Second Place: Pamela Yoder, Benson
5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 whole chocolate graham crackers, crushed fine
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 (8oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
½ cup whipping cream
4 tsp. instant coffee powder
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
Crust: Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9 inch spring form pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl; add 5 Tbsp. of melted butter and toss with a fork until evenly moistened. Empty the crumbs into the spring form pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan and bake for 13 minutes. Cool crust on a wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. When cool, wrap the outside of the pan with two 18” lengths of heavy duty foil; set the spring form pan in a roasting pan.
Filling: Bring 4 quarts of water to a simmer in a stock pot. Using a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then use a spatula and scrape the beater, sides and bottom of the bowl. Add half of the sugar and beat until blended, about a minute, scrape bowl again. Add remaining half of sugar and beat until well blended, about a minute, scrape bowl again. Add the eggs 2 at a time and beat until blended, about a minute. Between each addition, scrape bowl. Beat in the flour until blended, about a minute and scrape bowl. Whisk together the whipping cream, instant coffee powder, and vanilla in a small bowl until coffee powder dissolves, then stir into the cream cheese mixture.
Pour the filling into the spring form pan and smooth the surface. Set the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water to come about halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes. Set the roasting pan on a wire rack and cool for 45 minutes. Remove the spring form pan from the water bath, discard foil, set cheesecake pan on wire rack; run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen and let cake cool until barely warm, about 2 hours. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours.
Remove the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the crust and the pan bottom to loosen the cake, and then slide the cake onto a serving platter.
(Decorative Egg on top was made with White Chocolate and food coloring)