1 pound (two 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (I always use kosher salt)
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup heavy cream (or sour cream or combination)
Put a kettle or pot of water on to boil. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Working in a stand mixer (or large bowl with hand mixer), preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft for about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt, and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition to yield a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and stir in the heavy cream or sour cream.
Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter should fill only half of the pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour the the boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. (I pour half of the boiling water before putting in the pan to reduce my chances of dripping water in the cheesecake.)
Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, at which point the top will be lightly browned and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven's heat, and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
After 1 hour, carefully pull the roast pan/springform pan setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there WILL be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
2.25 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate)
1-2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat (or microwave it for 30-60 seconds). For stove option, heat cream just BEFORE it boils. Place the chocolate in the cream, and remove from heat. Stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in the cinnamon and ancho chile powders and vanilla extract. Allow the ganache to cool for about 15 minutes before pouring the mixture on top of the CHILLED cheesecake.
Release the springform pan. With an offset spatula, smooth the ganache while starting at the center of the cake and working outward. Keep in mind that the cold temperature of the cake will cause the ganache to firm up quickly, and you may have to pour more on top to make it spread evenly.