Coffee Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake

Mike’s coming over in a bit to take me to dinner. Today is our anniversary! We’ve spent eleven wonderful years becoming better best friends every day. Since we don’t exchange gifts on our anniversary (too many birthdays in close vicinity — mine was this past Tuesday!), I wanted to do something else special. How about make a ridiculously indulgent, mind-blowing dessert? And maybe a special post dedicated to him? Perfect.

Why do I love Mike? Here are just a few reasons:

1. Sometimes I’ll come home from an errand and find that he’s cleaned my apartment. Without being asked. Just because he thought I’d like it. Do you even need any more reasons?

2. He’s a mathematical genius, meaning he blows my mind on a regular basis with fancy subjects like algebraic topology or complex analysis. What happened to arithmetic?

3. Every Easter Mike’s grandparents hold an Easter egg hunt. One year Mike noticed how much fun I was having. He went out and bought plastic eggs, put a sweet message inside each one, and hid them around my apartment. I found eggs for months in places like my bathroom closet, my bookshelf, and my desk drawers. Byrd found one under the bed, thinking it was a ball! I saved all the messages — you can see them in some of these photos. Can you read them?

4. When he’s at my apartment in the evening, he takes Byrd outside for me.

5. We love the same food: Thai, Indian, Jamaican, Italian, Mexican, Japanese . . . and dessert.

6. He’s watched countless episodes of Top Chef, Extreme Home Makeover, House Hunters, Undercover Boss — even Toddlers and Tiaras! — with me, despite hating every single one of those shows.

7. We’ve been watching Star Trek together for years and both love it. He’s a closet Trekkie. He will deny this fact.

8. When Byrd threw up all day, he cleaned up all the carpet messes. That night I took her to the emergency vet, and he drove to the vet’s office to sit with me at 2 a.m.

9. He eats every single thing I make with gratitude and supports me while I pursue my passion.

10. He is determined. He went back to college after dropping out, graduated magna cum laude in only 3 years, and is now off to get his Ph.D. at NC State — Go Wolfpack!

11. We have similar tolerance levels for being out in public. We like to do things like the Southern Christmas Show here in Charlotte, but we do them strategically: get in, get the good food, buy a few gifts, leave immediately! We’re both more comfortable hanging out at my apartment than being out and about.

12. He calls me Little One. Or Frog.

13. One Valentine’s Day in college, I came back to my dorm to find roses, new shoes, a new shirt, and a note on my computer from Mike saying he wanted to surprise me. They were cute shoes, too!

14. He introduced me to Top Chef by buying me the first season as a gift. Recently, he introduced me to America’s Test Kitchen in the same way. I’m baking him dishes from the shows to demonstrate my gratitude.

15. He’s strong. Every now and then after a hard day, you just want to be picked up and rocked like a baby. He’s got me covered!

16. He loves his family. You know how they say you can tell a lot about a man by how he treats his mom? Well, Mike not only adores his mom, but all of his relatives. He would do anything for them.

17. Gorgeous blue eyes, and an amazing smile. He’s so handsome!

18. He loves to help people, and hates to see them struggle. Whenever someone needs help with their computer, help with math, help moving furniture, help tying their shoe — you name it, he’s there.

19. He’s cool. He likes cool music, wears cool jeans, reads cool books, thinks cool thoughts, has a cool attitude, and is just . . . super cool.

20. Everything.

Because Mike is so amazing, he more than deserves this fancy Coffee Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake. Even if it’s not your anniversary, any day is a good day to dig in to this cake! It’s phenomenal. The filling has a coffee flavor that complements the rich fudge and cookie dough. In ours, the cookie dough didn’t stand out enough, so I’ve adjusted the amount of coffee flavoring in the below to let all the flavors shine. The result is utterly indulgent, utterly delicious, and utterly gorgeous. Perfect for my very, very special occasion!

And since we’re being all mushy, tell me: What do you love about your special someone?

Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, adapted from Annies’ Eats’ Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake with eggless cookie dough by Family Fun

Yields: one 9-inch cheesecake
Crust Ingredients:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs (use whole cookies, filling and all)
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients:
1½ cups heavy cream
20 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I combined both)

Filling Ingredients:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs

Topping Ingredients:
1½ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Layer Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 to 6 tablespoons water (I used 4)

To make the crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides). I did this using a smooth glass to press crumbs into place.

