This Kahlua cheesecake is the perfect grown up dessert. It’s incredibly creamy with a delicious coffee liqueur flavor that’s not too overpowering and pairs perfectly with the decadence of the cheesecake. An Oreo cookie crust and spiked chocolate ganache topping really take this to the next level.
Kahlua Cheesecake – The Perfect Adult Dessert
I think a boozy cheesecake is the perfect grown-up dessert for the holidays (hello there New Year’s Eve) or a dinner party. Last year I made a Baileys cheesecake that ended up being my favorite recipe of the entire Christmas season. So this year, I decided to continue the trend with this Kahlua cheesecake. The creaminess of the cheesecake cuts the bitterness of alcohol and coffee perfectly in a way that almost reminds me of a deliciously milky coffee. Then the Oreo crust and chocolate ganache add the perfect amount of chocolate to really take this recipe to the next level.
It’s decadent without being overly sweet or overly alcoholic. It’s reminiscent of having a spiced coffee over the holidays, but in deliciously creamy cheesecake form.
Cheesecake Tips & Tricks
- I do not recommend making any substitutions in this recipe. Using the ingredients as stated will give the most accurate results. Afterall, cheesecake ingredients are expensive – so you don’t want to make a substitution and end up with a baking fail.
- With any cheesecake recipe, it’s imperative that the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs are at room temperature before getting started. This ensures that everything mixes together evenly and is lump free, without having to overmix the batter. Overmixing can lead to the cheesecake cracking.
- The amount of Kahlua used is a little bit up to you and how strong of a flavor you’d like. I recommend using 4-5 tablespoons, which is equivalent to ¼ cup to ¼ cup plus 1 extra tablespoon. I always add the Kahlua before the eggs and go slowly. That way I can taste test the flavor to see if I need to add any more, without having to eat raw eggs.
- This cheesecake is baked in a water bath. The water bath has a few main purposes: it keeps moisture in the cheesecake to create the creamiest texture, and minimizes swings in temperature that can cause the cheesecake to crack. To make the waterbath:
- Before making the crust, wrap the bottom and sides of the springform pan with tin foil. You want to wrap the pan 4-5 times so that all the seems are covered at least once.
- After making the crust and filling, the wrapped pan is placed inside a large roasting pan.
- Pour hot water into the roasting pan so that there’s about ½ to 1 inch (about 2 cm) of water in the roasting pan.
- The roasting pan with the cheesecake inside is then placed in the oven to bake.
- The cheesecake will need to cool fully, then chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving. This is necessary for the cheesecake to set. It also makes the it taste even better because the flavors start to really fuse together. Therefore, I recommend making the cheesecake the day before you plan to serve it and chilling it in the fridge overnight.
- For the chocolate ganache topping, you can substitute the Kahlua with more cream if you don’t want to add in any more alcohol. As written in the recipe, I find the chocolate ganache has just a slight hint of Kahlua, but it definitely isn’t too strong.
And if you’re looking for more grown-up desserts, then be sure to try:
- 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan
- large roasting pan (big enough for the springform pan to fit inside)
- 26 Oreo cookies wafers and filling, about 2 cups crushed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
Kahlua Cheesecake Filling
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
- ¼ cup Kahlua you may want 1-2 extra tablespoons
- 24 ounces brick-style cream cheese
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup sour cream full fat
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks in addition to the 3 whole eggs, discard the whites
- hot water for the waterbath
- 6 ounces dark chocolate 50-70%, or semi-sweet works too
- 3 tablespoons whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons Kahlua or substitute for 3 tablespoons of whipping cream, so you'd use 6 tablespoons in total
- Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) or 325F (170C) on a convection oven (some oven s do this adjustment automatically).
- Wrap the outside of a 9-inch (23-cm) round springform pan with aluminum foil. Wrap it at least 3-4 times so that the bottom and sides are covered, and all the seems are covered at least once. Fold the foil just around the edges so that it stays in place, but isn't covering the inside of the pan (see photo in the post).
- Crush the cookies (wafers and filling) until fine crumbs. This can be done in a food processor or by placing the cookies in a freezer bag and bashing with a rolling pin.
- Mix the crushed cookies with the melted butter.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, creating a slight lip around the edges of the pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Keep the oven turned on and the pan wrapped in foil.
- Whisk together the instant coffee powder and Kahlua in a small bowl or measuring cup to help dissolve the coffee powder.
- In a very large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Occasionally turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure there are no lumps.
- Beat in the sour cream until smooth.
- With the mixer on a very low speed, beat the Kahlua and coffee mixture into the cream cheese mixture. At this point, you can give the batter a small taste test. If you feel the Kahlua flavor isn't quite strong enough for you, optionally mix in 1-2 extra tablespoons of Kahlua.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs and 2 additional egg yolks. Then beat the eggs into the cream cheese mixture in about 2-3 additions, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Stop mixing as soon as you no longer see pieces of eggs.
Baking and Cooling the Cheesecake
- Place the springform pan (still wrapped in foil and with the baked crust inside) in the middle of a large roasting pan.
- Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan and smooth the top.
- Pour hot water into the roasting pan until there's about ½-1 inch (2-3 cm) of water in the roasting pan.
- Place the roasting pan in the oven on a rack about ⅓ from the bottom. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until when give the pan a gentle nudge the cheesecake has a wobble similar to a bowl of pudding or jelly, but not like a glass of milk.
- Remove the pan from the oven. Cool the cheesecake in the roasting pan until the water is room temperature. Then remove the springform pan from the roasting pan and place on a wire rack to cool until the pan is no longer warm to the touch (do not unclamp the pan).
- Wrap the top of the pan with foil or plastic and place in the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Chocolate Ganache & Serving
- Chop the chocolate into very fine pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.
- Add the cream and Kahlua to a liquid measuring cup and heat in the microwave until almost boiling (this could also be done in a double boiler).
- Pour the hot cream and Kahlua mixture over the chopped chocolate. Let sit for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. If there are still lumps of chocolate, microwave for 30 seconds on medium power (not high power, which is often the default) and whisk until smooth.
- Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Remove the foil. Gently trace around the outside of the cheesecake with a thin knife and unclamp the outer ring of the springform pan. If there is condensation on top of the cheesecake, gently blot it off with a paper towel.
- Pour the chocolate ganache over the top and spread into a smooth layer. It's totally ok if it drips over the sides.
- Return to the fridge until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, slice with a thin, sharp knife (do not use a table knife). Be sure to slice all the way through the Oreo crust. For clean cuts, wipe off the knife in between each slice.
- Pan Sizes: There is too much batter to use an 8-inch (20 cm) round springform pan for this recipe. A 10-inch (25 cm) pan will work, but the cheesecake will be thinner. The bake time would be closer to 40-50 minutes.
- Cream Cheese: Be sure to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Do not use anything labeled low fat, low calorie, whipped or spreadable.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: The cream cheese, sour cream and eggs must all be at room temperature before getting started to ensure there are no lumps in the batter without having to overmix.
- Make Ahead Tips: Because the cheesecake needs to chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours, I recommend making it the day before you plan to serve. Then make the ganache at any point in the day when you plan to serve it and place back in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Alternatively, you can make the ganache right before serving, pour it into a gravy boat and allow each guest to pour a little onto their own slice.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 slice with ganache, assuming the recipe yields 14 uniform pieces.