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Chocolate Cheesecake

Welcome to the 2015 Galentine’s Day Party hosted by my friend Nancy and myself! This shindig includes waffles, wine, and this Chocolate Cheesecake recipe which are three of the many reasons this is the best party of the year!

Easy Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe from

In case you missed our celebration last year, here’s a quick recap on Galentine’s Day. Started by the fictional Leslie Knope on the show Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day is celebrated every February 13th, and it’s all about supporting, encouraging, and celebrating the women in our lives. That, and eating really good food. At this point, it’s probably fairly obvious why I think this is the best holiday ever invented.

leslie knope galentines.jpg.jpg

I’m up for any excuse to get together with some lady friends, but I love this holiday for more than just the waffles and girl time. I believe we as women can and should be our greatest supporters. I can’t stand the Mommy Wars, the judgments on women who choose a career over a family or a family over a career OR (shocker) choose to do both. I hate seeing magazines plastered with photoshopped celebrities and filled with articles about how to lose weight, be better in bed, and get sexy hair (<<<What does this even mean??).

Girlfriends, we are so much more than our hair, our weight, our career choice, our sex lives, or our clothing. We are women. Strong, complicated, beautiful, unique women. What this world needs is a little less Mean Girls and a little more Leslie Knope. That’s why today we’re not only sharing mouth-watering treats, we’re also sharing the women who inspire us to be better human beings each day.

Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe from

I’ve been blessed with so many positive women in my life. I’ve talked before about my mom, but I’ve been blessed with many other great female teachers, role models, and friends in my life. Today, I want to share a little bit about my friend Cathy.

I met Cathy four years ago when the Mr. and I decided to move into the inner city where I was working as a community organizer. Admittedly, we were a bit naïve. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to move into a neighborhood where we were the racial minority and close to 50% of the houses were abandoned, but I was filled with vision, hope, and the reckless spirit of a 23 year old.

Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe via NeighborFood

Then I met Cathy. Cathy worked at a neighborhood ministry called Urban Connections. Her and her husband had moved into the neighborhood over 10 years ago, and they were raising their two young children in our “hood.” Cathy and I became fast friends, not only because we both love a good cake, but also because we share a passion for social justice, racial reconciliation, and seeing our streets transformed by Christ.

In those short few years, Cathy has taught me so much. She has shown me what it means to commit to a place for the long haul, to stay after the wonder has worn off and the vision is muddy. She has shown me what it means to be a woman fully inhabiting herself. She’s a woman who goes to city meetings, gets decrepit buildings torn down, raises money for a community center, takes cookies to her kid’s teachers, and makes a killer lasagna. She is not “just” a wife, a mother, a development director, a Christian, a community advocate, a baker. She is a woman, living out a life not defined by her gender, but by her faith, passion, and calling.

Recently, Cathy started the journey to a seminary degree, and I know she’s going to stir the pot and hackle feathers in that male-dominated world. I, for one, am excited to see it. Cathy, you’re a brave and beautiful soul, a woman I admire and respect so much, and someone I’m blessed to call my friend.

Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe with Raspberries from

Today, I’m sharing Cathy’s Chocolate Cheesecake. Cathy’s quite famous for this recipe and for good reason. It’s rich, creamy, and ridiculously chocolatey. I mean, there’s a layer of chocolate ganache on the bottom of it. Can you imagine anything more decadent?

Lucky for us, it’s not terribly difficult to make, so you can whip it up, invite all your lady friends over, and have a cheesecake eating extravaganza. Heck, you don’t even have to cut slices, just grab a fork and dive in. That’s the beauty of Galentine’s Day.


Be sure to check out all my lady friend’s Galentine’s Day posts below the recipe. I mean, chocolate grilled cheese, cheesecake milkshakes, wine floats (!!!), you are NOT going to want to miss out on this party!

