This is a lemon cheesecake with a chocolate base and a dark chocolate ganache coating:
Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt approximately 1/4 cup butter and combine with approximately 2 cups crushed chocolate wafers and pack the base of a springform pan.
Using either a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a lot of elbow grease, combine 2 packs cream cheese with one cup sugar, a healthy splash of vanilla, approximately 1 teaspoon lemon zest and one tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Add 2 eggs and blend until smooth.
Pour mixture into springform pan and bake for 40 minutes until the cake is firm but jiggly.
While the cake is baking, heat 1 cup whipping cream until boiling (approximately 2 minutes in the microwave) then pour over 1 cup chocolate chips in a bowl. Cover the bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whip extensively starting at the centre of the bowl and expanding outward until the mixture is fully blended. The mixture should be that of a liquid and will continue to thicken as it cools.
After removing the cake from the oven, allow it to cool gradually. I like to keep it on the oven top and permit the cake to cool at the same rate as the oven. If the cake cools too quickly, it will crack. This isn’t fatal, but it’s preferable to avoid it. Once the cake has cooled, spring the pan and ladle the ganache into the centre of the cake until it spills over the edges. Ensure that the sides of the cake are coated completely.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours. Collect leaves or pine beaches and place lightly onto the cake. You can clean the leaves and branches beforehand. Using a small mesh hand sieve, lightly sprinkle icing sugar over the top of the cake. Remove the leaves and branches to reveal their outline. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours and serve chilled.
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