Meet the most beautiful dessert you’ll make this year! This Neapolitan Cheesecake might look super fancy, but it takes minimal extra effort and tastes like a creamy dream! Features an Oreo crust and three decadent layers of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla cheesecake.
There comes a moment in every person’s life when something unexpected blows their world into a billion, teeny-tiny smithereens and hurls their life into a supermassive existential black hole. For some people, this happens when they realize that Santa isn’t real. Or that Hollywood starlets like Zendaya and Brie Larson are actually younger than you are.
For me, though, this pivotal moment happened in college when I learned that my favorite three-toned dessert, the Napoleon ice cream of Waterloo fame that had cast a rosy glow over all my childhood years…was actually called Neapolitan ice cream.
I swear to Bonaparte, it was like a galaxy died in my soul that day.
I confronted my parents about this very upsetting discovery shortly after it happened, but they maintained (guns a-blazin’, I might add) that where they grew up abroad, it was actually called Napoleon ice cream. To this day, we still call any combination of chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ice cream “Napoleon,” and I imagine a fiery five-foot French general flying across the battlefield waving his brown, pink, and white-striped flag.
Call it what you want, though, there’s no doubt that this creamy Neapolitan cheesecake–an ode to our beloved ice cream variation–is among the best cheesecakes you’ll ever try. (It’s right up there next to its lighter, fluffier cousin, our favorite 3-Ingredient Japanese Cheesecake!)
With an Oreo crust and three distinct, complementary layers (chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla), this recipe is one that you’ll want to keep in your box for those fancy dessert situations. You only need to make one base batter, which cuts down significantly on prep time, and as long as you use a proper water bath you won’t need to worry about cracking tops. We delivered slices to several of our friends ahead of a virtual Zoom birthday party, and this Neapolitan cheesecake was a smashing success.
In fact, it was so good even Napoleon would have (Bona)part-aken in it! (Okay, I’ll stop. But trust me, this recipe is a must-try!)
For the crust:
- 15 creme-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (e.g. Oreos)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
For the cheesecake layers:
- 4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons strawberry extract OR 3-4 drops red food coloring
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Thoroughly grease 8-inch springform baking pan. Wrap bottom edges of pan completely in heavy-duty foil, using two layers of foil if needed. Set aside.
- In a food processor, grind chocolate cookies until they turn into a fine crumb. Transfer to medium bowl and mix with sugar and melted butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared springform pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Stir in flour, cream, and vanilla.
- Add eggs one at a time, gently stirring until eggs are JUST incorporated. (Note: Overbeating will cause air bubbles to form and potentially cause cracking in your cheesecake.) Divide batter evenly among three bowls.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat chocolate chips at 30-second intervals, stirring between each until chocolate is just melted and smooth. Stir into one bowl of cheesecake batter.
- Stir strawberry extract (or red food coloring) into second bowl of cheesecake batter.
- Pour chocolate batter into prepared crust, then carefully pour strawberry layer on top, using a spoon if needed to spread over chocolate layer. Place springform pan into a large baking pan that has been filled with 1 inch of hot water.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until center has just set. Gently spread remaining vanilla cheesecake batter on top, then bake for an additional 25-35 minutes, or until top has just set. Remove springform pan from baking pan and allow to cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Run a hot knife carefully around edges of springform pan to loosen cheesecake, then cool completely (for about an hour) at room temperature.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, remove sides of springform pan, slice, and enjoy!