Alex’s birthday was Friday, and if there is one thing I think we all know by now about my sous-chef, assistant photographer, sometimes (coughoften) dishwasher and starry-eyed compatriot is that he is the true chocoholic in this family. There is rarely a dish, from strawberry tarts to banana bread, raspberry-filled sandwich cookies to bretzel rolls that he does not insist could be improved by the addition of chocolate. Or cheesecake. Or brownies. But mostly chocolate.
Thus, when Rebecca at Eat wrote a few weeks ago about making a–you might want to sit down for this one–Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake for a neighbor’s birthday, I sent Alex the link and he immediately wrote back: That’s the one.
You see Alex, too, has a Very Difficult Life. Every year, he is forced to pick ONE recipe from my past or future repertoire, for his birthday cake, and this Sophie’s Choice of the decadent world leaves him paralyzed with indecision for months before. (I’m probably flattering myself but, um, as the word-ist in this relationship, it’s just one of my perks.*) The chocolate caramel cheesecake of his last two birthdays? His beloved icebox cake? Chocolate Guinness cake? The cake I made for his mother’s birthday? Or something new, like the 8-layer cake with crushed peanut butter cups between each from this month’s Saveur, adapted without (ahem) cake mix? How about a nutella/espresso ice cream cake? (Shoot, I didn’t mention this option and now he will kick himself.)
But when he saw Rebecca’s recipe he was sold, and so was I, but in my case mostly on finding ways to make it as easy as possible. (I mean, obviously I do not love him at all if I was unwilling to martyr myself over a 12-hour period for a single cake that would be eradicated quickly by punch-drunk peers.) That said, Rebecca had made clear which parts of the cake she felt worked and which did, which was very helpful as I tried to figure out ways to adapt it for simplicity.
When she mentioned having a difficulty with the crumb crust, I remember the chocolate crumb crust I have used several times now and now I’m going to let you in on a little secret and after this, we’re not going to talk about it again, okay? Psst: Chocolate Teddy Grahams. I know, it’s just so unnatural. The first time I grabbed these (on Alex’s suggestion, natch) because I couldn’t find the classic Nabisco Chocolate Wafers most recipes suggest. Then, when I was able to find the wafers again, I realized that the Teddy Grahams tasted better. I know it sounds ludicrous, but they do, by miles, in crust form at least. So does doubling the crust, something I cannot resist doing. I never argue with a high crust-to-cheesecake ratio.
Rebecca had also mentioned that she felt there were better brownie recipes out there for the chocolate chunks, such as the Cook’s Illustrated classic. And this is where the corner-cutting comes in, because although I, too, have weighed the Cook’s Illustrated recipe against my own go-to variety, the Baker’s One Bowl Brownie, for the sake of speed and the fact that the flavor would be buried and burrowed within a cheesecake, the One Bowl was definitely the way to go. Did I mention that they are still delicious, delicious brownies? They really are. If you’re ever in a hurry, don’t underestimate their knee-weakening chocolate assault.
Finally, the cheesecake. Although there was not a single thing wrong with the recipe’s original cheesecake, I’ve had my eye on the Epicurious cheesecake recipe from the Three Cities of Spain Coffeehouse for a long time. Why? Because it has 76 glowing reviews, a 99% success rate and, most saliently, four ingredients. And when you are making a crust, brownies, cheesecake and ganache, a one-bowl, four-ingredient cheesecake will be your best friend.
And don’t forge the ganache. Well, technically, you could, it’s not that anyone would ever take a bit of that cheesecake and think it was plain or repressed. But, if you’re me, and you’re too lazy to make a water bath for your cheesecake thus they always have Buffy the Vampire Slayer-like markings across the top, ganache makes some excellent touch-up.
So, how did it go? By the mouths of 17 people, including one who is lactose-intolerant, one who is always dieting, and one who doesn’t even like sweets, it was gone in five minutes flat. I couldn’t be more proud. And Alex couldn’t have found more over-the-top decadent chocolate cheesecake bliss. But, it won’t keep us from searching, as there always is next year to think of.
Cheesecake, elsewhere on Smitten Kitchen: Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake, Key Lime Cheesecake, Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake, Nectarine, Mascarpone and Gingersnap Tart (almost no-bake!), Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares, Black-Bottomed Cupcakes (with a cheesecake filling) and Cream Cheese Marbled Brownies.
- Alex’s hot, young wife (*ibid) bought him a new camera toy for his birthday, a flash that actually adjusts itself not to blow an aggressive white light in the faces of peers! He and his new toy are already deeply in love, and although I have not yet figured out if it will get along with food pictures, it’s already vastly improved the quality of other indoor shots. Come see for yourself!
- Guess what? We’re at T-Minus-5-Days until we depart for the Napa Grilling weekend that you sent us on. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!) Please, if you’ve been to Napa or live near there, tell us where to go. We’ve got one afternoon and three evenings to fill with activity, and are absolutely overwhelmed by our options.
Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake
Adapted wildly from A Piece of Cake, by Susan G. Purdy via Eat
Part One: One Bowl Brownies
Adapted from Baker’s One Bowl Brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Baker’s chocolate, optional of course)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.
Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.
Cool brownies, then cut* them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake. You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.
* I find that brownies are fantastically easy to cut once they’ve been refrigerated–you end up with nice clean lines, and in this case, a sharp pizza wheel was especially helpful. Also, brownies taste better cold. I’m just saying.
Part Two: Crumb Crust
Adapted from Gourmet, 1999
I like a doubled crumb crust. I can’t get enough cookie. Below are proportions for one crust with the amounts to double the recipe in parentheses. You know you wanna.
1 1/2 cups or 5 ounces (3 cups or 10 ounces to double) finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers. Or Chocolate Teddy Grahams.
5 tablespoons (10 tablespoons to double) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (2/3 cup to double) sugar
1/8 (1/4 teaspoon to double) teaspoon salt
Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.
Part Three: Cheesecake
Adapted from the Three Cities of Spain Coffeehouse
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 cups brownie cubes (from recipe above)
Make crumb crust as directed above for 24-centimeter cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make filling and bake cake: Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.
Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.
When completely cool, top with following glaze.
Part Four: Ganache Glaze
Adapted from Purdy’s original recipe
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken up, or 1/2 cup chocolate morsels
2 ounces butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar
Grind the chocolate into powder in the food processor, scald the butter and cream in a saucepan (or in a Pyrex cup in the microwave). With the machine running, pour the hot cream/butter mixture slowly through the feed tube onto the chocolate. Blend until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down sides once or twice. Add the extract and sugar and process until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.
198 comments on brownie mosaic cheesecake
That cake looks wonderful and I usually don’t eat dessert! Looks like a good time was had by all at the party!
Oh, yes, where was I? The fainting. Phew! Can I be next on your birthday list of peeps you make cakes for? I promise to share the Nutella Ice Cream cake with Alex (5% his, 90% mine and 5% for everyone else).
I absolutely loved this post—all your details & sense of humor as well as sharing “the best way to make an excellent Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake”! Actually, cheesecake is what I always request for my birthday cakes. Everytime I read your most recent post, I think it is the best one ever—-no pressure here :)
Awww. I spent the day stuffing myself with varieties of buttery, buttery, did I say buttery, puff pastry creations to test for a reception dinner in a few weeks, am currently scarfing my way through a chinese takeout box of thai food box since even though I am not hungry it is salty goodness, and my fork just hit the cardboard. Now I Want This. Drool. And, I am lactose intolerant.
