My friend Jacqui and I try to plan a “Mommy’s Day Out” every few months or so. Our hubbies watch the kiddos, and we drive to D.C. to visit luxe kitchen stores and drool over Le Creuset and Staub cookware. We love every minute of it, and we always. Always. ALWAYS. Eat lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
During our latest outing, we tried the Tuxedo cake. And when our waiter brought out that gorgeous, 4 layer dessert surrounded by the bewitching black and white ribbon, we swooned. We tasted each layer– and savored and swooned some more. And then Jacqui said, “Do you realize that we have been moving in slow motion ever since this dessert arrived at the table?” Ahhhh, it was so true. We had literally been lifting our forks, in a semi-comatose state, and droning on in slow motion as our eyes rolled back in our heads. bwahaha. I knew right away that I had to try to recreate this divine dessert at home. And I even used a variation of one of my favorite gluten free cake recipes from Melanie Cooks, so that the entire dessert can now be made in a gluten free variation, if you leave out the Oreo crust. And you know what? I think it might *actually* be even better than the original.
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Copycat Cheesecake Factory Tuxedo Cake
Chocolate Cheesecake Crust Ingredients: (leave this crust layer out if you prefer a GF cake)
2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
4 tbsp. melted butter or margarine
Chocolate Cake Ingredients: (based on original recipe developed by Melanie Cooks)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp. butter or margarine
6 tbsp. white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup cocoa
Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Ingredients:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
6 tbsp. white sugar
3 tbsp. milk
1 egg, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Chocolate Chip Mascarpone Cream Layer
1.5 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate Ganache Layer
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Start by making your chocolate cookie crust. Crush cookies in a food processor and stir together with melted butter. Press cookies on the bottom and 1″ up the sides of prepared 9″ springform pan (to prepare pan, spray with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and respray with cooking spray). Set crust aside and make cake layer.
To make cake layer, melt chocolate chips and butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until just combined. Whisk in the rest of ingredients until smooth. Pour into prepared crust and set aside.
To make cheesecake layer, cream together room temperature cream cheese and white sugar until smooth. Mix in milk and egg and mix. Stop mixer and scrape down sides, then remix to make sure that everything is fully incorporated. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and flour. Slowly drizzle in melted chocolate, running mixer on low while you add chocolate. Carefully pour cheesecake mixture on top of cake batter and smooth it to edges, as evenly as you can.
Bake cheesecake/cake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until cheesecake is set in the center and springs back lightly when touched. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out creamy, but not liquidy. It will not be dry, or the cheesecake is overdone. Mainly, check for “spring back” when you lightly touch the center. Allow cheesecake to cool completely before continuing.
To make chocolate chip mascarpone cream layer, start out by making the whipped cream. With the whisk attachment of your mixer, beat the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until mixture forms soft peaks. Remove whipped cream to a separate bowl, and without cleaning original mixer bowl, switch to paddle attachment and whip your softened cream cheese (by itself) until it is smooth and has no lumps. When cream cheese is smooth, add in sour cream and mix until combined. Stir in melted white chocolate and mix. Pour in reserved whipped cream and slowly mix until combined. Fold in mini chocolate chips and add mixture on top of cheesecake. Smooth evenly overtop. Chill for several hours.
To make chocolate ganache, mix cream and chocolate chips and heat in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, just until chocolate is melted and can be stirred into cream. Pour ganache overtop of mascarpone layer and smooth evenly to edge.
Place entire tuxedo cake in the refrigerator overnight before releasing from springform pan and cutting into slices.
