Brace yourselves, cherry lovers. This chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake is just for you. Studded with chopped chocolate-covered cherries on a crisp Oreo crust, this luscious, ultra creamy cheesecake bursts with rich cherry flavor in every bite. You won't find a more decadent cherry cheesecake.
If you've been following along, you know how much I love fresh cherry season. As soon as fresh cherries arrive in my grocery store in May, I grab a bag and start on my first batch of cherry-infused bourbon. For the rest of the summer, you can find me on a patio sipping on cherry bourbon smashes, bourbon cherry limeades and the like. Not a bad life.
While these cocktails are some of my favorite summer sippers, it just wouldn't be cherry season without a show-stopping cherry dessert, and that's where this chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake comes in. With its almost mousse-like texture and hand-dipped chocolate-covered cherries, I can’t think of a more impressive—- and delicious —- way to enjoy fresh, seasonal cherries.
Of course, that's not to say you can't make this cheesecake when cherries aren't in season. We can certainly use frozen cherries during the months our fresh counterparts aren't available. This cherry cheesecake is simply too delicious to only make during the summer months, but we might as well take advantage of this season's fresh cherries while we can.
Let's get organized and gather our ingredients before we bake. Here's everything we need.
- Full-fat cream cheese
- Dark brown sugar
- White sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- Full-fat sour cream
I especially love that this cheesecake uses dark brown sugar and almond extract. The dark brown sugar adds a richness and some warmth while almond extract is such a delicious complement to the cherries. Obviously, the chocolate-covered cherries make this cheesecake special, but the dark brown sugar and almond extract are the two secret ingredients that give this cheesecake complexity and make it over-the-top delicious.
How to Make Chocolate-Covered Cherries
Before we start on the rest of our cheesecake, we want to first make our chocolate-covered cherries to give them time to set.
First, we pit our cherries, chop them into small pieces and spread them over parchment paper. From here, we can start melting our chocolate by zapping it in the microwave with a little butter in short intervals. Once our chocolate is nice and smooth, we pour it over our cherries and mix it together like so.
If you plan to immediately make the rest of the cheesecake, I recommend placing the chocolate-covered cherries in the freezer to quickly set the chocolate. Otherwise, storing in the refrigerator is fine. Here's what our cherries will look like once they set and we chop up the hardened chocolate.
How to Make Oreo Crust for Cheesecake
As our chocolate-covered cherries set, we can start on our Oreo crust. We simply crush our Oreo cookies and mix with a little melted butter. After lining our springform pan with parchment paper, we press the crumb mixture into the pan and bake for 10 minutes.
We then take the crust out of the oven, brush it with an egg white and then bake again for a few minutes. This step is optional, but it creates a barrier to help keep the crust a bit crisper. Now we let the crust cool as we prepare the rest of the cheesecake.
To start our filling, we beat together cream cheese, dark brown sugar and white sugar until fluffy like so.
We want to make sure our cream cheese is at room temperature for this step, so I recommend cutting the cream cheese into chunks and letting it sit out for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour. Otherwise, the cream cheese won't get that fluffy texture if it's too cold.
Now we beat in our extracts, sour cream and salt. Once those combine with the cream cheese mixture, we add our eggs one at a time and then stir in our chocolate-covered cherries.
And just like that, our cheesecake filling is ready. We pour the cheesecake filling into our Oreo crust, prepare a water bath and bake at two temperatures. First, we place our cheesecake into a 350-degree oven, and then we immediately turn the oven to 250 degrees and bake for an hour and a half. That low temperature ensures our cheesecake doesn't overbake.
After baking, we let the cheesecake sit in the oven for three hours before opening the door to finish setting. Yes, this takes time, but this method results in the creamiest, dreamiest cheesecake of your life. Worth it.
How to Prevent Leaks in Cheesecake
The typical advice is to double wrap the springform pan with foil before placing in a water bath, but this has never worked for me. I always ended up with leaks and a soggy crust. No good.
Instead, I'd put hot water in a pan on the rack below the cheesecake. This method worked well, but I've been determined to find a way to bake my cheesecakes in water baths without leakage. As I was searching for tips, I recently stumbled upon this idea for preventing leaks in cheesecake from Life, Love and Sugar, and it's brilliant.
Before wrapping the springform pan in foil, you cover it with an oven bag. Genius! Life, Love and Sugar also recommends placing it in a large cake pan for extra insurance. I don't have a cake pan large enough, but it wasn't necessary. The oven bag was enough to keep out leaks.
And just look at that beautiful top --- creamy white with not a single crack. Swoon! I'm so in love with this method.
When chocolate desserts are involved, imperial stouts are my favorite beer pairing, and that's no different here. Specifically, I love a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with this chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake. The bourbon presence is a classic flavor pairing with the cherries, and oak barrel adds some vanilla and coconut notes that are the perfect complements to this creamy cheesecake.
