The first time I ever had cheesecake brownies, they were a variation on a box brownie mix that my mom baked. I had cheesecake brownies this way for years. Some of those box brownie mixes are very good (Ghiradelli is one of my favorites) and I always enjoyed it when I found a batch in the kitchen. Presentation-wise, it’s a beautiful dessert, but the thing that makes it good is how the creamy cheesecake really contrasts with the rich chocolate flavor and texture of brownies.
I may like versions of this dessert made with box brownie mix, but these blow them away. The brownie base is dark and rich, the cheesecake is light by comparison and the ratio between the two is spot-on.
The brownies don’t have a tremendous amount of chocolate in them – some melted chocolate and a small amount of cocoa powder – but deliver a lot of flavor. Chocolate makes the brownies taste richer than cocoa alone, while the cocoa powder deepens the flavor. I used dark (65% cacao) chocolate and, while you could use semisweet chocolate in a pinch, I think that darker chocolate (or even half dark and half unsweetened) will give you the best finished flavor. The brownies are very fudgy when served at room temperature, largely because there is no leavening in the brownie batter aside from eggs, and they have a great chewiness to them when refrigerated. I usually prefer things at room temperature, but this is one that I actually prefer chilled.
Since this batch of brownies bakes in a fairly small pan (8×8-inches), there is a generous ratio of cheesecake to brownie, which makes this a good choice for cheesecake fans. The cheesecake is not too dense and I found that the flavor of the cream cheese, combined with the hint of vanilla in the mix, made a great match to the brownie. I didn’t swirl my brownies too much and, as a result, most of my pieces were brownies on the bottom and cheesecake on top. If you want more of a mixture, you can be a bit more aggressive with the “swirling” of the two batters.
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Sift flour, cocoa powder and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
Pour into prepared pan and prepare cheesecake mixture.
In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.
Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.
Makes 16 large brownies.
diningoncentsJuly 14, 2008
Wow I need to make these!! And the recipe looks so simple. Thanks!
MonaJuly 14, 2008
Wow, these look great!
ChelleJuly 14, 2008
Looks great! For as big a fan as I am of rich brownies and cheesecake, I’ve never made cheesecake brownies!
Delicious ChronclesJuly 14, 2008
RachelJuly 15, 2008
Oh my! I know what I’m making this weekend — these look gorgeous!
Mrs. LJuly 15, 2008
Cheesecake, brownies? What’s not to like. Definitely have to try this recipe.
AshleyJuly 15, 2008
I’ve never seen cheesecake brownies where the two layers are mostly separated. I love how it looks and they look so good! Must save this to try.
CharlotteJuly 15, 2008
These baked up quick and delicious! My daughter swirled them a bit more than the pic and they were beautiful.
Sandra :)July 16, 2008
MMMMMMMMMMmmmm these look and smell delicious – I can’t wait to try them – they’re cooling on the counter right now.
S for Kitchen ConfitJuly 17, 2008
Those brownies look spectacular. And I’ve got to compliment you for your photography skills. I love how the blue background in the first picture with the white and brown of the food. Looks wonderful – and probably tastes even better!
SaraJuly 19, 2008
these look amazing! i’m going to be making these today for sure! 🙂
SofiaJuly 23, 2008
These just came out of the oven, and I tried a bite… mm, so gooey and delicious.
Scratch DaveOctober 3, 2008
I just baked this and it was delicious – thanks so much! I had to make my own brownie mix tho 🙂
carmaOctober 15, 2008
would these work with unsweetened chocolate?
Rachel B.October 21, 2008
Cheesecake brownies!!!wow I’m in HEAVEN!!!!!
this recipe looks sooo goood
Cara-MiaNovember 23, 2008
This is a fantastic recipe! I am not a fan of dark chocolate so I used semisweet chocolate instead & LOVED it!
hweehwee da foodie!December 15, 2008
heyy!! this looks wonderful!! How did you manage to get the sides crusted with brownie mix when the two layers are still ‘liquid’??
NicoleDecember 15, 2008
Da foodie – Since the brownie is closer to the metal of the pan as the bottom layer, it cooks slightly faster than the cheesecake and rises up first. In this case, it rises up the sides of the cake pan to give it a kind of “crust”
hweehwee da foodie!December 17, 2008
oh man!! that’s really cool! okok, i shall try! 🙂 Will let all of you know the results! 😀
jammerJanuary 20, 2009
would these work with unsweetened chocolate?
KrissyFebruary 10, 2009
these look great! if I were to use a 13×9 how would the recipe change? would I just double the amounts…?
saraMarch 12, 2009
Hi, love the website and have successfully baked other recipes, having trouble with this one! The brownies don’t get cooked through the centre despite allowing extra time and become VERY brown at the cheese bit. Help please recipe tastes delicious!
NicoleMarch 12, 2009
Sara – I suspect you might be doing everything right. The brownies should be quite fudgy and rich for this recipe. If you think that your cheesecake is browning too quickly, you can always tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top towards the end of the baking time to help reduce browning, and leave the brownies in for an extra 5 minutes or so.
lynnMarch 20, 2009
hi! i tried ur receipe but the surface cracked!! isit cox its too hot/overbaked?? i put @ 190 degrees celsius for 35 min~ 🙁
ChrisMarch 22, 2009
Looks delicious. I will love my wife making one of this for me…
Carla JacksonvilleApril 1, 2009
wow, brownies are my specialty for snacking. thanks for the recipe i will bookmark. the pictures are so clear i feel like i can eat them now.
pauline chanMay 14, 2009
hi… I tried this recipe this morning and its yummy… its easy to bake and nice to eat…. thanks for your recipe…
I include some photos… if you are free please browse genevrelow.multiply.com under mummy’s blog…
I add your site as favorite and its great to view your blog… I will try your other baking soon
anonymusJune 22, 2009
Jen MeiSeptember 24, 2009
Mine turned out soggy and it wasnt firm at all. After awhile it even started to harden like stones….how do I make a perfect brownie or cake? I followed the recipe exactly. The only difference is that I put it in a round cake tin.
GayleDecember 3, 2009
Thank u very much for the recipe!:)
I attempted my first just today.
I overwhipped the batter for the brownie, so it looked like it was more brownie than cheesecake, whatever the result – superbly delicious! 😀
.. for a split second, i forgot my name.. 😀
very easy to do. 🙂
more power! 🙂
StacyDecember 21, 2009
Wow, those look SO GOOD! I plan to try making them as a snack on Christmas, I can’t wait!!
JessJuly 26, 2010
I tried making these finally and they came out absolutely delicious! One thing I changed was that, for the frosting, I used powdered sugar rather than regular sugar. It gives it a nicer consistency and taste, in my opinion. Definitely will make these again, thanks so much for the recipe!
Amanda CowanMay 16, 2016
I’ve made these a handful of times and each time I’m just blown away by how simple and super delish these are! Going to make them again this weekend for my nieces’ grad party!