Special equipment: a 9-inch springform pan, a potato masher and an offset spatula
For the cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside. Cut a 10-inch-by-5 1/2-inch strip of parchment.
Prepare and bake the cake batter in the prepared pan according to the package directions for a 9-inch pan. Let cool completely on a rack, about 1 hour. Open the pan clasp, loosen the collar and slip in the parchment strip so it encircles the cake; it will come up about 2 inches higher than the edge. Close the clasp.
Meanwhile, chop enough strawberries to make 2 cups. Toss with the sugar in a medium bowl and let sit until softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the strawberries and sugar to a pulp (the mixture should be mostly smooth with a few chunks).
Beat the cream cheese and 2 cups cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and stiff peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes.
Bring 1/2 cup cream to a boil in a small saucepan then whisk in the gelatin, stirring continuously, until dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes.
Fold the cream-gelatin mixture into the strawberry mixture until combined. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the strawberry-gelatin mixture until combined. Pour on top of the cake and smooth out the top with an offset spatula. Chill until set, 2 hours and up to overnight.
For the ganache: Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the butter and the remaining 1 cup heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until melted and smooth.
Dip each of the remaining strawberries into the chocolate halfway, twisting to let any excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place on the prepared baking sheet and let harden, about 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining chocolate.
Open the pan clasp and remove the collar and parchment. Transfer the cake to a serving platter or cake stand. Reheat the reserved ganache in the microwave until it is pourable. Pour the ganache around the edge of the cake, smoothing it with an offset spatula and letting some drip down the sides. Place the chocolate-covered strawberries around the rim with the stems facing inward. Let stand until hardened, about 15 minutes.
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