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Sense & Edibility's Black Forest Cheesecake

Black Forest Cheesecake

A riff on a classic German dessert. Begin a day in advance.
Course Sweets
Cuisine German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 9 hours
Servings 10 servings
Calories 557kcal


Chocolate Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate animal crackers crushed (about 1/2 of a 14.5 oz pkg of cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 4 8 ounce packages cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup  kirschwasser  cherry-flavored brandy or liqueur

Cherry Topping:

  • 1 1/2 pound dark sweet cherries pitted (fresh or frozen*), divided
  • 1 medium lemon, juice and zest reserved
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar (4 tablespoons if you prefer a very sweet topping)
  • 1 cup water divided
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoons  kirschwasser cherry-flavored brandy or liqueur


Make the Chocolate Crust:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Add the crushed chocolate cookies to the melted butter and stir them together. The mixture should hold together when squeezed in your fist. Pour the chocolate cookie mix into the cake pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup  to pack the cookie crumbs into an even layer in the pan. Push the crumbs up the sides of the pan about a 1/4" to form a side crust.
  • Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake the crust for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool.
  • Fill a 12" cake pan with boiling water. Place the pan into the oven on a rack set in the lower half of the oven. Close the door to keep hot while you prepare the cheesecake.Prepare the Cheesecake Filling:
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Mix on medium speed with a  mixer until smooth.
  • Add the eggs, 1 at a time, to the cream cheese. Blend until each egg is fully incorporated into the batter, then scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula before adding the next egg. Scrape down the bowl once all of the eggs have been mixed in.
  • Add the vanilla and the kirschwasser. Mix to incorporate fully.
  • Pour the prepared batter into the prepared pan. Slip the pan gently into the bain-marie you already have in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Once fully baked, turn the oven off, and prop open its door with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to gradually cool in the oven for a 30 min. - 1 hour.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the bain-marie after the cool-down period and let it cool on the counter for another 20 - 30 minutes. Put it into the fridge and allow it to cool for at least 6 hours. To remove the cake from the pan: run a thin knife between the cheesecake and the pan to loosen the cake. Invert it onto a clean plate before inverting it again onto a serving platter. Place into the fridge while you make the cherry topping.Make the Cherry Topping:
  • Bring 1 cup of the pitted cherries, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and all BUT 2 TBSP of the water to a boil in a medium saucepan, over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Once finished simmering, use an immersion blender to blend them smooth.  
  • Strain the juice from the mixture using a sieve. Discard the cherry pulp and pour the liquid back into the saucepan. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer.
  • Combine the remaining 2 tbsp of water,  the cornstarch, and the kirshcwasser together in small bowl. When the liquid begins to simmer in the pot, slowly drizzle the slurry into the pot, whisking constantly, without allowing the mixture to boil. Once the liquid has thickened, fold the remaining whole cherries into the thickened sauce.Finish the Cheesecake:
  • An hour prior to serving, top your cheesecake with ALL of the cherry topping.
  • Return the cheesecake to the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to chill the cherry topping prior to serving.
  • This cheesecake will keep in the fridge for up to three days.


*if you're using frozen cherries: first thaw the cherries, then strain. Use the reserved juice. 


Calories: 557kcal | Carbohydrates: 76g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 382mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 808IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 65mg | Iron: 2mg