½tspcoarse Kosher salt(if using table salt, use half the amount)
1tspinstant espresso powder or instant coffee
2tbspKahlua, coffee liqueur, or strong brewed coffee
1lbcream cheese,softened to room temperature
1tspvanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1cupcold heavy whipping cream,divided
1envelope (1/4 oz)unflavored powdered gelatin
Preheat the oven to 350 F. You’ll need an 8-inch spring-form pan (with removable bottom), with 3 inch high sides. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper, and lightly spray the paper with non-stick spray.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.Separately, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour cream, vegetable oil, vanilla and espresso powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake on the center rack for about 35-38 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean, or with moist crumbs clinging to it. Set the pan on a cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, run a sharp knife around the edges, loosen the sides of the pan, and remove the sides, but keep the cake sitting on the base of the pan. Use a knife to level the top of the cake, just slicing off a very thin layer to expose the cake, then attach the sides of the pan to the base again, so that the cake is once again inside the pan. Brush the cake with the Kahlua, then set aside while you make the cheesecake.
With an electric mixer (stand mixer preferred, or handheld is fine), beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until thick and smooth.
Meanwhile, measure 1/2 cup of the cream into a microwave-safe dish, and stir in the gelatin. Let stand for several minutes, then microwave on high for about 45-60 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. Stir well to combine. If any lumps of undissolved gelatin remain, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lumps.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup cold heavy whipping cream to the cream cheese mixture, and beat for several minutes until thick, scraping the bowl down several times. Beat in the hot cream/gelatin mixture, beating until smooth.
Immediately spread the cheesecake filling over the chocolate cake, spreading it out to the edges of the pan and smoothing out the top.
Refrigerate (uncovered) for about 4-6 hours, or overnight, until the cheesecake is set.
Before serving, use a sharp knife and gently run it around the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake, then carefully remove the sides of the pan. You can set the cake, still on the base, on a cake pedestal, but use a non-slip pad underneath the base so it doesn’t slip off your cake pedestal. Or you can carefully slide a large cake lifter between the base of the pan and the parchment paper to remove the cake from the base, and set it on your cake pedestal.
If you like, garnish the top of the cheesecake with a cocoa powder stencil.
The cake should be served chilled, and leftovers stored in a cake carrier, in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
Keyword Black and White, Chocolate Cake, No Bake, Vanilla Cheesecake