Chocolate Cheesecake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
For the crust:
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 1¼ cups ground chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
For the ganache:
  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup heavy cream
For the cheesecake:
  • 4 8 oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
For the crust:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, crumbs & sugar together until it begins to adhere to itself. Line a 9 inch springform pan with a cardboard cake square or a piece of parchment paper cut slightly larger than the size of the pan and pressed into the bottom and up the side. Press the graham mixture into the bottom of the pan, then bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
For the ganache:
  1. While the crust is baking, make the ganache. Heat the cream until nearly boiling then pour it over the chocolate chips in a bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then whisk together until smooth. Spread a thick layer over the crust, reserving any extra for drizzling on top. Place the crust in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
For the filling:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high until fluffy. Scrape sides of mixer, turn back on medium and slowly add the sweetened condensed milk. Add melted chips, eggs (one at a time) and vanilla, beating well after each addition.
  2. Pour filling mixture into pan and bake 60-80 minutes until center is just started to set. The center shouldn't be sloshy at all if you jostle the pan. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes then run a thin knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Cool at room temperature completely before refrigerating. Once completely at room temp, then chill until serving. If cracks form (as they do if it is over-baked or cooled too quickly), don't worry, the cheesecake will taste fine - cover the cracks with more ganache drizzled on top - or even spread on top. Garnish with fresh fruit (berries!), or chocolate shavings, mini-chips, or fresh whipped cream.


More Galentine’s Day Recipes!

Ganache Topped Truffle Brownies from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Orange Yogurt Waffles from Savvy Eats

Chocolate Honey Bombs from The Live-In Kitchen

Brownie Batter Chocolate Tart from Melanie Makes

Coeur a la Creme with Dark Chocolate Ganache and Strawberries from Heather’s Dish

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cream Puffs from The Redhead Baker

Meyer Lemon Cranberry Scones from Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

Chocolate Cheesecake from NeighborFood

Strawberry Covered Dark Chocolate Truffles from Girl Versus Dough

Cheesecake Milkshakes from Chocolate Moosey

Campari and Passion Fruit Sorbet from Food Lust People Love

Boston Cream Trifles from gotta get baked

Grilled Cheese & Chocolate Sandwich with Ganache Dipping Sauce from Climbing Grier Mountain

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies from Namely Marly

Red Wine Ice Cream Floats from Mind Over Batter

Wicked Waikiki Sour from Pineapple and Coconut

Anise-Scented Ice Cream with Candied Fennel Seeds from girlichef

Mini Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cakes with Raspberry Whipped Cream from A Cookie Named Desire

Nutella Fudge with Raspberries from The Food Charlatan

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  • Liz Weber Berg February 13, 2015, 10:07 AM

    Your friend Cathy sounds amazing. And your cheesecake does, too—it’s gorgeous! Thanks so much for hosting another Galentine’s Day, Courtney!!!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 15, 2015, 12:07 PM

      Thank you for joining in again this year Liz! Love having so many talented women all joining forces!

  • Alice Choi February 13, 2015, 10:54 AM

    Courtney, the world would be a better place with more people like Cathy!! My sister went to seminary (PTS). and went on to lead children’s ministry at her church. . I think we’ve evolved a lot over the years as far as having and seeing more women in leadership roles in the church (and even pastoring congregations) … so I think Cathy will do just fine! There’s still room to grow and more people who need to be more accepting of people who are called to serve the Lord in that capacity . . but we’ll get there. . and ok, dude, this cheesecake. OH My GAWD. Stunning!!! (and thanks for sharing about your friend, Cathy!)

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 15, 2015, 12:07 PM

      Wow Alice! That’s so great to hear. I agree with you that things are definitely changing and moving in the right direction, especially thanks to brave women like Cathy and your sister. Thanks for sharing a bit of her story here!

  • Lindsay @ the Live-In Kitchen February 13, 2015, 11:44 AM

    Such a beautiful cheesecake and tribute to your friend. Thanks for putting this party together and for being one of my favorite ladies in the blog world!

