I have always loved coconut and chocolate together, especially when combined with nuts. Today’s Coconut Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce has a chocolate gluten-free almond meal crust that is so delicious you that it just might make you choose it over traditional graham crackers.
I adore cheesecake, but I really hate baking in a water bath because it is hard to get the container to stay waterproof and my cheesecake crusts always get soggy. I would rather use either a regular solid cake pan or a springform without the water bath. Just don’t try to rush the baking and be sure that your cream cheese is very soft. That way it will be creamy and smooth!
I started with a recipe from the Little Dairy on the Prairie. I made a few changes, switching the traditional graham cracker crust to the almond meal one, and then I added a sweetened sour cream layer on top. The contrast of the sweetened sour cream with the coconut filling was perfect! And just in case the top of your cheesecake cracks as it cools, the sour cream topping covers up any irregularities – no one needs to know it isn’t perfect!
There is cocoa powder in the crust for a pop of chocolate flavor. But to add more chocolate – because you can never get enough – pour a generous amount of hot fudge sauce over the top of each slice. You can buy a jar at the grocery store, but I recommend you make a sauce from scratch from Pastry Chef Online, her Best Hot Fudge Sauce in the World. This is no exaggeration, it is seriously good! Pastry chef extraordinaire and the author of Pastry Chef Online, Jenni Field is truly amazing. If you don’t know about Jenni, she is the most adorable, funny, and sweetest person on the planet! And oh my goodness, this sauce is simply the best!
I hope you love this Coconut Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce as much as The Artist and I do. Happy Chocolate Monday my friends!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
For the creamiest cheesecakes, always use room temperature ingredients, don’t overmix the filling, and be sure to let the cake bake until the center is still a little jiggly – then leave it in the oven with the door propped ajar for a few minutes before letting it cool completely. And the final step, letting it chill thoroughly is critical for the best flavor and texture … overnight is the best, but you can get away with 4 to 6 hours. I know, this is incredibly difficult to wait to dive into this beautiful dessert, but it is worth every moment!!
Using almond flour in place of graham crackers for the crust gives us the most delicious gluten-free crust that is lower in sugar and much higher in protein. Tastier and perfect for many applications, this is one crust you will use for any recipe that call for graham cracker crumbs.
Coconut Cheesecake with Chocolate Sauce (Gluten Free)
Adapted from a recipe by Amy of Little Dairy on the Prairie
Yield: 10 to 14 servings
140g (1-1/4 cups) almond meal/flour
22g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Pinch of kosher or fine sea salt
5 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, pulsed in a food processor until finely ground
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) package Neufchatel cheese (lower fat cream cheese), or another regular cream cheese package
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 tsp coconut extract, optional
Pinch kosher or fine sea salt
3 large eggs
Sour Cream Topping
1-1/2 cups sour cream (do not use non-fat; low fat is fine)
3 to 5 tbsp granulated sugar, to taste
1-1/2 tsp vanilla paste or pure extract
Best Hot Fudge Sauce in the World from Jenni Field or a store-bought thick chocolate sauce, such as Fran’s brand, lightly warmed
Crushed candied almonds, plus some whole nuts for garnish, optional but delicious
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish, optional
Set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325°F.
Prepare the Crust: In a bowl, stir together the almond meal with the brown sugar and salt. Slowly drizzle the melted butter over the almond meal mixture and stir until evenly incorporated and has a sandy texture.
Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan, flattening and compacting it with the bottom of a drinking glass or your fingers. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside while you make the filling.
Make the Filling: In a food processor, process the coconut until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
To the bowl of your standing mixer, add the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, coconut extract if using, and salt. Beat on low just until combined, trying not to add too much air to the mixture. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one just until it is fully incorporated, stopping the mixer and scraping the bowl and beater, before adding the next one. Stir in the finely minced coconut and mix just until evenly distributed in the filling.
Pour the filling slowly into the prepared crust to avoid creating excess air bubbles. Firmly tap the pan on the counter to dislodge excess air bubbles, popping them with a toothpick if needed. Bake at 325°F for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the center is almost set – it will be slightly jiggly in the center.
Make the Topping: In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully pour over the top of the baked cheesecake and return to the oven. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Turn the oven off and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon – this allows some of the heat escape and gives the cheesecake time to gently finish baking all the way to the center. Remove from the oven, turn it off, run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake, and return to the oven. Leave the cake in the oven (with the door propped open) for 1 hour and then set on a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
When cooled, cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil (not letting it touch the top of the cheesecake) and refrigerate for at least 4 to 6 hours to fully set and chill the cake before serving. Chilling overnight is preferable if you have the time. If there is any liquid on the top when you uncover the cake (like I had), just use a little paper towel or paper napkins to absorb it.
Cut the cheesecake into wedges, drizzle the top liberally with the lightly warmed fudge sauce, sprinkle with some of the ground candied almonds, decorate with a few whole candied almonds if desired, and tuck in a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.
(the recipe card plug-in I have installed is not working right now, sorry for the inconvenience.)
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