it away!

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. Guru Uru says

    How did you have the willpower to not eat all of this yourself??? It is perfection on a plate and one of the most stunning desserts 😀

    Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself

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