This no bake chocolate peanut butter cheesecake tastes like a giant Reese’s peanut butter cup (well, it would be if it mated with a chocolate chip cookie). Because what you get with this cheesecake is not only a smooth peanut buttery cheesecake filling and gorgeous crunchy chocolate ganache topping but also a lovely buttery cookie crust (with chocolate chips, no less). Are you team chocolate PB cheesecake yet? Because if not, I suspect that by the end of reading this post you might be.
This chocolate peanut butter cheesecake makes a perfect birthday cake
It’s my husband’s birthday today. Every year I make him a new cake for his birthday, something special that’s just for him. Last year it was this giant cookie birthday cake and this year, I came up with this little beauty. We celebrated his birthday early on the weekend because… well, everyone knows that weekday celebrations suck. Too many other things to do, work, school, rushing around, prepping lunches for kids, and not enough time for opening presents, enjoying cuddles, relaxing and eating your birthday cake. All three portions of it. Yep, this cake is this good.
And do you know what’s even better about making this treat? It’s a piece of cake to make! (I know, I’m on fire today.)
How do you make this chocolate peanut butter cheesecake?
It’s a no bake (or raw) cheesecake. This means that you prepare your tin and make your layers one by one, starting from the bottom. Each layer is super easy to make and unlike some recipes, with this one you don’t need to wait for each layer to chill or freeze before you make another. You just keep going (allowing the already made layer(s) to rest and firm up while you’re busily preparing the next layer) – which means you can put this cake together pretty quickly, I’d say under an hour. And then it just needs to chill (out) in the fridge, overnight is best but 6 to 8 hours should do the trick.
So here are the layers that make up this cheesecake:
- the first (base) layer – this is basically the same cookie crust as in my individual mascarpone cheesecakes with the added treat of chocolate chips. If you happen to discover something good, why not use it again I say? So I have tweaked the original recipe only slightly here, as I find that the addition of the chocolate chips links the flavours in the base layer with the top (chocolate) layer. Chocolate upon chocolate but in different textures, aka heaven.
- the second (middle) layer – this is what I call the peanut butter goodness. This layer is pure smooth and creamy cheesecakey delight. Though it’s a little hard to see from the photos, it stays beautifully creamy in the fridge too (it doesn’t go hard). That way you can always have a little treat straight from the fridge, no defrosting required. It feels so indulgent, you’ll never believe so few ingredients are required to make it.
- the third and last (top) layer – the chocolate ganache layer just completes the taste sensation. The chocolate and peanut butter flavour combination is classic for a reason. The crunchy hit of chocolate, paired with the smooth creaminess of the peanut butter filling, is just magic. When this chocolate ganache layer chills, it becomes crunchy but not so hard that you would mush up the peanut butter layer when you’re cutting the cake (which is super important, right?).
How healthy is this cheesecake?
Let’s make it clear, this cheesecake is not health food. That said, I’ve lightened up the ingredients quite a bit – and it’s as much about what’s not in it as the lovely ingredients I have included.
As with my individual mascarpone cheesecakes, I have tried to keep this cheesecake healthier than the standard cheesecake you could buy or make from mainstream recipes.
There is no added sugar in this recipe, but it’s not refined sugar free – there is some sugar in the biscuits used in the base (though not much), the sweet condensed coconut milk I used has added cane sugar (mine had nearly 60g in 100g, which is a bit but the whole cheesecake only uses a total of 85g of sweet condensed coconut milk) and the chocolate chips you’re using might also contain sugar.
All in all though, there is no icing (or confectioners) sugar which is an ingredient I’ve seen in many cheesecakes, or any other sugar or heavy cream. The peanut butter layer is sweetened with rice malt syrup (or you can substitute maple syrup or other liquid sweetener, if you prefer). The base and top layers do not need further sweetening (thank you chocolate). That said, you need not worry – because this is truly a celebration cake, and the taste will not disappoint. It’s ok to treat yourself every now and then!
