Recipe of the Month from Death by Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake by Sarah Graves

Who can resist a delicious fresh baked chocolate cherry cheesecake–topped with a cozy mystery?  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Sarah Graves’ new series is set in the island fishing village of Eastport, Maine.  Best friends Jake Tiptree and Ellie are opening a waterfront bakeshop, The Chocolate Moose, where their tasty treats pair perfectly with the salty ocean breeze.  An unfortunate murder in the new kitchen of their bakery, leads the best friends to drop their baking utensils and pick up a magnifying glass to scope out murderer.  

Sit back, relax and enjoy.


Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake

Baking a cheesecake is a big project, but much easier if you do it in steps.

First, the crust:  use a rolling pin to crush about 3 dozen chocolate wafers between two sheets of wax paper, reducing the wafers to fine crumbs. (You need about 2 cups of crumbs.)

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter, add the melted butter to the crumbs in a bowl, and mix until all the crumbs are evenly moistened.  Use your fingers to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and about 11⁄2 inches up the sides of a buttered 9″ x 3″ spring form pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, remove the crust from the oven, and set it aside.

Now turn the oven up to 375 degrees and put a shallow pan of water on the bottom shelf. This preheats and humidifies the oven so the cake doesn’t dry out when it’s baking.

Next, make the filling: you’ll need 32 ounces of cream cheese,

1 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest, 4 eggs, and a cup of sour cream.

Use a wooden spoon to cream together the cheese, sugar, and lemon zest. Beat in the vanilla, the eggs one at a time, and the sour cream. Pour the batter into the already-made crust in the spring form pan and bake for about 13⁄4   hours at 375 degrees. (Leave the pan of water in the oven during baking.)

Chill the baked cake overnight. Then slip a thin knife blade very  carefully  between  the  crust  and  the  pan’s  side  just  to loosen it. Finally open the pan’s latch and remove the side.

For the chocolate top:

Put 4 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate in a bowl. Heat 1⁄2 cup of cream with a tablespoon of sugar to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the bowl, stir to dissolve the chocolate, let the mixture cool until it’s the thickness you want, and pour/spread it over the top of the cake, allowing some to run down the sides.

For the cherries:  

1 cup of frozen cherries, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 3⁄4 tablespoon of cornstarch, 1⁄2 teaspoon of vanilla, 1⁄2 tea- spoon of lemon juice, and 1⁄8 (or so) of a cup of water. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar, add the cherries and stir, add the water and vanilla, and heat the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then quickly turn the heat down to simmer, cook until thickened (this happens fast!), and taste it. Add a little more lemon juice or sugar if you wish.

Group some of the cherries at the center of the cake top and distribute the rest evenly. Drizzle cherry syrup artistically.

Finally shave bittersweet chocolate curls off a chunk of the stuff and sprinkle/arrange them generously on the cake. Take a moment to congratulate yourself on your achievement, and then—Enjoy!


About Sarah Graves

Sarah Graves lives in Eastport, Maine, in a 200-year-old house much like Jake Tiptree’s. After 20 years of home repair – and yes, it really does make you think about murder! – she has handed in her toolbox and returned to her first love: chocolate! When she’s not cooking or baking something delectable—or writing about it!—she tends a huge garden or shovels snow, depending upon the season.  Readers can visit her website at:

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