Wowza. That sounds super complicated, but it’s not hard. It’s just a lot of steps. If you keep your head on straight, it will be no problem at all. 😉 And don’t worry– I’m going to walk through all the steps with you. 🙂 Let’s take a look at the process in pictures. 🙂
Take a deep breath, pilgrims! 🙂 This dessert takes a while. It has a LOT of steps. BUT . . . it isn’t *hard.* If you just read through the steps and make sure you understand everything, you’ll do fine. 🙂 Let’s divide it into 5 basic “recipes.” Because, actually, that’s what it is. You are making 5 little layers in 1 gorgeous dessert. Split them apart and it won’t seem so overwhelming. 😉
Let’s start out by making our chocolate cookie crust. *Note: if you want to make this dessert GLUTEN FREE, just skip the crust and move right on along to the next layer– the GF cake. 😉
You can use any kind of chocolate sandwich cookie you want. You can use Oreos, or something more like a Duplex cream. I used Duplex Creams because that’s what I had on hand. Use a food processor (I have this sweet little guy from Black and Decker, here) to grind up 2 cups of cookie crumbs. Sometimes when I’m hauling out the food processor, I go ahead and grind more cookie crumbs than I need. Measure out 2 cups of extra crumbs and label them. Throw them in the freezer, and then next time you need a quick crust, you are ready to roll. 🙂 And you can’t tell me you’ve never wanted to grind up an entire pack of Oreos. I mean, seriously. 😉
Mix in your melted butter or margarine and stir to combine. Your mixture won’t really be “wet,” per sa. It will kind of clump a little bit and stick together slightly. You don’t want a super moist crust, or the fluid will leak out of the spring form pan during baking and burn. Don’t ask me how I know this. 😉
Anytime you make a cheesecake or “cheesecake-esque” dessert, you have to prepare your pan. This part is kind of a pain, but trust me. When you pull a gorgeous, perfect dessert out of your pan, you’ll thank me for this. 😉
First of all, you will need a 9″ springform pan. And sadly, it needs to be a decent one. I used to have an old, beat up refugee that I got from goodwill or something, and it leaked like a the press leaks secrets before election day. No. You don’t want that. Get yourself a springform pan that treats yo’ cheesecake like it’s gold at Fort Knox. Ain’t nothin’ gettin’ outta’ there. 😉
Spray your springform with cooking spray. Then trace the bottom of the pan on parchment paper and cut out a circle for the bottom, and a few rectangles of parchment paper for the sides. Kind of “stick” the parchment to the cooking spray. I use chip clips to hold everything together. Chip clips are like the Spandex of the cheesecake wardrobe. They just hold it all together. 😉 Once you have your parchment in place, respray with cooking spray.
Press your cookie crumb/butter mixture about 1″ up the sides of the springform pan, and over the bottom. Lightly press into place.
Next, let’s talk about one of my VERRRY favorite topics: cake. This cake is one of my favorite gluten free chocolate cakes, and I have lightly adapted it from the original stunning recipe by Melanie Cooks. We met Melanie on Meet the Neighbors, once, and I have been a huge fan of her delicious recipes, ever since! 🙂 Start out by melting your chocolate chips and butter or margarine in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds just until the chocolate is melted and can be stirred together with the butter.
When your chocolate and butter are melted into ooey, gooey loveliness, go ahead and whisk in the white sugar, eggs, and cocoa. Divine, isn’t it? Chocolate cures a multitude of sins. 😉
Pour your cake batter into the prepared crust resting comfortably in your METICULOUSLY prepared springform pan. 😉 There won’t be much cake batter, but spread it gently across the bottom. Don’t worry that the batter won’t completely come up over the crust. We will get to that . . . momentarily. 😉
Next, let’s talk about ANOTHER of my favorite topics. Cheesecake! 😀 To make the best cheesecake, you should have your ingredients at room temperature before you begin. Just like people, cheesecake “doins'” don’t like to be chilled. They get the partayyyy started much more easily when they can warm up and take their coats off. 😉 If you get your ingredients out of the fridge about 1/2 hour before you need them (and with all the steps of this dessert, getting them out when you start should work just fine ;), that works perfectly. 🙂
Start out by whipping your room temperature cream cheese and white sugar together with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Whip until all the lumps are gone, and your mixture is smooth and creamy.
Next, add in your milk and egg and beat. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then re-mix. This step just makes sure that no cream cheese hides out on the edges and doesn’t want to play with the other ingredients at recess. 😉 Add in the sour cream, vanilla, and flour, and give it another whirl in the mixer. Oooh you are so good at this. I love working with you. 😉
Next, take your cup of chocolate chips and melt them in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. When they are *just* melted (they don’t have to be hot), pour them slowly into the cheesecake mixture, with the mixer going as you drizzle. You should have a divine, super creamy batter. Ohhhh yeahhhhhh!
Pour your cheesecake batter carefully onto the cake batter. If you’re careful, the 2 batters won’t mix. Use an offset spatula to gently smooth the cheesecake batter to the edge of the pan, covering (or mostly covering. Come on. We aren’t using the ruler, here 😉 the rest of the crumbs. Place your springform on a cookie sheet (in case of that pesky butter leaking. Trust me), and bake your cheesecake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until cheesecake is set in the center.