Lucky Alex!! Beautiful pictures in this post, as usual! Is that the new flash at work in the last one? Yummmmmy…
It’s been a long tradition in our household for both myself and my dear one to have cheesecake for our birthdays. This will certainly be the cake this upcoming March (although, I’ll be making it sometime this week!). It looks absolutely wonderful!
Delicious! Wicked! This must be the perfect cake for chocolate lovers….
Wow that is a lot of yummy goodness to be had. I love those Teddy grahams!
When you are in Napa, you must have lunch or dinner at Tuscany cafe. Get the filet mignon over risotto. My husband ate that daily for a month!
I don’t usually comment on your blog even though I am a big fan but when you said you were going to Napa I felt I had to since I live so close to it. One of my favorite restaurants in Napa is Bistro Don Giovanni. It is run by a husband and wife team and the food is delicious. There is both indoor and outdoor seating and sitting on the patio as it cools down in the evening is so much fun.
I would defintely go to Ad Hoc, which is Thomas Keller’s newest (it was supposed to be a burger joint but it’s ended up being permanent; I think it’s prix fixe at $40 or so for 3 course and is supposed to be great). Also, check out the CIA at Greystone — gorgeous, gorgeous building in the middle of vineyards and they do cooking demos and tours. If you have a car and want a bit of a hike, Mt. St. Helena is beautiful with views of the whole valley. And of course … you have to do a little wine tasting :) Have a wonderful time!
Sounds so yummy!
Pretty please would you tell me the flash you bought Alex? I shoot with the same camera, and have put off getting an external flash for years. I would love to know what you got that you both love so much!
I second the Ad Hoc idea. I haven’t been (plans are in the works for a night sans baby), but everyone raves about it and it’s reasonably priced.
I also love Travigne in St. Helena and my mom can’t stop talking about Taylor’s Refreshers.
Um, as if you had not sent me into virtual caloric overload with merely the words “brownie cheesecake,” you had to include a link to an eight layer chocolate peanut butter cake! My virutal arteries are crying, but my mouth is sooo watering.
Happy birthday to Alex, who is lucky to have someone make him a four-component birthday cake!
Wow. That looks incredible. I’ll be in NYC in less than two weeks attending an inline skate event… I’m sure the man and I could use some sweets. Can ya throw some at us as we roll past!? :)
Happy Birthday to Alex! Looks like he had a great one.
The cheesecake looks amazing, now I need an occasion to try it out. For a basic cheesecake recipe, I always use Lori’s, from dessertcomesfirst.com It is easy, requires no water bath, and is perfect and crack-free every time. I have made both the plain and the chocolate bullseye version to rave reviews. As an added bonus, the crust is the perfect thickness. Give it a look!
In case you want it, here is the link to Lori’s recipe…
In Napa, Auberge du Soleil was lovely a few years back as was Terra. In fact, that’s where French Laundry recommends you to go if you cannot get a reservation there. If you have a day in SF, The Slanted Door was wonderful… I miss Napa!
Those brownies look like little chunks of gold! Wow, what a cake. Now if I could only find an excuse to make it…
I actually drooled. As in literally drooled when I saw the end photo.
That Alex is indeed a lucky man (and vice versa.)
Brownies AND cheesecake?? Oh my….kill me now
This looks and sounds absolutely brilliant! What a lucky birthday boy!
Well, that certainly falls into the OMG! I have to make that! category. Now . . . just to figure out who to make it for. The end photo was the clincher for me.
Alex is certainly a lucky fella. This looks downright sinful. I have a feeling the gentleman in my life would tell me that it looked too rich, and then proceed to go back for seconds. He always claims that I’m the bigger chocolate fan, but then he starts suggesting that I make the really good brownies or the chocolate sorbet again…
I am Definitely smitten with this recipe…whoa I have nevr actually drooled at work.
Holy Shamoley! That looks amazing. Oh darn, my husband’s birthday just went by last weekend. I’ll have to think of another occasion for this. Oh, hey, that’s right… MY birthday is coming up in a few weeks! Whoo-hooo! Happy b-day, me.
Thanks for the recipe, and for the Teddy Graham revelation. Those Nabisco chocolate wafers are always ungodly expensive and hard to find anyway.
I second the nomination to check out Tra Vigne in St. Helena. But try to spend some time in St. Helena in general, because it’s a neat little town that’s often overlooked amidst the excitement of the rest of the Napa Valley. If you have a bit of time in St. Helena, indulge in a mud bath at Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs Resort. Its sign is campy and cheesy, but it’s a really awesome place, full of spunk and character. Even though you’re not a meat-a-tarian, Hurley’s in Yountville is worth the trip. Great wine list (duh) but also a genuinely interesting menu, including some very delicious salads.
Well, that totally makes up for the strawberry/raspberry pictures. I think I might have to use one of these as my wallpaper. (Homer Simpson-esque drooling.)
Rutherford Grill for the best ribs you’ve ever had. This meal, with a Kendall cabernet is in my top five meals of all time. Have fun in Napa!
Criminey, I get back from a decadent week in California to see blogs full of cheesecake, banana bread with lotsa butter, and heavy meats–and all of it looks delicious. Are you people tryin’ to kill me?
(Great recipe, even if you are!)
My husband works in the winery business in Napa, so I’ve got a few suggestions. Great places to go wine tasting….Heitz (great port), Duckhorn (need reservations, beautiful winery), Silverado (great winery, great views of the valley) and for some gourmet cooking items or yummy sandwiches, you should go to Dean & Deluca in St Helena.
This is SO getting bookmarked, my husband turns 30 in November, I swear you could have been talking him, with the cheesecake brownie chocolate thing (we just need to add chocolate chip cookies in there).
I’m not even going to bother to ask if this is what he wants, because why waste my breath.
Looks way too amazing for words. Hopefully, I’ll have a lazy saturday soon to make it. I am so jealous. I’m with Alex, almost everything can be improved with chocolate!
Oh, I’ve used Teddy Grahams as a replacement for chocolate wafers in crusts for years now! They make a killer chocolate linzer torte.
The cheesecake looks scrumptious!
Another amazing, drool-worthy recipe!
If you get a chance to spend a night in San Francisco, I highly, HIGHLY recommend Bar Crudo. It’s possibly the most delicious seafood meal I’ve ever had. They make a made to order seafood chowder with applewood smoked bacon that turned my normally vegetarian friend into a carnivore.
In the Napa area my suggestions are: Cakebread winery’ reserve chardonnay (Napa), V Sattui winery’s muscat (St. Helena), Ad Hoc, Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery (all in Yountville)
Also, If you are venturing out to SF, bring layers! Traveling from one side of the city to the other is a difference of full sun and drizzly fog!
We heartily recommend Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena and Mustards Grill in Yountville. They’re both on OpenTable. :)
I definitely agree with the Ad Hoc recommendation. I went there for my birthday and had a great time…I have also gone to Tra Vigne and was not thrilled. Taylor’s Automatic Refresher is delish- great burgers and garlic fries!!
This cake is so decadent! Guess who’s going to bake it when she comes home? Honestly, it’ll be my welcome home cake for myself, forget the fact that it’s 36 degrees outside (I’ve totally forgotten how Fahrenheit works). Alex is so lucky!
