These mini cheesecakes with chocolate ganache make for the ultimate chocolate treat for the chocolate lover in your life. Easy cheesecake cupcakes with Oreo crumb base, baked vanilla cheesecake layer and rich chocolate ganache topping - what's not to love!?
My husband is a chocoholic. It's handy, since it means he rarely has an upper limit for taste testing chocolate-based creations! With the influx of chocolate over the holidays, I tend to look for ways to incorporate it in baking. This particular recipe for chocolate ganache cheesecake cupcakes is handy for using up some chocolate and any mini eggs you may have spare from Easter.
For these mini cheesecakes, your ingredients can be split into three parts:
1. Oreo Cheesecake Base
The Oreo crust is an incredibly easy two ingredient recipe. All you'll need is:
- Classic Standard Stuffed Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies - technically you could use any type or flavour of Oreo in this recipe. The process would be the same (though the amount of butter may vary dependent on if you use double stuffed). But, the flavour of the Oreo will impact the flavour of your overall ganache cheesecake cup.
- Butter - unsalted butter, melted.
You won't need any sugar or other additions. For a step-by-step guide to making an Oreo crust, see my recipe available here.
2. Vanilla Cheesecake Layer
This is a thin layer of tangy cheesecake to give this decadent ganache cupcake dessert a bit of a bite and to cut the richness of the chocolate. All you'll need is:
- Cream cheese - I use Philadelphia spreadable cream cheese. In the UK, you cannot readily find blocks of cream cheese in the style of the cream cheese American recipes tend to use in baking. All of my recipes, therefore, use spreadable cream cheese. For more detail see my Cream Cheese Frosting with Spreadable Cream Cheese.
- Sugar - either superfine granulated or caster sugar.
- Egg yolk
- Vanilla extract
3. Chocolate Ganache Topping
The star of the show for these mini cheesecakes! The ultimate ganache topping. All you will need to top cheesecake with chocolate ganache is:
- Heavy cream - also known as double cream in some locations.
- Chocolate - you can use either chocolate chips or chop solid chocolate. I recommend using a good quality dark chocolate such as Guittard's, but you can use any chocolate you have available (this is a great recipe for using up leftover Easter chocolate or leftover Valentine's chocolate).
Chocolate Ganache for Cheesecake
Ganache is simply a mixture of cream and chocolate. If you are working with weight measurements, it is equal weights of the two. My recipe below relies on cup measures for the ease of recreating if you don't have scales easily accessible. I discuss the value of cups versus scales in a separate post - when it comes to baking the important thing is always ratio, no matter what measurement system you're using!
Key Tips for Making Ganache Topping
To help you make the perfect ganache, there are a couple of key tips:
- Finely chop the chocolate or use small chips. The smaller the better for smooth quick melting.
- Heat the cream over a medium-low heat until simmering - you don't want this to boil because it may curdle or form a skin.
- Allow to simmer for 2 minutes - you want to ensure that the cream is thoroughly heated through to ensure easiest melting of chocolate.
- Pour the warm cream over the finely chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl and allow to sit undisturbed for 2 minutes. This time allows the chocolate to warm and it will be easier to stir smooth.
Despite it being a pretty basic recipe, a lot can go wrong with ganache.
- If you don't have enough milk or it is not warm enough, it may not melt your chocolate thoroughly enough to be smooth.
- If you haven't chopped the chocolate fine enough this may also lead to a lumpy ganache.
- The chocolate may seize or separate.
I've had all of these things happen to me on many occasions! The main trouble-shooting tactic is patience. If you find that you're unable to smooth out the chocolate when stirring (for whatever reason), there are 2 options for saving the the ganache:
1. Microwave Method
The quickest and easiest method for saving a lumpy ganache is the microwave.
Assuming the bowl you are mixing the ganache in is microwave safe, place this in the microwave for a short burst of 5 seconds. Stir again and repeat until it is smooth.
2. Double Boiler Method
If, like me, you don't have a microwave, there is also a stovetop ganache save. For this method, you will need to use a double boiler process.