  • Heather S-G February 13, 2015, 1:24 PM

    Cathy sounds like an inspiration, I loved hearing about how she inspires you! And this cheesecake? Holy cow – it looks like perfection. Thanks so much for bringing us all together for Galentine’s Day!

  • Nancy February 13, 2015, 2:31 PM

    Whoa, Cathy sounds like a seriously kick ass woman. Can she move to Vancouver and be my friend? I’m in awe of everything she’s done and accomplished and it sounds like she’s got a lot more ahead of her. Thank you thank you thank you for gathering us together for Galentine’s Day, Courtney. I know you say you’re co-hosting with me but let’s be honest, you did it all. You inspire me, lady. I’m so grateful to have you as a friend. And gurrrrrrl, this cheesecake. It’s glorious! So dense ‘n chocolatey ‘n rich. That layer of ganache in the bottom is freaking brilliant! I’m proud to be celebrating Galentine’s Day with you. xoxoxox

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 15, 2015, 12:05 PM

      Kick ass is a perfect way to describe her, but I won’t let her move to Vancouver. Sorry, I’ve got dibs. 🙂 And you were totally my moral support this year! I needed someone to bounce ideas off of, and you helped inspire this whole thing…so you wear that co-host title proudly!!

  • Stacy February 13, 2015, 2:43 PM

    I love Cathy and I haven’t even laid eyes on her! What a blessing that you have her as a neighbor, Courtney! Can’t wait to try her chocolate cheesecake recipe. It looks incredible! Thank you so much for hosting this important event!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 15, 2015, 12:04 PM

      Her friendship is a huge blessing! Thanks for joining the Galentine’s Day party this year!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough February 13, 2015, 5:23 PM

    Love the story of your friendship with Cathy — and thanks to Cathy for this AMAZING cheesecake recipe! I’m inspired to eat it all in one bite. 😉

    Thanks again for hosting yet another awesome Galentine’s Day extravaganza!

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 15, 2015, 12:03 PM

      Thanks for joining in again Stephanie! Love having all these lovely ladies gathered in one place!

  • Ala Shih February 13, 2015, 6:37 PM

    I love, love, love this post and everything about this series! And I love it when I get to read stories about these overwhelmingly positive encounters with strong women like Cathy 🙂 thanks so much for sharing this, and congrats btw on your recent news!!!!

  • Shanna @ pineapple and coconut February 13, 2015, 8:14 PM

    Your photos are so pretty! Thanks for organizing another awesome Galentine’s Day!

  • chocolatemoosey February 13, 2015, 8:29 PM

    Thanks for hosting and you know me and my cheesecake! 😀 I totally agree about women sticking together. So sick of the judging. Cathy sounds like an amazing person.

  • Heather Disarro February 13, 2015, 10:31 PM

    You gals are the best hostesses and I need to faceplant in the very middle of that cheesecake!

  • Anita at Hungry Couple February 14, 2015, 2:10 PM

    I’ve pinned, shared and done everything possible to this cake except eat it. Will you be my Valentine? And make me this cake? 🙂

    • Courtney @ Neighborfood February 15, 2015, 12:01 PM

      You get yourself to Columbus and I’ll make sure to have a cake here for you Anita! 🙂

  • Liz @ FloatingKitchen February 14, 2015, 11:04 PM

    What an amazing cake! And what an amazing friend you have in Cathy! Happy Galentine’s Day!

  • Cathy Alexander February 23, 2015, 10:29 AM

    OMG my friend, you make me sound fabulous here! And you make my cheesecake look even more glorious than it tastes. It is such a joy to work in this community with you – you’ve blessed me in so many ways.
    I will say, though, that I realized belatedly (like last week when I made one) that I also leave the cheesecake in the oven for a while after turning it off. It helps it finish solidifying (especially if i’m not sure whether it’s done), and cool more slowly to reduce cracking. I’m so glad your friends liked the recipe!

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