That cheesecake looks to die for! And how much do I love that you referenced Buffy??? I think I might have to ask for this one for my Bday (end of the month). I don’t think I’ll be disappointed!
Oh my goodness, brownies in cheesecake, sounds like pure heaven!
I live only 1 1/2 hours from Napa, so I am pretty familiar with the area.
If I could only visit 1 winery for a tour, it would be Jarvis. They are up the hill on Hagen Road. Going on their tour is like walking into the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz. They do charge $30 each and you must make a reservation, but it is well worth going. I am late for an appointment and have to run, but check out their website http://www.jarviswines.com
If you are in Yountville, definitely make a pilgrimage to Kellerland and go to Ad Hoc for dinner and stop by Bouchon Bakery for the namesake bouchons: champagne-cork shaped brownie nuggets of bliss. But skip Bouchon the bistro; you can get steak frites anywhere!
In St. Helena, you will have a terrific meal at Terra. The sake-marinated black cod with shrimp dumplings is the signature dish, and it’s so good you’ll consider licking the bowl. Personally, I don’t think you’ll be missing much if you pass on Tra Vigne. You can get better regional Italian elsewhere, and it’s crawling with female tourists who think they’re going to run into Michael Chiarello.
For wine tasting, try to stay on the Silverado Trail. Highway 29 is choked with tour buses and will test your patience for driving at 7 miles an hour. Miner and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellar (of Cask 23 fame, not Stags’ Leap Winery) will pour their library wines, not just their standard stuff.
I echo the advice about layering if you’re coming into San Francisco. We have foggy-damp summers and it’s been in the mid-60s lately.
Have a great time!
I think I just died of bliss a little bit. Cheesecake is my favorite food. But with ganache and brownie and chocolate crust? Oh my HOLY. You are my new very best friend and if I wasn’t done having children, I’d name one after you. Thank you.
angÃƒÂ¨le in napa. it’s right on the river. very romantic.
Agggh, you just blew my mind with that blow-by-blow breakdown of Alex’s cake. Bravo! It’s looks fantastic and I am sure he has no regrets.
chocolate teddy grahams are sooo good! i’m only in a chocolate mood around, ahem, once a month… my downfall is salty foods, not sweets but you’ve somehow managed to rope me into this one… think my man will die, i’ll make sure he thanks you!
hope you have tons of fun! the weather was soooo nice this past weekend!
do make sure you go to Yountville! It’s like disneyland for us foodies!
I second the Rutherford Grill… because they have this artichoke. Arrrrtichoke. I routinely refer to it as the “artichoke place” and have been known to demand, when visiting friends in Napa, to “eat arrrrrtichokes!” It’s grilled and spicy and mmm. Brix is good too, if I recall… Have fun!
I am hereby putting my order in for this cake for my next birthday. I will depart from Atkins for one meal!
What an amazing and decadent birthday cake- woot!
Be sure to stop by Taylor’s Automatic Refresher for a mid-day fish taco or burger.
I love that picture of the finger and the cake!
LOOK at that cake. Sigh, now I really regret not being able to make it on Friday.
Holy mackeral! Could that cake be anymore delicious please?
Okay, on Napa, I have many an opinion. First, you simply must get up to Hess Collection (and not just because that’s Wine Guy’s employer): http://www.hesscollection.com/, but because they have an art gallery in their winery. The wine is lovely (I tend to prefer reds and opt for their Cab Sauv, but their Chardonnay is love-able), and the view is gorgeous. If you have a chance, get to the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena (http://www.ciachef.edu/visitors/gs/), the building looks like Hogwarts, and they cooking students fare will delight your senses. Other things to consider: Fume (http://www.fumebistro.com/) and Rutherford Grill (http://www.yelp.com/biz/Jo6ysQjXw7Xebtm94CHxrw). For tasting, consider a side-trip out to Sonoma, because they have more down-to-earth wineries out in Healdsburg and that area (http://www.vervu.com/wineries.htm).
I know it’s all about the food and the wine tasting, but the drive out to St. Helena and Calistoga is to die for. There are “designer” outlets in Yountville and a mall built inside an old winery…you can’t miss it as you head down Highway 29, just take the Yountville exit – it’s an adorable town with a cute little French bakery, too (near the famous French Laundry).
Alright, I’ve probably left you with enough! Have a wonderful time — it’s hard not to!
Just got back from our second trip to Napa… I would highly recommend the Oakville Grocer (on Highway 29) — a gourmet shop to pick up a picnic lunch… they make the most amazing sandwiches… I am starting to salivate just thinking about it. We are eaters, but I tend not to love big lunches because they just ruin my appetite for dinner, so this is a perfect option, plus you can take the food with you to most wineries, so you don’t miss out on wine tasting time. Try to make reservations in advance for some of the smaller wineries– otherwise you might not get in. We went to Peju Province (worth it!) and Mumms for champagne on this trip as well as Kuleto Estate (VERY off the beaten path… very scary 10 minute drive up the driveway on a cliff). We were actually in town for a wedding at Auberge du Soliel. Overrated, I think.
Schramsberg was my favorite place when we visited Napa for my 40th birthday a couple of years ago. They made me a complete convert.
I just finished THREE months of horrible morning sickness, I think I shall celebrate with cheesecake!!!! Thanks for the inspiration.
I love the improvements you have made to the original recipe and agree with your reasoning for all of them! I should have thought of refrigerating the brownies because my “squares” were a little sloppy, spoiling the mosaic effect somewhat, and you’re right, cold brownies do taste better, they’re fudgier that way. Thanks for making a good recipe even better!
Hi, I love your site! I wanted to chime in with a recommendation in Napa. Go do a tasting at Del Dotto. Here’s a link:
http://www.deldottovineyards.com/html/visit_us.html It’s worth the $$…a really fun time–but be prepared to leave blasted (ie, have a driver waiting for you)! You’ll learn all you ever wanted to know about oaking wines:-) Have a great trip!
That teddy photo is scary.
I’m contacting PETA…
i emailed this link to my man as a suggestion for his own birthday cake. he too emailed back and said “oh my god, yes”. i did a test run over labor day for a friends bbq. i used whole foods brand chocolate teddy bears, and lacking a food processor (a tragedy that was remedied yesterday!!) i set my boyfriend to the task of pulvarizing them with his fist. the result? AMAZING. the best part? the pain of the end of the cheesecake is lessoned just a little by the fact that there are brownies left over.
i made this last night (well, over the course of several days, but it was consumed last night) and it was fantastic! i love how the brownies somehow take on the cheesecake consistency and it’s one smooth, decadent concoction and not ultra-palpable chunks of chocolate. i made it with a graham cracker crust because i love the cheesecake/graham combo. divine. thanks for the recipe(s).
I’m making this cheesecake right now and I have a suggestion for what to do with the left over brownie bits (my leftovers were actually more like brownie sticks). I was over eager and started the ganache soon after I put the cake in the oven. Instead of trying to revive the ganache later, I just put the brownies in a bowl and drizzled the ganache over that. Hooray for problem solving!
I finally made this and it was so good. Thanks for the recipe!
I never thought there’d be a recipe like this, sure I’ve thought about it..but never really thought there’d actually BE one. I need to try it.