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Pour 1.5-2 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust. Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended. Beat in the flour. In a small bowl, combine the coffee granules, vanilla and molasses, stirring until the coffee dissolves. Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust. Enclose the bottom of the springform pan in tightly wrapped foil and place it in a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water about halfway up the cheesecake pan, careful not to let the moisture touch the cheesecake. Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing the topping (maintaining the oven temperature.)

To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake, spreading to cover the filling completely. Bake until the topping is set, about 10-15 minutes. Return to the cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.

To make cookie dough layer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, salt, vanilla and chips. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until you have reached a cookie dough consistency. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Spoon the cookie dough into the pan and flatten to an even layer. Freeze the cookie dough layer until ready to use (at least 30 minutes).

To finish, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the springform. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Turn cookie dough out of cake pan and place layer on top of cheesecake, pressing it gently into place. Place the reserved ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to garnish the top of the cake as desired. Chill until the ganache is completely firm, at least 6 hours.

Happy Anniversary, Mike!

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Filed under cakes

105 responses to “Coffee Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake

  1. Anna

    Cheesecake and coffee are two of my favorite things and throw cookie dough into that mix and you have heaven. Thanks so much for the recipe, I will definitely try it out soon and congrats on 11 years. I’m from NC too, currently at ASU it’s a great place to be.

  2. What a sweet post!! Both of you are lucky to have each other.

    This cheesecake looks and sounds fantastic. Thanks for sharing this recipe and everything else!


  3. This is the sweetest post, and I am drooling over that cake! Happy Anniversary to you and Mike! And happy belated birthday to you!

  4. What a beautiful post! My boyfriend LOVES cheesecake… I might have to take some inspiration from this post. I love that my boyfriend supports me in anything and has faith in everything that I do.

  5. Jennifer M.

    Happy Anniversary, Mike and Julie!
    It’s so nice to see two people who truly appreciate each other. I’m happy for you!
    Wow! That is an amazing cheesecake! I’m definitely adding it to my list!
    And Julie, Happy Birthday!
    Oh yeah….13 days till you get to meet PW!!!

    Have fun!

  6. Sue

    Cookie dough? Fudge? Cheesecake? What’s not to love? AMAZING!
    Great tribute post:)

  7. So much to celebrate! Congratulations to you both – it’s obvious that you are both still head-over-heels in love with each other, even after 11 years! And happy birthday! That cheesecake sounds… words fail me… I have to find an excuse to make it! xxx

  8. Awwww! Too sweet! Happy anniversary you two! This cake looks amazing! I will have to try this some time in the future.

    After 10 years my hubble is still around. I love that no matter how many times I change, how many times I find a new interest and submerge myself completely, no matter how much I keep him on his toes…he’s still there and still loving every minute!

  9. Yay – happy anniversary! The cake looks wonderfully delicious… 🙂 Petra

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  11. First off, Happy Birthday to you! And secondly, Happy Anniversary! 11 years- wow!

    This was such a sweet post and I love all the little notes scattered throughout your pictures. A perfect dessert for a “cool” couple like yourselves!

  12. this is THE sweetest post ever! happy anniversary. you two sound perfect together.

    And better yet this cheesecake sounds extremely worthy of this event. The perfect accompaniment to a loving relationship.

  13. Eva

    The cake looks amazing! I don’t like coffee though, by what could I replace it? Would this be good with hot chocolate too?

    • Julie

      Hi Eva! If you don’t like coffee, I’d try just leaving it and the molasses out — should still taste great, I think!

  14. Okay. My bikini diet is officially over for this. *Drool*

  15. samantha

    I tried the recipe, LOVED the result. Thank you for a great dessert.
    I love that my boyfriend always has a smile for me. Even if hes had a horrible day and just wants to be left alone, I know every time I come home he’ll be waiting with a great big smile.

    • Julie

      Aw, sounds like you have a keeper, Samantha!!

      I’m so excited to hear you already tried the recipe — if you happened to snap any photos, I’d love to put one on my “About Willow Bird Baking” page in the readers’ pictures area. If not, that’s fine too! I’m so glad you all loved it!

  16. Happy Anniversary Julie and Mike! This is such a sweet post and you both sound like a match made in heaven! 😀 Oh and the cheesecake? Perfect for that very special occasion!

  17. That is the most amazing cheesecake I have ever seen! I tlooks so yummy!

  18. I’ve had some instant coffee sitting around for ages, just waiting for a purpose this noble. I am sooo making this the next time I can make up a special occasion worthy of a dessert!