I’ve also added MCT oil instead of butter in the base which contains medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides which are easily digested and lead to many health benefits. I’ve talked about this previously in this post. As the cheesecake is no bake (and the oil is not heated), the benefits are preserved.
Finally, try using peanut butter (and/or almond butter, if using) without added sugars and dark chocolate which is low in sugar, if you want to make this cake even lighter.
No bake chocolate peanut butter cheesecake [no added sugar]
The base (cookie) layer
- 8 (about 140 g) Mcvities Digestives Biscuits (Dark Chocolate)
- 3 tbsp MCT oil
- 2 handfuls (about 40g) dark chocolate chips
The middle (peanut butter cheesecake) layer
- 500 g cream cheese
- 315 g peanut butter
- 125 g almond butter (or you can substitute more peanut butter, to make up a total of 440g)
- 3 tbsp rice malt syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla paste
The top (chocolate ganache) layer
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) sweet condensed coconut milk
- 85 g dark chocolate chips
Prepare your tin
- I used a 20 cm (8in) round springform cake tin, which I sprayed with some coconut oil and lined as neatly as possible with baking paper. To do that, I cut out a circle only slightly bigger than the base of the baking tin, and lined the sides with strips of paper (which I joined using more coconut oil). Set aside.
Make the base (cookie) layer
- Pulse all the base (cookie) layer ingredients in a food processor until you get a mixture resembling wet sand.
- Press the mixture into the prepared baking tin, trying to make the layer as even as possible. Some people use the base of a whisky glass for this, I find that the back of the spoon works best for me.
- Place the baking tin into the freezer while you work on the next layer.
Make the middle (peanut butter cheesecake) layer
- Add all the cheesecake layer ingredients into a bowl and mix with a handheld mixer or by hand (warning: the mixture will be fairly thick).
- Mix until combined. As I said above, the mixture will be fairly thick but that's ok.
- Take the baking tin out of the freezer and gently press the peanut butter cheesecake layer on top of the base layer. Try to push it out all the way to the edges and smooth the top, trying to make it as even as possible.
- Place the baking tin back into the freezer while you make the final layer.
Make the top (chocolate ganache) layer
- Add the chocolate chips into a heavy bottomed pot and melt the chocolate over the lowest heat. Stir occasionally until melted (keep an eye on this so it doesn't burn). You can also melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a bain marie.
- Add the sweet condensed coconut milk to the melted chocolate and mix in well.
- Take the mixture off the heat. Take the baking tin out of the freezer and pour the chocolate ganache over the peanut butter cheesecake layer, smoothing it out.
- Place the baking tin into the fridge and let it chill for 6 to 8 hours or, ideally, overnight.
- Then cut and enjoy!
- This recipe makes a small 20cm (8in) cake. This gives about 12 portions.
- I used a springform round cake pan for this recipe, sprayed with coconut oil and lined with baking paper. This leaves the gorgeous marks on the side of the cake which I feel give it character. If you’d like your sides smoother, you may wish to use a 20cm/8in silicone cake pan which will also allow for an easy removal of the cake but won’t leave any marks.
- You can use other cake pan sizes but you will either need to adjust the quantities of the ingredients (more for larger cake pan sizes) or you can choose to keep the quantities as per the recipe but you will end up with thinner layers. This should not be an issue for the peanut butter layer as it is nice and thick but the base and top layers might end up a little too thin.
This recipe makes a small 20cm (8in) cake. This gives about 12 portions.
I used a springform round cake pan for this recipe, sprayed with coconut oil and lined with baking paper. This leaves the gorgeous marks on the side of the cake which I feel give it character. If you’d like your sides smoother, you may wish to use a 20cm/8in silicone cake pan which will also allow for an easy removal of the cake but won’t leave any marks.
You can use other cake pan sizes but you will either need to adjust the quantities of the ingredients (more for larger cake pan sizes) or you can choose to keep the quantities as per the recipe but you will end up with thinner layers. This should not be an issue for the peanut butter layer as it is nice and thick but the base and top layers might end up a little too thin.