…I am obsessed with your website!!! I made the cooks brownies for my boyfriend for valentines day (as well as the cheesecake brownies and the blondies) and used a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut them out. Now I have all these brownie scraps and am planning a dinner party this evening with this cake as the main attraction… I have never liked baking before until I ran across the recipes you’ve posted.
p.s. I made black bottom pot bellies cupcake- liked it so much I revised the recipe and added lemon zest and lemon juice to cupcake batter, a drop of raspberry perserves and white chocolate to the cheesecake…. YUM! they turned out excellent,.
This is absolutly and totally the best cake I’ve ever made. It was stunning, and I’m recommending it to everyone I can! :)
Thanks for a great blog, have been cooking up loads of your ideas recently and they’re all really great!
Hi. So I’m trying to make this cheesecake for thursday. but i don’t have a food processor. blargh!! do you think i could heat the butter and cream in a saucepan, dump in the chocolate to melt it, and then use my hand-held kitchenaid mixer…like…on speed 5/7? what does “scald” even mean? sigh. *feels helpless*
otherwise, i’ve been in love w/ your website and have made many a yummy recipe. hurrah! :]
Ok, so I made this cheesecake as a trial run for a desert to take to a diner party. You see I’m the “cook”, when I get invited to a party usually I’m one of the few, if not the only one who actually cooks anything (how sad, cooking to me is so relaxing and fulfilling), everyone else caters or goes to the market to get a pre-made something and repacks it into a plate from home. So I wanted to give this a trial run and get opinions before I showed up at the party with it, the best complement I got was, “Did you make this or buy it?” My wife loved it so much she asked me to never make it again; she didn’t want it sitting around too long, something about it going to her hips.
Anyway, back to the cheesecake; the leftover brownies my two daughters were happy to take care of between their lunch boxes and after school snack. They were the easiest brownies I have ever made.
I must confess that I have never made a cheesecake from scratch. I usually do the graham cracker crust recipe; the best I can remember it’s a combination of cream cheese and Jell-O pudding, I believe. It taste more like a lemon flavored ice box pie to me and less like a cheesecake, for that reason it’s been years since I’ve made it too.
If I would have known how easy a true cheesecake was to make, I would have tried it long ago. I loved how the brownies gave a bite of chocolate goodness in the middle of a rich and creamy cheesecake. It’s a process to make, so my suggestion to anyone who tries this that has not ever made a cheesecake from scratch, give yourself enough time to get it all finished. It’s best to make the brownies the day before and refrigerate them. Mine were at room temperature for the trial run and I made them the night before for the one I took to the party. Not a different taste just easier to handle and clean pieces of brownies.
Outstanding recipe!! Everyone should give it a shot…
I made this using brownies baked in a special pan that snakes all over the place so that ever brownie is an edge brownie. The extra edges helped the brownies hold up in the cheesecake (and hold up their taste as well!)
Looks SO good. Was wondering if you have any suggestions for a cheesecake that is not very thick.
Just made this for my hubby’s birthday. what a dreamy cake! i was so pleased about the way it tasted and looked!
GOODNESS ME! I happen to be a fanatic of both cheesecake and brownies, PARTICULARLY together, so naturally I had to try this recipe. To um, please my co-workers. That’s it.
As far as the crust goes, I didn’t have any Teddy Grahams on hand and I really don’t care for plain graham cracker crust, so I used those nice soft leftover brownies and pushed them into the pan to make a brownie crust. It’s in the oven now, so I’m hoping it’ll turn out well!! Thanks so much for this post!
This was fantastic. You are my favorite. This cheesecake will for sure be a repeat offender in my house.
Hey Deb, Quick question… I have made this twice now with the doubled teddy graham crust and both times the crust has come out really tough. As in a fork will not do to cut it with, you need a knife. What am I doing wrong?
You might want to not double the cookie crust. Cookie crusts are really just that — cookies, kind of reformed into cookies in a different shape. But if you find it too hard, you can use less — or even seek out a potentially softer cookie, like an Oreo.
Hi smitten kitchen, i absolutely adore your website and check it religiously every day. my ultimate favorite (and most baked) recipe from your site has got to be the crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookies, they’re also absolutely brilliant with m&ms/cranberries/whatever i can find at home :)
first up, i need your help on this. your brownie mosaic cheesecake looks divine and i would like to bake it this weekend but am wondering if my brownie cubes will stay in the batter as pretty as yours, or will they all float to the top of the cake? that is exactly what happened with my oreo cheesecake. i’d baked a NY cheesecake and broke about 10 oreos into quarters and folded them into my batter. the taste was lovely but all the cookies floated to the top of the cake leaving me with quite a nude centre… any advice for that?
and sorry for the helleva long post!! once again, i love u! x
I made this last night and brought it to a coworkers going away lunch today. They devoured the whole thing (not even a crumb left!) in 10 minutes. I didn’t even get a piece, but they said it was fabulous and it was a blast to make. I made the crust with a mix of Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies and Oreos and people raved about it. I have yet to make a recipe from your site that everyone hasn’t adored. Thank you! :)
I made this for a get-together last night and it was awesome! I used a boxed brownie mix (not a “grocery store” kind, a gourmet brand), the cheesecake recipe here, and skipped the ganache. It turned out beautifully (not too far off of your pictures!) and it was absolutely delicious. I had never made a cheesecake before (thanks for giving me the confidence to try it!) I used teddy grahams for the crust and it was wonderful as well. Thanks for a fabulous recipe – can’t wait to try more!
And to “doll” – my brownie chunks (I cut them into 3/4″ squares) disbursed nicely throughout the cheesecake – no “floaters” or “sinkers” – just a mosaic. Lovely!
Your cake looks gorgeous.
Does this cake need a water bath?
i saw a similar recipe (which I have not yet tried either) here http://www.leitesculinaria.com/recipes/cookbook/brownie_cheesecake.html
from the Junior Cheesecake Cookbook. I like the idea of a brownie crust baked along with the brownies. Their cream cheese layer has whipped cream in addition to cheese cake, but there’s no ganache topping – they swirl in chocolate instead. (I’m sure one can adapt this recipe to include a brownie crust too). Now I have to justify trying both.
Help SmittenKitchen!!! I promised a chocolate cheesecake and have never made one. Could you please let me know how to adapt your above filling – add melted chocolate or cocoa powder? and how much? I don’t have much time and your recipes have without exception, turned out perfectly for me.
Okay, I need to breathe deeply apparently. I just found your other recipe for chocolate cheesecake – in my panic, I just saw caramel. Sheesh…
Wow – I’m making a coffee ice cream cake for my roommate’s birthday – do you have a recipe for nutella/espresso ice cream cake? If not, just curious how you incorporated the nutella? I’m making a chocolate cake base, using hagan daaz or some delicious coffee ice cream but want to give it more zing!
I wonder what happens when you melt nutella… I’d love some insight or ideas.
Thanks a bunch!
Love the recipes!
Just wanted to ask a quick question: Is it possible to cook a cheesecake without a springform pan? I’m a college student on a very strict budget, and I just can’t afford to buy a cheesecake pan.
It is. It is more difficult however. Basically, the springform pan makes it easy to slide the cheesecake (which you know, is heavy and wet so it can’t be flipped out of a pan like a regular dry layer cake) out of the pan. You might try lining the whole inside of a regular pan with tight foil to see if it makes it easier to lift the whole cake out.
