Sunday, January 9, 2011

{low-carb} chocolate mocha cheesecake

A weekend spent in DC is quite a weekend indeed. I was at Chelsea's for the past few days, along with Matt. DC itself was tons of fun [Courage the Cowardly Dog marathons, Slug Wars, seeing Liz and Olivia, delicious food], but life itself has been a littttttle hectic these days. Car troubles, class scheduling, job and internship hunting, and study abroad planning have got me a bit stressed, to say the least.

Luckily, being in DC was not only good to calm down a bit, but stress therapy via baking with Chelsea was one of the best things I could have done this weekend. Specifically, low carb chocolate mocha cheesecake. The biggest downside about this was that I didn't have my DSLR with me, so photos are courtesy of my phone camera.

LC Chocolate Mocha Cheesecake
Recipe adapted from Your Lighter Side

For the crust, you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts
  • 1/2 cup crushed almonds
  • 2 tbsp erythritol
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted

For the ganache layer, you'll need:
  • 2 oz Lindt 85% dark chocolate [approximately half the bar, or 4.5 squares]
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp erythritol

For the filling, you'll need:
  • 4 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • scant 1/2 cup erythritol
  • 3/4 cup xylitol or baking Splenda
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3.5 oz Lindt 85% dark chocolate [standard bar size]
  • 4 tbsp cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 2 tbsp brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

To prepare crust, combine crushed nuts in a bowl. Mix in erythritol. Pour melted butter over nuts and mix until incorporated. Pour nuts into the bottom of the springform pan and spread evenly. Set aside.

To prepare ganache layer, in a medium saucepan melt butter and chocolate. Once smooth, slowly pour in heavy cream and mix until there are no lumps yet. Sprinkle erythritol and cocoa powder over top and stir until smooth. Remove pan from heat and let chocolate cool, about 5 minutes. Once cooled, pour ganache on top of crust and spread evenly.

To prepare filling, beat cream cheese with erythritol and xylitol/Splenda on medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add in sour cream and vanilla and beat until just combined. Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, melt butter and chocolate. Slowly pour in heavy cream, coffee extract, and brewed coffee. Mix until smooth. Let cool, 3-4 minutes, before slowly pouring chocolate mixture into the cream cheese mixture, while beating on medium-low speed. Beat until chocolate is fully incorporated into the batter. Pour cheesecake filling into saucepan slowly, as not to disturb the ganache layer. Bake for 75-90 minutes. Let cheesecake cool to room temperature, then, while still in the springform pan, refrigerate for at least 4 hours before unhinging sides and serving.

Total carbs per slice [1/8 of cheesecake]: approximately 6 net carbs.

The original crust recipe calls for macadamia nuts,which we didn't have on hand. So we kind of arbitrarily picked a combination of nuts we felt would taste good. Really, it's up to you what kind of nuts you'd like for the crust, as long as the ratios stay the same. Also, I'm sure the crust would be just as delicious with real sugar in place of the artificial, if LC isn't your thing. Just pour whatever favorite cheesecake filling you want on top, and voila.

The ganache layer is totally optional in this cheesecake; Chelsea and I added it on a whim, more or less. Plus, it was adding hardly any more carbs to the overall cake. [And it was damn good]. Not to mention the dark little 'fudge' ribbon on top of the crust looked very pretty when the cake was cut.

The filling itself is exquisite. It hardly tastes low carb at all, since the artificial sugar leaves virtually no aftertaste. That was always the problem I had with low carb desserts; the absolutely terrible Splenda aftertaste. I think the answer is the erythritol, which is much milder on the palate than Splenda alone. Or maybe it's the combination of the two? Either way, this works. Another note on the filling: eliminating the chocolate addition [so, filling recipe minus heavy cream, butter, chocolate, and coffee] is the perfect low-carb, traditional cheesecake filling. I think Mrs. Sparta actually preferred the filling pre-mocha flavor.

I was afraid this dessert would fail in comparison to Mrs. Sparta's fantastic LC baking, but it was actually extremely delicious. To all of our surprises, I think. What's even better is that none of us missed the sugar.

I would take a slice of full-carb cheesecake over LC any day, mind you, but for the time being, this is more than acceptable.


  1. Thank you for this recipe. I just started eating low carb a month ago. My birthday was this week and my daughter made this for me plus another one where she used sugar instead. It was delicious.

    We noticed you mentioned cocoa powder in the ingredient list but not in the directions. We also wondered if you meant to use 3.5 oz of Lindt chocolate as that is the size of an entire bar, whereas you have to do figure out an additional half ounce from a 3.5 ounce bar to get the total of 4 ounces.

    Also, when I used the recipe calculator at it came up with about 10 net carbs, not 6 net carbs. Of course it could all depend on what nutrition database they use.

    I cut up the remaining low carb cheesecake into slices and froze them individually so I will have my own dessert when the next birthday comes around.

  2. Hi Kathy! Thanks for pointing out the issue with the cocoa powder; I'll be sure to fix that ;)
    I added the cocoa powder in to the heavy cream mixture alongside the erythritol. I can't imagine the timing would be an issue, but it'll dissolve most easily once the heavy cream is already warm and smooth.

    And you are totally right about the chocolate bar. I think it's because I approximated half the bar to mean 2 oz, and just decided to double it when talking about a full bar. But yes, 3.5 oz of chocolate is what I actually used.

    Net carbs I guestimated based on what I roughly know to be the carb counts of the nuts, erythritol, chocolate, etc. I didn't use an actual counter. But I also find that counters differ quite a bit with carb counts (hard to make it accurate, as the FDA usually decrees whatever is left after calculating fat and protein as 'carbohydrates,' so there is no scientific way of measuring exactly how many carbs are in something [to my knowledge, at least]). I'm also not counting too too heavily, so I wasn't as concerned about being a few carbs off (even at 10g, I'm ecstatic, since normal cheesecakes can go up into the hundreds). But if you're being stricter, which I do from time to time as well, then definitely better to overestimate than underestimate.

    I'm glad the cheesecake turned out well!!! Please let me know if you've got any more questions, and sorry for the late response! Happy baking :)

  3. I agree that nutrition calculation is an imprecise science, especially when measuring by volume instead of weight. I am being strict with carbs because I am just starting out on Atkins and have a fair amount of weight to lose. I agree that even 10 net carbs is pretty good for a dessert.

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  61. I made this today with a few changes. Used Stevia as the sweetner and halved all the cheesecake batter ingredients. Used instant coffee instead of extract and normal double cream in place of sour cream. Also used a mix of brazil, macadamia and almonds for base and grass fed butter. Not sure how this affects the over all nutrition but still very low carb.


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