  19. This is wrong on so many levels! OMG this is one amazing kick ass culinary creation!! Do you deliver!!

  20. Oh My! First, congratulations!
    That dessert is freaking amazing!

  21. Stephanie

    Julie, this cake looks amazing. I’m definitely trying this soon. Happy belated anniversary! You and Mike are very lucky to have each other.

    I love that my babe is always here to take care of me. I’ve been sick in bed since yesterday and today I was greeted by a box of kleenex, all types of medicine, and a single pink rose…

    • Julie

      Ahhh, that is so sweet, Stephanie! Big brownie points for the rose!!

      Thank you 🙂 Hope you feel better soon! I’ve been ill myself the past few days and it’s been no fun.

  22. Lindsey

    As the wife of a fellow topologist, let me wish you luck on the journey to a PhD. It is an interesting ride. 😉 Apparently that wasn’t enough of a rollercoaster, because now we’re on to law school. oy.

    This looks great! HUGELY caloric, but amazing!

    • Julie

      I like to think the calories don’t count on special occasions . . . right? Ha.

      How fun that you’re married to a topologist! So I’ve been waiting to ask a mathematician’s partner this question: when they’re explaining the nitty gritty details, at what point do you nod and smile and accept that you simply aren’t going to understand? HA. I always wonder if I’m “quitting” too early in the trying-to-understand process. 🙂

      Thanks, Lindsey.

  23. This cheesecake is one of the most sinful things I have ever seen! My boyfriends LOVES coffee, cookie dough, chocolate, and cheesecake and his birthday is in 2 weeks…he’s pretty awesome too so I think this is what he will be eating for dessert on his day!

  24. Ashlea

    I can’t wait to try this. Think I’ll have to do a peanut butter version as well depending on my success. Ha.
    And I love how patient my boyfriend is with me and all my crazy-pregnant mood swings. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I’m mad, and sometimes I’m really happy, which usually makes me cry. All for no reason and he just holds my hand silently though it. 🙂
    Thanks for your post!
    p.s. It made me cry, LOL.

  25. What a gorgeous cheesecake! I’d try and make it myself but I think we’d each have a piece and that’d be it. Sweets don’t do so well around here most of the time, but wow does it look good!

    Happy anniversary!

  26. Bridget

    I just found this page on StumbleUpon and I am SO GLAD I did!
    I normally don’t read through recipes when I find them (just click ‘I like it’ in hopes that I’ll go back when I’m in a more culinary mood), but after catching a glimpse of some of your reasons, I had to read the whole thing. It is so sweet, and it’s great to see a couple so obviously in love after 11 years!

    My boyfriend lives overseas, and for Valentine’s Day this year I did something similar (minus the cake). I made a slide show with some of my favorite love quotes and then my own reasons why I love him. My absolute favorite quote was “True love is when you put someone on a pedestal, and they fall – but you are there to catch them.”

    Also, I am definitely going to try making this cheesecake!

    • Julie

      Aww, Bridget, that’s so sweet!! I’m so glad I wrote this post, because I love hearing stories like these! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Sharon

    wow, i dont have a special sweetie but you sure just raised the bar for any one whose applying!! and PS that cake looks scrum-diddly-umptious!

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  29. Ryan

    Congrats on the 11 years, that’s impressive. I’m currently in the process of making this absolutely amazing looking cheesecake, and i had a question for you. Do you know why the recipe say’s to bake the cheesecake in a baking pan that has hot water in it? I’m just curious and i’m definitely looking forward to eating this and sharing with friends.

    • Julie

      Hi Ryan!

      Thanks! That method is called a waterbath, and it’s used to ensure the cheesecake bakes gently and slowly. Some cheesecakes can crack, and this method prevents that from happening (though it wouldn’t really matter here if it did, since you’re covering the top in a slab o’ cookie dough 🙂

      • Ryan

        So i had tried this, and i have to say that it was absolutely amazing, it’s easily one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had. One thing i noticed when i was making this was that the cooking times didn’t work for me (like the 1hour was actually closer to 2 by the time it had finally set, and the sour cream layer never actually set and i left it cooking for 45 minutes.) Any suggestions for why this could’ve happened? Thanks again for the absolutely amazing recipe.

        • Julie

          Wow, two whole hours! I have no idea — I used the cooking times here (in fact, I think I cooked a little less than an hour!). I’m stumped!

          Glad you liked it despite the disparity!