Also, worth noting (and believe me, budget or not, I’m always struggling with which pans are worth buying due to a desire not to own every cooking implement on earth) is that you can bake regular cakes in springforms, but you it’s harder to bake cakes that need springforms in regular pans. So it might be worth going for the springform in the size you want next time you’re shopping for a pan.
this recipe was amazing! i ended up having to use oreos for the crust, and had to make my own powdered sugar. it was soo good! thanks for the recipe!
Have you ever tried Bunny Grahams instead of Teddy Grahams for the crust?
When in Napa… travel over to St. Helena & visit Woodhouse Chocolates! Try the Cinnamon French Toast Truffle & these biscuits (cookies) with caramel sandwiched between then dipped in chocolate & sprinkled with sea salt. You will definately not be disappointed!
isn’t it sad to crush all the little teddies for the crust?
No, that’s half the fun. ;)
do you use all the brownie chunks in the cheesecake? also, how long will this keep in a fridge before being served?
You only need two cups of them, now edited more clearly. Cheesecakes keep for several days in the fridge.
mmm… i’m in the process of making this for my boyfriend’s mom’s birthday tomorrow and because i’ve planned so well (yay timing) i’m using my favorite brownie recipe (martha stewart’s fudgy chocolate brownies + a dash of cinnamon) and swirled in some raspberry puree as i thought it might be too chocolate heavy. thanks for the recipe, i think it’s going to be a stunner!
I can’t wait to make this! I’m planning on baking them in individual dishes though as I don’t have a springform pan. I think I actually fell in love with the picture of this cheesecake.
I found this recipe yesterday and new it must be made immediately. After the brownies came out of the oven I found myself asking, “Why have I never made brownies from scratch before?”. I can tell you one thing for sure- never again will a box of brownie mix find its way into my pantry. I unfortunately had to consume a lot of the brownie cubes that I determined to be unsuitable for the cheesecake (you know- too many crumbs, too small, too big, too irregularly shaped, too incredibly delicious to make it all the way into the batter). I’m sure you understand. Thanks for sharing! Oh and the finished result was completely worth all the snacking I did along the way.
I made this for my son’s Baptism and it was a huge hit! This is now my go-to cheesecake recipe.
Made this for my husband’s birthday and loved it! So impressive-looking and even with 4 steps, it was VERY easy. The only think that took a long time was the cooling! Make the brownies the night before and it’s smooth sailing from there. Thanks again Deb!
I made this for my dad’s birthday – Four of us (including my mum, my grandma and I, who really don’t eat that much) polished off half the cake. It was incredible, thank-you so much!!
I made this last night! It is an amazingly impressive dessert!
Is bittersweet chocolate different than dark?
I can’t believe this recipe has been online for over two years and not one person has made a joke about the fact that you used teddy bear cookies for the crust and then said in Part Three said to add two cups of brownie cubs to the cheesecake.
I made this today for my daughters 13th birthday. She wanted cheesecake and loves chocolate. Anyway I wanted to say thank you. The recipe was easy to follow and the cake turned out delicious. I received a lot of compliments, including from several people who claimed not to normally like cheesecake (I know what’s wrong with them?). Thanks again.
I made this a few days ago for Thanksgiving dinner. This was amazing. While there were a lot of steps, it was quite easy and looked beautiful. Definetely had the wow factor. Thanks Deb for another great recipe. Btw, I baked it in a 9 inch springform pan (it’s what I have) and had no problems, just baked 5 minutes longer. This recipe is definetely a keeper!
I was looking at the Chocolate caramel cheesecake and the recipe above . You didn’t mention using a water bath (bain-marie) in either of the recipes. I was wondering if I need it and if one was used would it affect the crumb crust? Thanks a lot and I love your site !
Sandy — Yes, I do gravitate towards cheesecake recipes that don’t require a water bath. You can always still use one; the idea behind them is that they preventing cracking and some say lead to a silkier texture. But the texture of the non-water bath cheesecakes has never bothered me (seems plenty creamy, smooth) and those sour cream toppings cover any cracks. Except this cheesecake didn’t yield any cracks, anyway, so yay.
thank you so much for sharing this recipe! my boyfriend is also a chocoholic; his birthday is tomorrow and i’m going to make this amazing cake for his party. i can’t wait to try it.
Thank you for this recipe! I made it this weekend for my dad’s birthday, and blogged all about it. It was delicious!
Hi Deb. I want to make this recipe and need to buy a springform pan. I noticed it calls for a 24 centimeter pan which is approx 9.5 inches. Should I buy a 9 or 10 inch – which pan are cheesecakes usually made with? And will baking time be affected? Thanks!
Megan — I think that 9-inch springforms will generally take you further; they’re a little more common. However, if you buy a 10-inch, you can always use it for both. Cakes intended for a 9-inch pan will come out slightly, slightly thinner, but they’ll still work. And you’ll never have to worry about a cake for a 10-inch pan overflowing in your 9-inch.
Thanks Deb. I ended up buying a 9 inch. I made this for my book club last night and everyone was in heaven. It’s the most perfect combination – cheesecake and brownies:)
When I made this cheesecake it was absolutely delicious, but for some reason never firmed up. I did put a layer of raspberries on the bottom, but I don’t think this should have affected it. Do you have any suggestions?
Made this for my mom’s birthday. It was a hit and looked just like the picture. I used a 9-inch pan and it seemed like the perfect size. I somehow even managed to not have a crack!!!! Amazing for me. Would definately make again. A few steps but definately worth it and the leftover brownies tied you over for the real deal!
Made this cake for my sisters birthday, it was a huge hit. It was so creamy and it didn’t crack on top. One thing though my didn’t slice near as perfect as your picture. Everyone loved it and I will definitely make this again for a special occasion.
This looks perfect for my chocolate / cheesecake / toffee obsessed boyfriend! (i’m gonna try using toffee sauce instead of ganache, i’ll let you know if it works!)
Just wondered – i’ll probably have to make it about 3 days in advance, will it be ok in the fridge if I wrap it in clingfilm?
p.s I hate to do the ‘i-love-your-blog-and-follow-it-all-the-time’ thing, but I really do!!!!
Laura — Cheesecakes keep really well in the fridge. You should be fine.
quick plea for help/info-I am looking to make something decadant but cute for my cousin’s bridal shower, do you think this would translate well to mini-cheese cake molds? how many days in advance do you think I could get away with making this two? the day before?, any other ideas for mini desserts for a crowd that wont kill me to make the day before ( I love baking but dont want to spend a whole weekend cooking if you know what I mean), your key lime tarts look soo cute but I dont think I can do them the day before
ooh also want to put green frosted “K”s on my mini creations (shes a big fan of green) can you recommend a good frosting recipie that is easy to pipe?
Most quick buttercreams (the back-of-the-box recipe with powdered sugar, butter and milk) pipe well and are quick to make. I’ve also piped white chocolate ganaches before, tinted with color, catching them before they were too firm to pipe well.
Hi Deb! Just wanted to say THANK YOU for this incredible recipe! My husband picked it out of a lineup for what he wanted for his birthday. Followed your recipe to the letter and it turned out incredibly. Here’s a link to the photo collage if you or anyone is interested in seeing our finished product, tacky Corelle plate and all.
