Mini Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecakes

Cheesecake is a fabulous dessert, but it can be time consuming to make and sometimes a full cheesecake is just too much. I came up with this recipe for mini cheesecakes that makes quick individual servings.

RECIPE #3 (from 10 Pounds of Chocolate Chips)

Chocolate Cake Crust
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk

Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth.  Add vanilla and eggs.  In a separate bowl whisk together salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour.  Sift in cocoa powder.  (You could add melted chocolate instead, but for this particular recipe I think cocoa works better.)  The chocolate chips will be used to make chocolate hearts for the top of the cake.

Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  While mixing, carefully pour in the milk.  Move the bowl to the refrigerator and then begin to make the cream cheese filling.

Cream Cheese Filling
16 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 eggs

Beat cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add lemon juice.  Add egg yolks.  In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.  Carefully fold into the cream cheese mixture.

Line a muffin tin with paper baking cups.  In the bottom of each cup place about a 1/2 inch of cake batter.  Smooth with a spoon to flatten over the entire bottom of the cup.  (If you desire a thicker cake then increase the amount of batter in each cup)

Pour the cream cheese mixture over the prepared cake batter so that each cup is 2/3 full.  Makes about 12 mini cakes. 

Bake in 350 degree oven for 19 minutes.

Refrigerate cakes until cold.  Overnight is best, but they can also be ready within a couple of hours.

sweetened whipped cream
fresh fruit
chocolate hearts (made with melted chocolate chips)

To serve. Leave mini cakes in the paper baking cups and add fruit and whipping cream on top or peel off the paper and serve on a plate with fresh strawberries and cream.  Decorate with chocolate hearts.

NOTE:  If you open the oven before the cakes are done, they may sink slightly in the middle.  Don't worry if that happens.  You can fill the centers with whipping cream and they will still taste delicious.

Chocolate Hearts
To make the chocolate hearts, melt about 1/2 cup chocolate chips.  Place melted chocolate into a small plastic sandwich bag.  With a pair of scissors, snip off one tiny corner of the bag to create a small hole.  Pipe the melted chocolate onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Draw the hearts free hand or put a diagram of a heart underneath the parchment paper and trace the outlines.  Make sure there are lines going through the heart to keep it together.  

Allow the chocolate to harden in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.  Carefully peel the hearts off of the parchment paper and use to decorate the mini cheesecakes.