I’ve had this recipe up my sleeve for a few months now and have patiently waited to share until the holidays were over and the healthy New Year’s recipes began to peter out. Cheesecake is my default birthday cake and when I realized my last birthday in my 20’s was on Thanksgiving,  I knew I needed a special cheesecake that wouldn’t be overshadowed by all the other fabulous food that would be happening.

Like pretty much everyone else on the planet, I am a huge fan of peanut butter cups, so when I came across Smitten Kitchen’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake which Deb described as a “cake that looks like a Reese’s peanut butter cup,” I knew I’d found my recipe. Still, the recipe sounded really rich and pairing it with Thanksgiving dinner seemed a little much, even for a holiday that glorifies gluttony, so I did the sensible thing and ordered a 7″ springform pan and cut the recipe in half. In the end, I also amped up the peanut butter profile in the fudge layer and skipped the ganache topping altogether. Noel, who is a huge chocolate fan, agreed that I made the right move. In fact, he liked it so much that he requested it for his birthday only a few weeks later.

Seven-Inch Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen 


  • 3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 4.5 oz chocolate wafers (I halved the chocolate wafer portion of this recipe. It makes a little extra that you can snack on or freeze for later.)
  • 1/4 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 3.5 TBSP melted butter

Fudge Layer

  • 1/2 C cream
  • 6 oz chocolate
  • 1.5 TBSP peanut butter (I measured this generously.)


  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temp
  • 1/2 C +2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C +2 TBSP Sour Cream
  • 1.5 eggs (Either split the second egg or use just the white or the yolk.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. For the crust: If using a water bath, double wrap your springform pan in aluminum foil. Pulse the chocolate chips in a food processor a couple of times until they look like they’ve been diced. Add the wafers and brown sugar and continue blending until the mixture is finely ground. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse a few times until the mixture begins to stick together. Scrape the mixture into the springform pan and press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan. Chill in the fridge while you prepare the fudge layer.
  2. Put the cream and the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 second intervals stirring thoroughly in between until the chocolate is barely melted.(Alternatively, you can heat the cream to a simmer in a saucepan and then pour it over the chocolate.) Stir in the peanut butter and pour over the crust. Put in the freezer while you work on the cake portion.
  3. Heat oven to 325ºF.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in sour cream followed by the eggs, one at a time, and finish with the vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour over the fudge layer that has set in the freezer.
  5. If using a water bath, place the springform pan in a 9 X 13″ rimmed dish. Pour water into the pan until it comes 1″ up the side of the pan. Carefully transfer to the oven. If not using a water bath, simply place the pan in the oven.
  6. Bake until the top appears dry and the center only jiggles slightly, about 50-70 minutes. Allow the cake to cool and then transfer it to the fridge to fully set. Once chilled, it is ready to serve.

Written by Audrey

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