Hi Deb, I am making this recipe as I type this (on the brownie step now). I have a question about the recipe. For the cheesecake part, it says: “Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan….” I’m assuming this means just put the cream cheese/brownie mix into the springform pan that has the cookie crust, correct? It is confusing to me because it says to pour mixture into the prepared pan and then to pour filling into the crust. Can you clarify when you get a chance. Thank you!!
I made this and it was incredible!
I did have a question though. What would I need to change in order to make this in cupcake form? Or what can i do to turn any cheesecake recipe into a cheesecake cupcake recipe?
This wa my first cheescake made from scratch.
Loved It! The crust was hard made with the Teddy crackers, maybe a different crust next time-I like someone’s idea for using the leftover brownies-yum. Also I agree with making the brownies the day before and refigigerate for clean lines.
I added orange extract in the gnache instead of vanilla and loved it-the hubs loves it too!!!!!!
Thanks for this recipie it was a ton of fun
Just had to say – thanks so much for the recipe! I made this and the rugelach pinwheels yesterday. Got rave reviews and both were so much fun to make. I have made 6 or 7 recipes from your sight and have loved them all.
Excellent! And you’re right — brownies taste better cold!
Made this cheesecake for Valentine’s Day. Wow. Perfectly decadent.
Woops! The cheesecake’s in the oven and I just realized I’m a moron! I live in Europe so I have no idea how many ounces a cream cheese package is, and I completely misread.. I thought the total amount should be 3 ounces (that’s about 220 gr), which is a package and a bit more.. I thought the filling was too runny, so I checked your other cheesecake recipes and then got it.. Ugh, I’m so furstrated, I REALLY wanted that cheesecake.. I hope it isn’t completely inedible or I’ll just take comfort in those extra brownie cubes.
OMG! I <3 this blog. I can always count on you to give me an over-the-top great idea. I made this, though not as homemade as yours, and it came out fantastic. Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas!
i made the cheesecake this weekend & it was seriously the BEST thing i’ve ever made. i’m not even kidding. everyone was raving and raving about it! i made a couple of tweaks that i thought i’d share in case there’s some gluten sensitive/celiac people out there:
-i used gluten free brownies. market pantry brand, to be exact.
-for the crust i used two kinds of cookies (i think we’re similar when it comes to crust love). i used pamela’s gluten free triple chocolate chunk cookies as well as chocolate covered chocolate wafers (i can’t remember the brand but they were gluten free)
-i doubled the amount of dark chocolate for the ganache. needless to say it was super rich.
thanks so much for this recipe! you helped make my friend’s birthday perfect!
No food processor here – but i would imagine i just pour hot cream and butter over finely chopped chocolate and then whisk in the butter and vanilla?
You probably meant brownie cubes rather than brownie “cubs” in the cheesecake ingredients, unless MORE BEARS were SLAIN to make this cake??!! Oh the humanity!!
Edan — Ha! Typo fixed now, thanks.
Deb, hi my name is Kelly. I’m a real big fan of you and your blog. (Even though I just stumbled upon it a couple of weeks ago)
Anyway, this is the first recipe of yours I made. I did mostly everything you said (including doubling the recipe of the crust) However, I used your “Best Cocoa Brownies” recipe for the filling. It was SO DELICIOUS. Also, before this, I had never a) made a cheesecake nor b) used a springform pan. Thank you so much!
My one question is this: Do you usually rest your cheesecake in the oven after the baking time ends? Because I read on other websites that you’re supposed to rest it 30-60 minutes in the oven after baking. I, however, did not and it was lovely. Thanks again!
Kelly — I’ve never rested one in the oven before. I do, however, not open or cut it until it is 100% chilled, so that it sets.
Thanks for the recipe, and all the other great ones on your site!
I want to make this at the weekend. Please can you advise:
a) type of flour used
b)type of sugar used
All-purpose flour and white granulated sugar. In almost all U.S. recipes, those are the defaults when not otherwise specified. (In newer recipes, I am more careful to note this. But if you’re ever digging in the archives, you can assume the defaults.)
You have inspired me! My Chocoholic- food piggy’s birthday is this coming Friday and I have scoured the net and not found the “amazingly perfect” B-Day cake idea. Still haven’t exactly…I never follow recipes BUT your idea of brownies in the batter is nothing short of brilliant!
Dinner is Italian themed. My menu is outrageously wonderful and I needed the right finally to top off the time & money expense.
I will make the cheese batter increasing the batter by half. (I want a tall cake)
I will divide the batter into 3 bowls.
Swirl a small amount of “flavouring’ into each bowl so you have flavoured and plain batter.
Bowl 1=amaretto liqueur
Bowl 2=Coffee liqueur
Bowl 3= Fresh Raspberries along with some raspberry liqueur
Into which Brownies will go a touch of my home made vanilla & almond extract plus some nuts in the batter.
*A pre-baked cookie disk goes between each layer to soften
(similar to those cookie cakes made with cream and small brown wafers that become cake like after sitting a while)
-Topped off with a very large chocolate biscuit disk with raspberry puree – topped with Nutella (to soften the cookie disk)
-Then totally en-robe the cake in ganache
-Large whipped cream rosettes, chocolate flake, baby canoli on each rossette
-Fresh raspberries glazed with raspberry jam thinned with raspberry liqueur.
-A raised chocolate disk layered over(the raspberries) with the words Happy Birthday.
I’m calling it my Chocolate-Piggy Cake
I am a chef by trade but I am not a baker or cake decorator-that I do for fun and ONLY for family and friends birthdays.It’s a labour of love for me.
Thank you! Your site is totally inspirational and fun to read.
i just have one question. In the crust recipe, if im doubling the crust, do i measure the cookies [or teddy grahams] before or after crushing them? Is it 10 oz before or after they are crushed? thank you. i will be making this very soon and it looks divine.
Hi, Thanks for this awesome recipe. I made it for my hubby’s 39th birthday and he loved it! It was a longish process but each step was very easy so I enjoyed making it and it turned out great. The only thing was some parts of the cheesecake didn’t solidify completely. I am not sure what I did wrong. More cooking time? Longer in the fridge? I followed the instructions exactly. Maybe just my oven? Any insight would be great as Iwill very likely make this again! Thanks again!!! Super blog!!! LOVE your work! Very inspiring!
well this is a super late reply, but if you read the original recipe Deb linked, the cheesecake is baked for 45 mins, then topped with a sour cream mix and baked again for another 10 mins.
So the total baking time would be closer to 55 mins.
Just getting back to you to tell you the cake went over fantastically and I have you to thank for the idea. I skipped my idea to add most of the modifications and stayed true to your vision. I think it was a smart move.
English equivalent of Teddy Grahams anyone? Have no idea of their texture so a bit lost?
A chocolate flavored digestive biscuit would work — do those exist?
Hi Deb, this recipe looks amazing; I can’t wait to try it! I’ve made a few cheesecakes in the past (bake, no-bake, water bath and without), but I have always baked the crust for a few minutes, let it cool and then put the cheesecake filling on top. You mentioned that you place the cake on a pan to catch drips here as you don’t bake the crust first. I realize it would add time to the recipe, but could you bake the crust before adding the cheesecake and brownie filling? Or would it get too dry and hard to bake it twice? Thanks.
I never, ever prebake cheesecake crusts. I think that most of them would become overbaked as they usually start with already baked cookies then go into the oven for at least an hour. I wouldn’t recommend it here.
