I could not sleep last night. I have no idea why but it was just one of those insomniac attacks that happen to me occasionally. I tried everything I could think of for over an hour to try to go back to sleep. But then when I finally did fall back asleep I started having weird and eery dreams about big empty rooms, tornadoes, and my ipod dying, so I was like, Forget this! I can lose just as much sleep doing something useful….like testing chocolate cake recipes!
I don’t sleep very much. I think I may actually sleep the least of everyone in our house, but I usually sleep hard, like a rock, and I’m not easily awakened. That’s probably why, when I do wake up, it’s really difficult for me to go back to sleep because my mind starts reeling. The only good side is that I usually come up with my best ideas in the middle of the night.
Most of my homies are pretty much the opposite in that they sleep long and light, so I do have to refrain from doing all the banging of pots and pans I’d like on my craziest inspiration mornings. Everyone has their own sleeping quarks though, and in a big family we all kind of know each other’s. Like, Lela talks in her sleep and sleepwalks all the time. Sometimes it’s even scary because she’s been known to do some dangerous things like trying to jump out of a window or use the stove.
That’s not funny since she could hurt herself, but what is funny is when she says something hilarious and never remembers it. One time she was wandering the house late at night and murmuring something about trying to find her ponytail. Another time, and probably my favorite thing I’ve ever heard her say in her animated sleepy state, was a few years ago when I was sharing a room with her and Jenya in this summer cabin. Get this, she rolls over, groans angrily, and says very clearly “Are you Serial!” instead of serious. To this day we can’t help using it on occasion. So funny.
I’m not sure when or where I got the idea for this cake, probably during a previous instance of sleep deprived eccentricity, but I’ve been wanting to make one of those big, cheesecake-factory-style cheesecake layer cakes for a while. I still fully plan to do one eventually, but I was thinking that with the holidays coming up I should make something a little more realistic for those of you who are looking for the perfect thing to take to your holiday parties. I have to remind myself that normal people don’t make giant cakes on a weekly basis. The basic idea was to make a cheesecake/cake hybrid that only requires one bake time and one pan.
So this cake has been bugging me all week because I couldn’t get it right. I had to make 4 times before I was happy with the result and I know my whole family thinks I’m crazy but I had to get it right. Each time was good but I kept finding things about it that needed adjusted slightly. For example, the cake part on the first one was okay but I had used half butter, half oil, and cut back on both a little. It was still good, (I mean hello, chocolate) but it was a little dry by the end of the whole baking time. I also tried doing more of a swirly situation with that one but it ended up being a cake that wasn’t sure about its life and what it wanted to be. It kind of stayed molten in spots and too done in others.
The second one was better. I went all butter and skipped the swirling, but the center was even more molten than the first. Most everyone in my house loves that, but I know that it’s not everyone’s thing and it wasn’t exactly what I was trying to achieve so I did some more tweaking.
The third try I decided to bake the cake on its own to give it time to cook in the center before pouring on the cheesecake. This worked much better than takes 1 and 2 for doneness factor but that one had too much cake to cheesecake ratio. so I still wasn’t happy.
The fourth one came out evenly baked with the best texture of them all. Although, we all kind of liked the molten center best so I actually did it on purpose for my final try, but you can easily avoid it by erring on the longer side of bake time. I just pulled mine early for a nice little amount of molteness (pictured). I finished it off with a pile of shaved chocolate because, how can you resist that sight?
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temp
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup strong coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa power, plus more for pan
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 ounces semi-sweet dark chocolate, melted
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 C). Grease a 10 inch springform pan with oil very well.
- Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat together until creamed. Add eggs, soda, salt, coffee and vanilla. Add cocoa and mix in slowly, then flour. Beat batter until completely smooth then pour in melted chocolate and, again, beat smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and scrape bowl as well as you can (don't worry if there's a little bit of batter left,it won't hurt anything.) Use a rubber spatula to smooth the batter into a smooth layer. Return bowl to mixer and add softened cream cheese. Beat until completely smooth, no lumps, then add sugar and beat until creamy. Add eggs while running mixer on low and beat well after each. Now add Greek yogurt, cocoa, salt, vanilla, and flour and beat until smooth.
- Pour mixture slowly, and as evenly as you can, over cake batter in pan. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until cake does not jiggle when nudged. (p.s. if you like a slightly molten center you can pull it a few minutes early. It's good either way.) Cool completely, then cover pan with plastic and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.