Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake
Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake is a rich, decadent cake with an egg-free, chocolate cheesecake base atop a delicate graham cracker crust. It’s finished off with a sweet, homemade Merlot reduction-the perfect combination of cheese, chocolate and wine!
Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake Ingredients
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to make an amazing Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake:
- Graham crackers (crumbled)
- Butter (or coconut oil)
- Dark chocolate chips
- Organic Valley Neufchatel cheese
- Raw honey
- Merlot (or other dry, red wine)
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Celtic sea salt
- Tapioca starch
Tips for the Perfect Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake
Cheesecake has a reputation of being super difficult to make, but as long as you follow the directions and take your time, you shouldn’t have any issues! I’ve also include a few tips to help make yours a success.
First, allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature so that it mixes smoothly. Also, avoid overmixing the batter.
Baking the cheesecake in a water bath is very helpful in preventing it from caving in. I’ll explain how to do this in the instructions below.
Do not open the oven at all until it is time to take it out. Any rapid temperature/humidity changes can cause it to cave in.
As the cheesecake chills in the refrigerator, avoid covering it to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.
How to Make Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake
Line the bottom and sides of an 8 inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in several layers of aluminum foil, making it as watertight as possible.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Have a deep roasting pan ready and lay a clean dish towel in the bottom.
Graham Cracker Crust
Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake is gluten free aside from the graham cracker crust. If needed, use my gluten-free (and healthier) Date and Oat Crumble Crust instead. To make your own delicious graham crackers, see this post!
Whether using store-bought or homemade, place the graham crackers in a food processor and grind until they are crumbled.
In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and bring to a boil on medium heat. Place the dark chocolate chips in the top part of the boiler. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any steam in the chocolate. If you don’t have a double boiler, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Be sure to heat it in short intervals and stir often to prevent scorching.
When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in two tablespoons of melted butter Allow the mixture to cool for ten minutes. Then, in a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled chocolate mixture, Neufchatel cheese, sugar, honey, cocoa, Merlot, and salt.
Use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to ensure that everything is well combined. Do not overmix. When it is ready, transfer the filling to the springform pan and use a small offset spatula to smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.
Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the cheesecake in the roasting pan on top of the towel and place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. There should be enough water to go halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven, but let the cheesecake rest in the hot oven for another 30 minutes. As I mentioned earlier, do not open the oven at all during this time. Any rapid temperature changes can make the cheesecake crack or cave in.
Remove the entire roasting pan from the oven and leaving the cheesecake in the bath, let it rest for another 45 minutes. When the time is up, remove it from the water and let the cake cool on a cooling rack before placing the refrigerator to set up for at least three to four hours.
While the cheesecake is cooling, make the merlot reduction topping. In a small saucepan, add the sugar and Merlot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat. If you want to thicken the sauce, whisk tapioca starch with a splash of wine and mix it into the reduction. Start with a teaspoon of starch and add more gradually until you reach the desired consistency.
Drizzle the Merlot reduction on individual slices immediately before serving. Avoid spreading it over the entire cake right away to prevent it from getting soggy.
I hope you enjoy this Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake! Be sure to leave a rating below and let me know what you think in the comments. Happy baking!
More Cheesecakes Cheesecakes to Try
- Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
- Chocolate Drizzled Pumpkin Cheesecake
- Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake
- Coffee Glazed Mocha Cheesecake
- Lemon Curd Cheesecake
- Gluten Free Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake
- Gluten-Free Medjool Cheesecake
Dark Chocolate Merlot Cheesecake
- 8 inch springform pan
- Tea towel
- Roasting pan deep
- Food processor
- Double boiler
- Stand mixer
- 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup Irish butter melted
- ½ cup Merlot
- 1 cup sugar
- Tapioca starch optional
- Line the bottom of an 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with melted butter.
- Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in several layers of aluminum foil, making it as watertight as possible.
- Preheat oven to 325°F and place a clean dish towel in the bottom of a deep roasting pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk the cookie crumbs with the melted butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
- Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt one cup of dark chocolate chips on medium-low heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water or steam in the chocolate.
- When the chocolate is smooth, remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the Neufchatel cheese, chocolate mixture, sugar, honey, cocoa, Merlot, and sea salt.
- Turn the mixer to low and mix until all the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often to make sure all the ingredients are being incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Transfer the filling to the springform pan and use a small offset spatula to smooth it out evenly in the pan.
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Place the cheesecake in the roasting pan on top of the towel and place it in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. There should be enough water to go halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven, but let the cheesecake rest in the hot oven for another 30 minutes. Do not open the oven at all during this time!
- Remove the entire roasting pan from the oven and leave the cheesecake in the water bath for another 45 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the cake from the water and let it cool before refrigerating for 3-4 hours.
- In a small saucepan, add the sugar and Merlot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat. If you want to thicken the sauce, whisk some tapioca starch with a splash of Merlot and mix it into the reduction. Start with a teaspoon of starch and add more gradually until you reach the desired consistency.
- Drizzle the sauce over individual slices of cheesecake immediately before serving.