I’m planning to make this cheesecake soon and had a question about the crust–the directions say to press the crust only one inch up the side. That doesn’t seem very deep. Does the batter overflow the crust? From the photos, it looks like it might, but it is hard to tell due to the lighting.
Thank you! I’m so excited to make this. It looks delicious, and I know my boyfriend is going to love it!
This looks awesome! I am hoping to make this for my love for valentine’s day. I have three mini heart spring form pans (4″ each). Do you have any recommendations for altering the cook time or temp, due to the smaller size? Thanks so much! I can’t wait to make this!
I want to make this for my co-workers for Valentine’s Day, but wanted something a little more portable by using a cupcake pan. I was planning using the crusts at the bottom of the mold and then chopping up the brownies more finely and poking a few pieces into the cheesecake. My question is: how long would I bake these mini-sized cheesecakes? Thanks for all your help!
Omg. I stayed up until 2a making this today. I stuck it in the fridge and went to bed. I got up this morning to make sure I didn’t kill it. Of course I had to taste it before I shared it with other people. WOW! SO TASTY! And I nailed my first cheesecake! Thanks for the great recipe. And the over abundance of brownies for snacking!
Made this chocolate cheesecake over the Memeorial Day Weekend and it was a hit. Thank You!
I was looking for a brownie cheesecake recipe. I added yours to Pinterest awhile ago, and revisited today. I googled brownie mosiac cheesecake to see what other recipes were. And I’m pretty sure someone ripped you off.
Here’s the link: http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2012/01/brownie-mosaic-cheesecake.html
I’ve just noticed that it was the exact same recipe, and, while you consistently use parenthetical statements in your ingredients list, Mel does not. She does not credit you on the site. It’s sad.
Yours was the best googled recipe, in case you were wondering. Making the cheesecake tonight.
Good golly, the above commenter is certainly right about that recipe. It’s identical. And what’s more, many of the other recipes over there are rather familiar looking, as well… After reading a few of the recipes, it seems obvious that that other blogger is aware of your site, and even links to you on occasion. It seems like she borrows very heavily from your repertoire, without directly giving any credit. This seems like poor form to me (not to mention unimaginative).
Thank you so much for this recipe! Ive made this twice already and still havent gotten to get a good slice for myself. its gone in thirty seconds. i plan on making it again tomorrow. (hopefully i can get a decent slice!)
FYI: It looks like “Mel” has updated her post giving credit to Smitten Kitchen.
I REALLLLLLY wanna try this one out.
I am trying to make this now – brownies are cooking. (And they tasted and looked good prior to baking!) All I have is a square 25cm spring form pan or circular regular ones…wonder if I ought to wait until I find the proper size of if they will still be thick enough with this large square pan.
I found this recipe months ago and was initially scared off by the number of steps involved. But the idea of it haunted me, and when you posted your brownie recipe recently, I was reminded of this cake and baked it yesterday for my husband’s birthday. It is SO wonderful! Just curious about one thing – why is the brownie recipe for the cake for a larger quantity than your original brownie recipe, when it makes more brownie cubes than needed? If I had created the recipe, I would say one can never have too many brownies, regardless of the purpose – is that the reason? ;)
Wendy — The brownie recipe for the cheesecake (here) yields a thinner 9×13-inch layer because I wanted loads of tiny cubes. Over the years, I’ve shifted the recipe to a taller brownie that I bake in a 8×8 pan, you know, to limit the amount of damage we could do per batch. ;)
Made this for a grandparent visit – used chocolate graham crackers since the chocolate teddy grahams were apparently in hibernation. I also just microwaved the butter & milk for the ganache and then added the rest of the ingredients. Everything was wonderful. Brownies are fudgie & husband and I have worked on the leftovers. Cheesecake turned out excellent and my husband is refusing to share with our neighbors! Thanks for another great recipe.
My goodness this was fantastic – and I don’t usually even like cheesecake! I made this in celebration of my 6 year old’s first day of first grade and it definitely delivered. Each time I make one of your celebration cakes I think “THIS is the best one yet!” Thanks again SK.
Hi Deb, I’m planning on making this to share for Christmas. I don’t have a springform pan… would a regular cake pan be ok to use? Thanks! Looks delish!
Andrea — Cheesecakes can be baked in regular pans but they’re a) hard to remove (you can’t reverse a cheesecake onto a cooling rack; it will fall apart if it comes out at all), and b) will often need a bigger one as springforms usually have 3-inch sides and regular cake pans usually have 2-inch. I don’t remember how tall this particularly cheesecake was, however.
I made this for my work potluck yesterday, and it was devoured. I did double the crust, and brought it up the sides of the pan, to 1 inch from the top (of my springform). My filling just covered the top of the crust, so my cake was about 2 inchhes tall.
Andrea – based on my cake you might be able to get away with a regular cake pan, but I would probably take a little bit of the filling out to make a mini, or it might overflow.
hi deb, first-time commenter here (although i’ve been a huge fan for years). i just bookmarked this “THE cake”. just so you know. come my birthday in march i’m gonna send a lot of people into blessed, blessed yumtown by serving them this cake. i love you i love you i love you!
i think i this is gonna be THE cake, the cake i’m gonna be making year after year after year, for family, future kids, future grandkids (i’m 25), future neighbors, and for my future (most likely fat and happy) self. people are gonna wanna be my best friend just for this cake i tell ya. oooooohhhh holy moly i’m so excited. you have just made yourself one of the most important people in my life. because i’ll be making your cake for years and passing down this recipe to said kids and grandkids.
thank you! :)
I’ve made this cheesecake 4 or 5 times over the past 4 years (the last time being my dad’s birthday last week) and it’s always fantastic! So, thanks. A lot.
I used a 8×8 inch pan for the brownies, a 20-centimeter springform for the cheesecake, and it worked just fine.
However, since I’ve been referring to this cake as Aunt Emily’s since quite a while now, I need to ask : was the When Harry met Sally quote on purpose?
Juliette — Of course, always!
is it 8 ounces per package
Hi Deb! I’m planning on making this for a friend’s birthday, but in bar form. What would you recommend in terms of cooking time/pan size? I’m definitely going to double the crust and was thinking of baking them in a 9×13, but any other suggestions would be appreciated!
Maggie — That should probably be about right. Good luck! (P.S. Can I have some too?)
Deb, I want to tell you that you are solely responsible for being the highlight of my dad’s Father’s Day celebration now not one, but TWO years in a row. Last year, it was the cheesecake brownies, and this year, it was this absolutely stunning cheesecake that we finished devouring less than an hour ago. I can’t thank you enough for not only your earth-shattering recipes, but for your honesty, wit and irresistible down-to-earthness that keeps me coming back again and again for inspiration. Cheers!!!!
Just wanted to chime in and say how great this recipe is. I’ve made it 3 times in the last month (!) for various birthday celebrations and it’s been gobbled down every time. Thanks!
Hi, I was wondering if I could put the cheesecake in the fridge right after it comes out of the oven, or if I’m supposed to let it cool on a rack?
Also, I was wondering how is best to make the ganache topping if I do not have a food processor.
Jumping on the ganache topping question–what does it mean to scald it in the microwave? About how long in the microwave is that?
Hi Katie — Not sure exactly how long it takes but you’re just looking to get them steamy-hot, almost simmering.
