Kahlua Cheesecake


During our visit to Peru back in March (which I have yet to share with you all), we met a lovely duo of ladies, a mother and daughter from Seattle, Washington, who both love food as much as I do. Over lunch one day, a discussion of dessert ensued, to my delight.  In particular, the description of a Kahlua Cheesecake caught my attention and remained on my mind after our return. When my birthday rolled around in May, I decided to make this cheesecake in honor of the day (that’s just an excuse to pig out on dessert, to tell you the truth!). I didn’t have the recipe, so I culled together parts of some of my recipes as well as scoured the internet for ideas. Let me tell ya, this is one fun, fancy, and delicious cheesecake!


It is layered with a graham cracker crust, decadent ganache, a thick and dense cheesecake, a topping of sour cream, and finally a drizzle of more ganache. See why it had me dreaming of it for several weeks?


Yes, it takes some time to put this all together, but the result is well worth it! You can break the process down into several days to make it easier: crust and ganache layer one day; cheesecake and sour cream layers another day; and decorating a third day. Again, the final cheesecake more than makes up for all the effort.

Oh, this freezes well, too, and tastes surprisingly refreshing straight from the freezer!


 Kahlua Cheesecake

Printer-Friendly Version

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups finely ground graham crackers  (FYI: 9 graham crackers = 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Ganache Layer over Crust

  • 4 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped (I used Baker’s squares)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Cheesecake Filling with Kahlua Flavoring

  • 2 lbs (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 3-4 tbsp. Kahlua
  • 4 tsp. (up to 3 tbsp for stronger cappuccino flavor) instant espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Sour Cream Topping

  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Ganache Drizzle for Top of Cheesecake

  • 2 oz. bittersweet baking chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • tiny pinch of salt


Graham Cracker Crust:

  1. Either roast pecans in a pan on the stovetop or roast in 350 degree F oven for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. If using whole graham crackers, break them into pieces and place in the bowl of a food processor along with toasted pecans; pulse until very fine crumbs are created. If using the box of graham cracker crumbs (found in baking section of grocery store), then pulse the pecans in a food processor until you have finely ground pecans, followed by adding graham crumbs.
  3. Add cinnamon and pinch of salt; pulse a few times until combined.
  4. With food processor in continuous pulse mode, drizzle melted butter over crumbs, pulsing until combined.
  5. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of 9 or 10-inch nonstick springform pan. Use a tamper or flat-bottomed drinking glass or ramekin to flatten the crust, creating an even layer. Use the back of a spoon to press flat the edges.
  6. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; in the meantime, start making the ganache layer.

Ganache Layer:

  1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat; add chopped chocolate, Kahlua, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until chocolate melts and ganache is thick and smooth.
  3. Pour over bottom of prepared crust. Chill until firm (use freezer for 30 minutes if you are in a hurry).

Cheesecake Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the Kahlua, espresso powder, and vanilla; stir until the powder has dissolved and then set aside.
  3. Using mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add sugar and flour, beating until blended.
  5. Beat in eggs and yolks until smooth.
  6. Stir in whipping cream and Kahlua mixture.
  7. Pour batter over chilled ganache layer.
  8. Place cheesecake pan on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet (to catch any spills); bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees F and bake for 55-60 minutes more. If cheesecake browns too quickly, loosely cover it with foil.

Sour Cream Topping

  1. While cheesecake is baking, blend sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  2. When the cheesecake has completed baking at 225 degrees for the 55-60 minute time period, spread the sour cream mixture over the cheesecake. Increase temperature to 350 degrees F; bake 7 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a cooking rack until completely cooled, about 3 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, still in springform pan.
  4. When ready to drizzle with ganache, carefully release cheesecake from springform pan.

Ganache Drizzle for Top of Cheesecake:

  1. Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a large saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat; add chopped chocolate, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until chocolate melts and ganache is thick and smooth.
  3. Drizzle ganache over top of cheesecake for a final decorative touch. Do this by using a fork dipped in ganache and drizzle over top of cheesecake; or place ganache in piping bag or ziploc bag and snip off a pointed end, then drizzle.
  4. Refrigerate completed cheesecake and allow ganache to cool before serving.
  5. Cheesecake will keep in refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cheesecake also freezes well (whole or in slices); just wrap in plastic wrap then in foil.

SOURCES: cheesecake recipe & ganache from a high school buddy; some ideas adapted from Handle the Heat; and thanks to the inspiration in the first place from Melanie and Sarah

7 thoughts on “Kahlua Cheesecake

  1. Pingback: 2013′s Most Popular Posts | Scrumptious and Sumptuous

  2. I know this recipe is almost a year old, but I was wondering if the temperature change is correct. Lower it to 225? That seems very low. Is it supposed to be 325? I just want to make sure that when I make this, because I am, that I have it right. Thanks!

  3. Definitely use a bigger springform pan than 9″. The cheesecake is being now, but there’s no room for the sour cream topping. I’m sure it’ll taste fine… Maybe we’ll serve it with whipped cream instead!

I love hearing your comments, so please share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s