Two layers of intense chocolate flavor, well-balanced, and super creamy! This cheesecake recipe is one to make for a special occasion like St. Patrick's Day, to have frozen at all times (here it's a favorite dessert for dinner parties), or just because you're a baileys fan.
After several failed attempts - too dense, too bland, too sweet - I finally have the creamy chocolate cheesecake with Baileys Irish cream I always wanted.
You might find out that you don't want a regular chocolate cheesecake as much. And if you're in the mood to celebrate St. Patrick's, this is a masterpiece, similar to the Chocolate Guinness Cake that is a twist on the popular devil's food cake recipe and looks like an Irish coffee.
About this cheesecake
- Super creamy - it is dense but soft with a wonderful creamy texture.
- Intensely chocolate - the chocolate flavor is deep but just sweet enough.
- Baileys - the flavor of this wonderful Irish cream liquor shines through without overpowering the whole cake. It took me a while to get here, let me tell you.
- Cream topping - it is an extra layer that adds a lot of balance to the whole cheesecake. Don't skip it.
What is Baileys?
It's an Irish cream liqueur. Thick in consistency and with a color similar to tea with milk (image below, in the glass).
Baileys is a trademark name, but, as it happens many times, it's used as a generic. You can buy it or make a similar version at home (if you're interested check out this recipe for Homemade Irish cream or baileys)
Except for the liqueur, the ingredients are simple.
- Cookies: use chocolate digestive biscuits or wafers, plain ones.
- Unsalted butter.
- Chocolate: semisweet works wonderfully. There are many good brands. My favorites are Ghirardelli and Green & Black's (see Notes in the recipe card for links).
- Baileys: this unique Irish cream liquor should not be substituted, though there are some brands that try to re-create it, they're not the same. Besides, you should change the title, lol.
- Cream cheese: the regular type. I like to use Philadelphia brand cream cheese for all my cheesecakes.
- Sour cream: the regular type.
- Cream: whipping, double or heavy cream, they all work. The last two usually have a higher fat content which makes the cheesecake richer and denser.
- Sugar: white, granulated.
- Eggs: large, fresh.
- Vanilla - I use pure vanilla extract or pure vanilla paste when available, but a good vanilla essence (artificially flavored) also works.
How to make this cheesecake
There are three parts to this incredible chocolate dessert: the cheesecake base, the creamy filling, and the boozy topping.
- Cookie or biscuit base: it's a very simple mix of ground chocolate wafers and butter, that are baked for a small amount of time. This makes the chocolate cookie crust firm enough to hold the filling and to be able to remove it from the springform pan when ready to serve. You won't be able to cover more than ½ to 1 inch and that is fine (image 1).
- Chocolate filling: it is dark and so unctuous (image 2) you might want to eat it with a spoon right from the mixing bowl. It happens. When you pour it into the cake pan it will pass the cookie crust mark and that is fine.
- Topping: the top of the cheesecake will crack in the edges and develop a thin layer during baking (image 3), and, while the cheesecake is still hot, the topping is spread (image 4) before letting it cool completely.
How to achieve a creamy consistency
A creamy cheesecake, isn't that what we all want? Achieving it is not hard but a few details must not be overlooked.
- Baking temperature: I bake it at our usual 350° for about ten minutes at the beginning but then turn down the oven temperature and let it continue to bake slowly. This way there's no need for a water bath which can be pretty annoying.
- Cooling down: the oven is turned off and the cheesecake is left inside with the door closed for another hour. Then it needs to cool down completely to room temperature before you chill it. Why? Because it needs to cool down gradually. She's not friends with sudden changes in temperature.
- Refrigeration: once it's cooled down it goes into the refrigerator, well wrapped. At least 8 hours for best results. I never leave it less than 12 hours, and usually a day or 2. Trust me that it all helps to get that creamiest consistency possible.
I have a recipe for an 8-hour cheesecake. The creaminess is out of this world, unlike anything I ever tasted! That's what slow baking does.
I like to have cheesecakes frozen at all times. It will save you when you need a last-minute dessert or when you need to have the dessert made in advance.
That said, this particular baileys cheesecake recipe is the perfect dessert if you because it's chocolate and it has liquor which makes it sophisticated and different.
- Whole cheesecake: I add a touch of chocolate ganache on top before serving it, and sometimes sprinkle some chocolate shavings or chocolate curls.
- Plated dessert: serve it in slivers with some whipped cream and berries on top.
- Frozen: cut it in squares and serve it straight from the freezer for a semifreddo-like version. Make it as a sheet cake - similar to the Best Baked Cheesecake - if you want to cut squares.
- Dessert table: serve small squares (finger-food style) with coffee alongside shots of Baileys.
- Refrigerator: well wrapped it keeps for 1-2 weeks.