The school I teach at was having a canned good drive and I bribed my first period class that if we brought in the most cans, I’d bake for them. Of course, they brought in over 100 cans! Needless to say, when they picked this recipe, I wasn’t upset. They helped a good cause, and we all got treats. Delicious!
Hi Deb – you’ve made quite a few cheesecakes since this recipe was first posted. Do you still recommend the cheesecake recipe you have here, or have you found another one that’s better and/or easier?
Shruti — I still think this is the easiest and most straightforward.
I don’t know if I did something wrong, but, while my brownie cheesecake was good, something that I couldn’t quite pinpoint felt a little off. It may have been that the crust tasted a tad too salty? Not quite sure…
Since your cheesecake brownies are my favorite recipe on this site (because they are so delicious, and because I think it’s your funniest post ever!), it was just a matter of time before I found an occasion to make this for! Which turned out to be Sunday lunch for the family, because they are just that special. :)
I used your one bowl brownie recipe in the 8 inch pan, and that yielded the 2 cups of cubes plus some, but not too much, for nibbling.z(A good thing, considering I’d be eating brownie cheesecake the next day!) Refrigerating the brownies first did indeed make them super easy to cut cleanly; great tip.
And then, instead of the chocolate ganache, I spread the top with your deep dark salted caramel sauce. Oh my goodness, it was just incredible. The slightly salty and crunchy crust, the melt in your mouth cheesecake with soft brownie pieces, the sauce – it all just came together to make the best dessert I’ve had in ages.
Although there are a few components, some can be made ahead, so it was actually an easy dessert to make, too.
Which may turn out to be a dangerous thing………………….
Made this recipe twice – and it is definitely worth repeating! The second time I baked it in a 9’x 13′ rectangular spring-form pan. Sure the pan is not standard but I have not regretted the purchase! I did this with the peanut butter cheesecake too (amazing). I love having cheesecake “squares”-great for parties! I followed the recipe exactly, no measurement changes for the different size of pan. My only recommendation for those who do it: really watch the baking time. Since the cheesecake is a bit more spread out – it tends to cook a bit faster. I would start checking it after 35 minutes. Thank you Deb for another winning recipe!
Looks amazing! Can it be frozen? If so, would you recommend freezing it with or without the ganache?
How long can it be kept in the fridge? Thank you!!
I love this cake. I make it at several times a year for family birthdays. Yes, there are several components, but they are all simple and quick. Thanks, Deb!
This is excellent. While there are several steps, it’s a reliable recipe and pretty easy technically speaking. The nice part is that if you are making this for an occasion and it all gets eaten up by your guests, you have a private stash of leftover brownies for the rest of the week. :)
Made the brownies for purposes of rum balls (I read that originally rum balls were created to use up old cakes, and it looks like there are 2 major strains of recipes — cookie crumbs (vanilla or chocolate) + nuts, or brownie / cake based). I took them out after 30 min but they were already overbaked. Still good, but I’ll check them earlier in the future. So fast and easy!
Also, I used a Williams-Sonoma Gold Touch pan without any prep (no foil, no greasing), and it released like a champ. They were on sale in December, dunno if that’s still on.
I realize this post is very old but the cheesecake looks delicious. I have not seen this cheesecake recipe before. Me and my family are definitely going to make this one over the weekend. Thanks for sharing.
Hi! Not sure if you still check comments for posts this old but here goes:
a) I don’t have a food processor, can I make the ganache in a saucepan? Finely chop the chocolate, throw it in a saucepan, then add hot butter/cream mixture and stir, then add sugar & vanilla?
b) I was going to try oreos for the crust, would I need to adjust the liquid content at all since they’re a bit softer than teddy grahams (plus, you know, the cream filling)?
thanks for all your recipes– I’ve made probably two dozen of them and loved every single one. People literally beg me to make the sour cream coffee cake.
Alana — a) absolutely, you can also just pour simmering butter/cream over chocolate in a bowl to get it to melt. b) Not terribly different, but here’s a chocolate crust I made with chocolate wafers; feel free to use these proportions instead.
Just saw this post via your most recent blog post. Maida Heatter’s classic Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake has been in my repertoire for years (I am too lazy to run downstairs to look for the title. I’m pretty sure it’s from her Great American Desserts cookbook. I have them all.) Have always loved the fact that the brownie can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. Who doesn’t want that??? And then the ingredients are easy to fold together and bake. Everyone is always impressed by the brownie pieces suspended in cheesecake.
This is a fabulous cake that I have made many times for birthdays and special occasions. It always disappears quickly and I have never had any leftover. It is a lot of work, but totally worth it!
After seeing your talk on Friday at the 92 Y, I was inspired to bake this recipe yesterday, and it was delicious! I only had one issue: when I baked the cake, the butter from the crust escaped from the spring form pan and leaked on the baking sheet, which made the crust hard. I made 2x the crust recipe as recommended. Do you know how I can avoid this next time? I’m planning to bring it to my work holiday party! Thank you so much!
I made this for Christmas dinner! Huge success! Thank you! Am going to blog it and will give credit and a link back to you!
Totally forgot to mention that because we like a thicker cheesecake I added approximately 3/4 cup of sour cream and approx 1 tbsp of lemon juice. (I don’t really measure precisely). It makes the texture a little more reminiscent of a “New York style” cheesecake and reminds us of our lovely vacation there a few years ago. Makes us think of how delicious Junior’s cheesecake was!
I have made this cake twice, and both times it won me first place in two different – and very competitive – baking contests. And it was very easy to make, especially if you make the brownies a day in advance. I highly recommend it!!
Could you make this with an additional fudge layer (from your chocolate peanut butter cheesecake, for example?)
I’ve made this many times and it’s delicious and dreamy. Do you think I can I turn this into a chocolate chip cheesecake using blondies instead of brownies?
Ooh, I think you could!
Do you think this could be made 1 week in advance and frozen? I’m a parent of triplets and we’re celebrating with multiple cakes. This one was one of my daughter’s requests but I don’t think I can pull it off in conjunction with the others on the same weekend.
Yes, I think so.
Hi did you freeze how did it turn it out when defrosted?
I made this for a friend’s birthday and it turned out great! Only my second cheesecake ever and the recipe was super easy to follow.
I squeezed it in about 4.5 hours and would probably have preferred to make the brownies one day in advance like someone said they did in the comments, but it still worked out really well making it all the day of, considering. I used Annie’s chocolate bunnies for the crumb crust which is so buttery and delicious. A little butter escaped out of my springform and it still tasted amazing. I only had enough to 1.5 the crust, but I HIGHLY suggest doubling the crust like Deb suggests because it truly is the best part.
1) I didn’t have any unsweetened chocolate for the brownies so I used the suggestion someone posted in the comments and it came out great: sub “2 ounces of bittersweet for every 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate and decrease the amount of sugar by 2 teaspoons for every 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.”
2) I didn’t want extra brownies (I know, what’s wrong with me) so I halved the recipe and used an 8×8 pan which worked just fine.
3) The tops of the brownies cut a little crumby for me (I only chilled for a bit in the fridge) so I tried not to include the crumbs in the cake mixture.
Cake looks really pretty, especially when cut! Tastes great the next day or two chilled in the fridge. Don’t tell anyone what’s inside so that they get a very confusing but delightful surprise.
Any reason to use this ganache rather then one that doesn’t call for using a food processor?