And how, do you say, will I know that the cheesecake has reached this mythological state called “being set”? Because, ya know . . . cheesecake is something I ALWAYS mess up. It’s always overdone or underdone, and ya know . . . *chews gum* I need like, some help heaaaaaahhhhh. *pops gum*
So glad you asked. Your cheesecake is “set” when you can lightly touch the center, and it will spring back a little bit. You won’t leave a mark with your finger. The cream is firm enough to pop back up when lightly touched. Also, if you insert a toothpick into the center, it will come out with a creamy chocolate on it. The cream is ok. There should not be any liquid, or the cheesecake is not quite done. And it shouldn’t come out completely clean, or the cheesecake is probably overdone. The easiest way is to use an oven thermometer (ovens are usually waaayyyy off on the temperature they claim to have) and bake it at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. 😉
When your cheesecake is done, put it in the fridge to cool down. You want your cheesecake to be cooled, completely, before you add on the next layer– the deeeeeelicious chocolate chip, mascarpone cream layer! 🙂 Let’s start out by making our whipped cream, because, let’s face it . . . the mixer bowl is prime real estate in this recipe. 😉 Mix together your heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla together using the whisk attachment of your mixer. Gradually raise the speed until your mixture forms soft peaks. Scrape the whipped cream out into a separate bowl. And get this . . . DON’T WASH THE BOWL. Yep. Leave it dirty for the next step. You’re welcome. 😉
In the same, creamy bowl, we are going to make “cheater mascarpone.” 😉 What? We are CHEATING?!?!? *bottom lip trembles.* Well, I couldn’t find mascarpone cream at the store. It can be kind of hard to find sometimes. But a combo of cream cheese, sour cream, and heavy cream make a decent substitute. See why I said not to wash your bowl? 😉
Start out by creaming your room temperature cream cheese by itself. For this job, switch out the whisk for your paddle attachment. Whip your CC until you have a smooth mixture with no lumps. Add in your sour cream. Mix well. Stop the mixer. Scrape down the sides. Remix. Why does this sound familiar? hehe. Yeah. You will be a mixing expert by the time we are done, here. 😉 Once you have the cream cheese and sour cream all nice and mixed, drizzle in your melted white chocolate. Whip again as you drizzle the melted chocolate into your divine concoction. Add back in your reserved whipped cream and set the mixer on low just until combined. Yes. We are cheating on the mascarpone, and we are cheating on the “folding” step, too. 😉 I won’t tell if you don’t. Shhhh. 😉 This dessert takes so many steps. Let’s save some time if we can. 😉
Use a spatula to fold in the mini chocolate chips. Oh gosh. This stuff is DIVINE, right here. Make sure you arm wrestle the kids for bowl-licking rights on this one. 😉
By this time, your cheesecake layer should be cool. Spread the “cheater mascarpone” 😉 on top of the cheesecake and smooth it to the edges. Then back into the fridge for a few hours to let this layer chill out.
Rejoice! We are ALMOST done! This is the final step! 🙂 Take your ganache ingredients (chocolate chips and heavy cream) and mix them in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, just until you can stir the chocolate into the cream. It doesn’t take long– 30 seconds to a minute should be plenty of heat time. Keep stirring and watch the chocolate melt into glorious, shiny ganache. Ahhhh. Gorgeous. Ganache is the way to give others chocolate envy. 😉
Spread your ganache on top of the mascarpone layer and smooth it to the edges. Make a cool pattern if you want. Then, put the entire dessert in the fridge, overnight. I know it’s hard to wait. I KNOW. But you want to make sure that all your layers are solid before you cut into this beauty. We worked hard for all those layers– we don’t want to mess them up by cutting into this cake before it’s chilled out sufficiently. You’re welcome.
After the cake has rested in the fridge overnight, pop open the springform pan and slice into this gorgeous beauty. Oh my goodness. Those layers were a pain, but now look at that. How GORGEOUS is that?!
Drizzle slices with chocolate syrup and some whipped cream. Maybe put a little sprig of mint on there, just for color. Sigh. Isn’t it gorgeous?
Savor every bite. You earned it. 😉
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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