Like the imperial stout, I love a ruby port with chocolate desserts when I'm in the mood for wine, and it's great with this chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake. Ruby ports are younger wines, so we get lots of berry notes that match beautifully with the cherry and chocolate.
Love a cocktail with your cheesecake? This tequila sour makes for a delicious pairing. For this cocktail, we use añejo tequila, which spends one to three years aging in barrels to give it wonderful caramel, vanilla and spice notes that are great with the cherries. Plus, chocolate and añejo are a classic pairing, and you'll love the tangy cheesecake with the fresh lemon juice in the cocktail.
For those times when a rich, indulgent dessert calls, I hope you try this chocolate-covered cherry cheesecake.
Love This Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cheesecake?
- Frozen chocolate-cherry mousse pie
- Chocolate-cherry cream
- Mixed berry-custard pie
- Raspberry mojito no-bake mini pies
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Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cheesecake
- 9-inch springform pan
- Stand or hand mixer
- Parchment paper
- Oven bag
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Roasting pan
- 24 Oreos crushed
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 egg white lightly beaten, optional
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cheesecake
- 1 ¼ cups 1 ¼ cups cherries pitted, stemmed and chopped (see note)
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 (8-ounce) full-fat cream cheese blocks softened (see note)
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 8 ounces sour cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs room temperature
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Topping (Optional)
- 20 whole fresh cherries
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Whipped cream
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom and side of the pan and press to adhere.
- Stir together the crushed Oreos and butter in a bowl until the mixture is evenly moist. Press the crumbs into the parchment paper-lined springform pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to compress the crumbs. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Brush the crust with the beaten egg white and bake for another three to fives minutes. This step is optional, but it helps the crust stay crisp.
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Cheesecake
- In a bowl, microwave the 8 ounces of semisweet chocolate with butter in 15-second intervals and stir. Repeat the process until the chocolate melts and smooths out.
- On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out chopped cherries. Pour melted chocolate all over and mix to coat. If immediately making the cheesecake, place in the freezer to quickly set, but if making the chocolate-covered cherries ahead of time, place in the refrigerator. We don't want the cherries to freeze. We're just going for set chocolate here.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Tightly wrap the outside of the springform pan with an oven bag and tie on the side if possible. Then, tightly wrap the outside with two layers of aluminum foil, making sure the foil goes all the way up the side for extra insurance.
- To make the cheesecake filling, combine the softened cream cheese, dark brown sugar and white sugar in the large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat on medium speed until smooth, creamy and fluffy, about two to three minutes. As needed, scrape down the side of the bowl with a spatula.
- Beat in the sour cream, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt until it all comes together. Don’t overmix.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time at medium speed. Mix just until the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- Peel the set chocolate-covered cherries off the parchment paper and place on a cutting board. Use a knife to break up the set chocolate-covered cherries into small pieces. Add all the pieces to the cheesecake filling and gently stir to combine.
- Place the wrapped springform pan into a large roasting pan. Fill with enough boiling water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Don't pour water past the foil. Alternatively, you can place a pan of boiling water on the rack below the cheesecake. I recommend this method if you don't have an oven bag and are worried about leakage.
- Place the cheesecake on the middle rack, close the oven door and immediately turn the oven to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- After the hour and 30 minutes, turn off the oven completely. Do not open the oven door. Let the cheesecake sit for 3 hours. Do not open the oven door at this point either.
- Remove the cheesecake and allow to come to room temperature, about an hour or so. Place in the refrigerator uncovered with the springform pan intact. Do not cover at this point or condensation will build up. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least four hours, before covering. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least another four hours or overnight, which is preferred.
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Topping (Optional)
- If you'd like to garnish with a chocolate drizzle and chocolate-covered cherries, melt the chocolate and butter like you did earlier. Pour a couple tablespoons of the melted chocolate in a squeeze bottle and drizzle. Use the remaining chocolate to dip the cherries and allow to set. Place on tufts of whipped cream.
- When ready to serve, remove the springform pan. The parchment paper should make it easy to remove. Enjoy!
- While I provided the steps for the Oreo crust first for easy reading, you might want to start on the chocolate-covered cherries first to give them time to set and then go back to the crust.
- Alternatively, the crust can be made two or three days ahead of time. Allow to cool and then store covered until ready to use.
- Fresh or frozen cherries work. If using frozen, thaw and pat off excess moisture to ensure the chocolate will stick.
- For a more detailed tutorial on wrapping the springform pan with an oven bag and foil, see this article from Life, Love and Sugar.
- To most effectively soften the cream cheese, cut the blocks into bite-size pieces and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour until soft. This is important to make sure it reaches the right consistency when beaten.
- For the water bath, I find it easiest to boil water on the stove in a tea kettle.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.