As the bowl you've mixed the ganache in is heatproof, fit this overtop of a saucepan. For this to work, you are looking for the bowl to sit over a pan snuggly. It should form a seal with the lip of the pan, so that the base of the bowl dips into the pan only by an inch or so (staying well above the actual bottom of the pan).
Add some hot water to the pan, careful to ensure that when the bowl is placed over this that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and that no water gets into the chocolate itself. Sit the pan over a medium low heat so that the water simmers. This will gently warm the bowl with indirect heat and encourage any lumpy chocolate to melt.
Separated ganache may result from over heated cream or over mixing the chocolate. The best thing to do in the short term is to set it aside to cool a bit before trying to mix thoroughly and bring it back together.
If the mixture won't come together, rewarm this using the double boiler method above, and whisk thoroughly.
Sometimes this will still fail to bring the mixture back together, but adding a drop of liquid, such as room temperature milk or a liquor can help. There are a few additions to avoid:
- Don't add anything cold as the temperature shock will cause the mixture to seize.
- Avoid adding cream as this will be adding more fat to the separated ganache and is likely to result in more separation.
- Never add water to chocolate!
Topping for Ganache Cheesecake Cupcakes
These chocolate ganache cheesecake cups are decadent and delicious on their own, but they're also a great opportunity for a small decorative flourish. Some suggestions for additional toppings:
- Cadbury's Mini Eggs - for an Easter treat.
- Mini chocolate bars
- Ferrero Rocher
- Chopped nuts
- Dessicated coconut
Yes, these mini cheesecakes with chocolate ganache can be frozen. First allow them to cool until the ganache layer is set. Then wrap or place in freezer safe ziploc bags and store in the freezer for up to three months.
These cupcakes last fairly well for about 3 or 4 days. For best results, refrigerate, but when working with ganache on cheesecake, the cold will solidify this a bit more firmly than is desired. Allow to sit out of the fridge for about 15 minutes before serving to allow for the ganache to soften a bit.
Absolutely! Hopefully this has demonstrated how easily ganache can be added to a baked cheesecake. As a topping, simply spread it on and enjoy the decadent addition.
The beauty of a classic cheesecake is that the options for flavours, mixing and matching and trying new toppings is pretty much endless! For these mini cheesecakes with an Oreo base, I've made a dark chocolate ganache, but you can as easily opt for a milk chocolate, white chocolate or even try a rose chocolate ganache.
If using this recipe, but substituting the type of chocolate, be aware that the consistency will be impacted by the cocoa solids. This means that white chocolate, in particular, requires less cream to become a smooth ganache. Milk chocolate will react similar to the dark chocolate (though may be quicker to melt). I have not tried this with rose chocolate so cannot comment on expected changes.
If you like these, check out some other cheesecake inspiration:
- Baileys Irish Cream Cheesecake with Ganache
- No Bake Chocolate S'mores Cheesecake
- Biscoff Cookie Butter Cheesecake
Mini Cheesecakes with Chocolate Ganache
- 12 hole standard sized cupcake pan
Ingredients for Base
- 28 standard stuffed Oreos crushed in a food processor
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
Ingredients for Cheesecake Layer
- 8 oz cream cheese spreadable version or softened block
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Ingredients for Ganache
- ¾ cup heavy cream or double cream
- 1⅓ cup dark chocolate chips or finely chopped
Ingredients for Topping (Optional)
- Cadbury's Mini Eggs, Ferrero Rocher, chopped nuts, sprinkles or other candies
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175C/160C Fan) and line a 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake cases.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the crushed Oreos and melted butter. Spoon this out evenly into the prepared cases and press down with the back of a spoon or your fingers.
- In a medium bowl, add your cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla, whisking together until smooth. Spoon this into a layer over the prepared Oreo bases and place in the centre of the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the ganache.
- Add your chopped chocolate to a medium, heat proof bowl. In a saucepan, heat the cream to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 2 minutes, but avoid bringing to a boil. Then pour this over your chopped chocolate and let sit for another 2 minutes before stirring. Stir until smooth and then spoon equally over your cupcakes. Let set for a few minutes to begin setting.
- Top each with a mini egg and chill until ready to serve.