Black and White Cheesecake


This recipe comes from Mary Engelbreit and was originally a chocolate-amaretto cheesecake.  To avoid anything almond related, for my friends with nut allergies, I turned it into a chocolate-vanilla cheesecake.  For a gluten-free crust, you’ll need to make your own chocolate wafer cookies, but luckily this is not difficult!  I’d recommend baking them in advance, though.


Black and White Cheesecake
Adapted from Mary Engelbreit

Yield: 9-inch cake

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 oz chocolate wafers, crushed
  • 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
  • a little under 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan in aluminum foil so that the foil comes halfway up the side.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and chocolate wafer crumbs.  Gently press mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes if gluten free, 10 minutes if not.
  4. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool.  Leave the oven on.
  5. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  6. Scrape down side of bowl, add sugar, and beat until well blended.
  7. Scrape down side of bowl again and add eggs one at a time, beating until blended.
  8. Beat in vanilla and salt.
  9. Transfer half of the mixture to a medium bowl.
  10. If using amaretto and almond extract, add them to one bowl now.  Beat until combined.
  11. Beat semisweet chocolate into the other bowl, then pour into pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  12. Slowly pour the white layer on top of the chocolate layer, smoothing the top with a clean spatula.
  13. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until almost set.  The center will still be jiggly when you shake the pan.
  14. Turn off the oven and prop the door open with a wooden spoon.  Let the cheesecake sit there for 1 hour.
  15. Remove cheesecake from oven and run knife around the pan edge to loosen it.
  16. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (although if you’re impatient, you can also eat it the same day).
  17. Cut cake with a large knife dipped in hot water and wiped clean between each slice.

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