- Freezer: this is my favorite way of storing this baileys chocolate cheesecake (or any one for that matter). Wrap it well, first in plastic and then in aluminum foil. It keeps for a month. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, but remember that it's best served somewhat cold.
- Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
- Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
- Chocolate cookie crust: do not use sandwich cookies(such as oreo cookies) because they create an overly greasy base that doesn't really go with the cheesecake mixture, flavor-wise. I sometimes add a few tablespoons ground cocoa nibs for an even deeper flavor.
- Liqueur: the boozy part works because it's Bailey's Irish cream and it's sweet and not overly strong. It's not a recipe to make with same amount of Irish whiskey or bourbon unless you like a very strong flavor. For that, you can try the phenomenal Hot Chocolate Bourbon Cake, probably my favorite one ever.
- Mini cheesecakes: it's a good idea if you want each person to have it's individual dessert or to freeze in portions. Use small pans with removable bottoms and take into account that you will have to bake cheesecakes for a shorter time.
Related recipes you might like:
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For the cookie base:
- 2 cups (200g) ground chocolate wafers
- ½ cup (110g) unsalted butter, melted
For the cream cheese filling:
- 16oz (450g) regular cream cheese, at room temperature
- 12oz (340g) semisweet chocolate, melted
- ½ cup (100g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30g) brown sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, melted
- ½ cup (120g) double cream, at room temperature
- ½ cup Baileys (Irish cream liqueur)
For the topping:
- ¾ cup (180g) sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons Baileys (Irish cream liqueur)
For the chocolate drizzle:
- ½ oz (15g) semisweet chocolate, melted
- 2-3 tablespoons whipping or heavy cream
For the cookie base:
- Preheat oven at 350°F /180°C.
- Have ready a 9 or 10-inch (24cm) springform cake pan with removable bottom.
- Grind cookies in the food processor until you have fine crumbs.
- Add the melted butter, and mix until the mixture looks like wet sand.
- Or add cookie crumbs to the bowl with the melted butter and mix with a spoon.
- Put this mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. It will only cover about an inch up the sides.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack while making the filling.
- Don't turn the oven off.
For the filling:
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In a large bowl beat cream cheese on low speed until very smooth. You can use an electric mixer or wire whisk. If the cheese is at room temperature, mixing them by hand should not be a problem.
- Gradually add both sugars and beat until well incorporated.
- Add eggs, mixing until incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add melted chocolate and butter and mix.
- Add vanilla, baileys, and cream, stirring to incorporate well.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F, turn the oven down to 280ºF and bake for another 40-45 minutes. (This can vary depending on your oven). At this point, the cheesecake should jiggle quite a lot. Don't be tempted to bake it longer.
- Turn the oven off and, leaving the door closed, let the cheesecake inside for 1 hour. It will keep on baking and firm up with the residual heat.
- Take out of the oven and spread topping covering almost to the edges.
- Cool to room temperature, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. I recommend 1 day of refrigeration for the creamiest consistency.
- Run a small knife around the edges to loosen up any bits that might be stuck, remove the cheesecake from the cake pan, transfer to the serving plate, and drizzle with chocolate ganache.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated, covered in plastic wrap.
For the topping:
- In a bowl mix sour cream and baileys.
- You can add a few drops of vanilla extract if you want to. I normally don't.
For the chocolate drizzle:
- Chop the chocolate and put it in a small bowl.
- Heat cream in the microwave or stovetop.
- Just when it's about to boil, remove and add to the chocolate.
- Whisk until chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. If you want it thinner in consistency add more cream or milk.
- Drizzle over sour cream topping when the cheesecake is cold.
Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!
Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust.
Chocolate cookie crust: do not use sandwich cookies(such as oreo cookies) because they create an overly greasy base that doesn't really go with the cheesecake mixture, flavor-wise. I sometimes add a few tablespoons ground cocoa nibs for an even deeper flavor.
Chocolate: the higher % the less sweet the chocolate. I love this recipe with 60% to 70% dark or semi-sweet chocolate. My 3 favorites are Ghirardelli Premium Chocolate Bar 60%, Green & Black's dark chocolate 70% and Ghirardelli 72% intense dark chocolate.
Variation: if you want to use another liquor (orange or coffee liqueur for example, or even Irish whiskey) use ¾ cup cream and ¼ cup booze of choice for the filling.
Freezing: this is my favorite way of storing cheesecake. Wrap it well, first in plastic and then in aluminum foil. It keeps for a month.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cooling + refrigeration time: 12 hours
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
- Category: Cakes & Cheesecakes
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/10
- Calories: 713
- Sugar: 48.3 g
- Sodium: 297.7 mg
- Fat: 47.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 61.4 g
- Protein: 10.2 g
- Cholesterol: 148.7 mg
Keywords: chocolate baileys cheesecake