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  31. Ana

    AWESOME!!!!!!!! I can almost smell the cake and feel the love 🙂 Thank you! 🙂

  32. I love your post! I make little lists like yours about my husband too! I love to always keep in mind the small things he does for me that make me feel special and keep our relationship fun and interesting! Some of mine are….. he will turn the radio up in the car up for me if i like the song (even if he hates it), He gives me all his marshmellows from his rocky road ice cream because he knows i love them not because he dislikes them, there is always a fresh towel waiting for me when i exit the shower, he opens all my doors, and he will watch all my shows with me despite hating them! Just some of a long list! Your relationship is truley beautiful, your post made me cry, nice to know their are other coupples out there that are as much in love as we are! good luck to you both I wish you all the happieness in the world!
    p.s. I am totally going to use his “indoor” easter egg hunt! So Sweet!

    • Julie

      Aww, I love this comment, Kindle!! Your relationship sounds fantastic. Thank you for sharing! I especially love that he gives you his marshmallows — now THAT is love 🙂

  33. Rachel

    I just Stumbled on this recipe, and I have to say, I love it! Then again, what’s not to love? 🙂 I was just thinking that I wanted to bake something for my coworkers, since several of them will often bring in miscellaneous baked goods for everyone, and I just know this will be a hit!

    A quick question about the crust ingredients. The crumbled sandwich crackers – does that include the filling, or just the crackers themselves? Would chocolate graham cracker crumbs work instead? Thanks!

    • Julie

      Hi Rachel!

      It does include the filling, but chocolate grahams will also work. My only tip is to search around for some traditional graham cracker crust recipes and take note of the amount of butter to see if you’d need to increase it to account for the lack of that “sandwich cookie” filling. Otherwise, go for it! I know they will love it!

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  36. Thank you again for this recipe – I’m buying the ingredients tonight! My husband’s been extremely support of my Etsy endeavor, so he needs some spoiling. 🙂

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  38. Cookie dough? Coffee? *dies from awesomeness* You and your hubby are danged cute together 🙂

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  41. Hannah

    I made this wonderful cheesecake for our Thanksgiving dinner last night. It was delicious! Everyone loved it. It was my first attempt at a cheesecake and everything turned out so well. Thanks for the great recipe!

  42. Lorna

    I’m planning something similar for my boyfriend’s birthday; cheesecake with cookie dough pieces in it, and rocky road on top [i have to say thanks for inspiring me! yours looks so so awesome!!]. But i possibly wont have time in just one day to do it, so i was wondering how long the cheesecake keeps [in the fridge]?
    Thanks 🙂

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  44. Lindsey

    I was just picking up my jaw off the floor after seeing this cheesecake, when I saw that Mike goes to NCSU! I’m currently a student there. Go Pack!


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  46. WG

    I have a question! Is the molasses strictly necessary? We have regular molasses but I don’t think I’ve ever even SEEN light molasses. Is there anything I could substitute for it? Maybe half regular molasses and half corn syrup?

  47. Cat from Measuring Spoons

    This sounds like something my partner would love and that I kind of want to take on for the cheesecake challenge, but it is SO MUCH CHEESECAKE. Way more than we can handle. Maybe I’ll adapt it to a smaller size!

    • One awesome thing about cheesecake, though, is that it freezes SO well! I cut leftovers into slices and freeze them individually, giving some to friends and family and saving some for myself 🙂 I hope you all love it — whether mini or full-sized!

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  49. Aah, this was really not a good site to stumble across while I’m trying to be on a diet – considering Cheesecakes are pretty much my favourite food in the world, bar none, I can forsee some problems ahead 😀

  50. Sara

    I totally made this for my husband’s birthday! It was the biggest (and most expensive) project I ever made, and I (and he) was more than satisfied withe the results. He loved it! Thanks so much for the recipe that made my husband’s birthday so special!

  51. kim

    can’t wait to try this recipe!

  52. Kirsten

    so i was reading this and i really hope that Mike stayed with you. i would be heartbroken to find out that you guys aren’t married and are no longer together. He sounds like an amazing guy and you two sound really happy. Wish you guys the best!

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  55. Judith

    Hi! I am planning to bake this cheesecake this weekend but had a quick question … you don’t have to prebake the crust?

  56. I found your recipe on Pinterest and I have to say sounds, looks & I’m pretty sure tastes delicious!!! I can’t wait to try it.

    The post? The sweetest!!! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing

  57. This looks amazing! Do you think I can swap the coffee for espresso? That’s what I currently have in my kitchen as I recently made an espresso chocolate chip shortbread recipe!


    New to the blog, but what a sweet post to come in to read.
    Sounds like a great guy, glad to know they exist here in NC! 😀

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