Chocolate cheesecake….cake. I don’t know what to call this, so we’re going with chocolate cheesecake cake.
I wanted to make a chocolate cake that has a cheesecake in the middle instead of buttercream, or any other kind of filling. So I did it.
I’m so glad I did. Chocolate cheesecake with chocolate cake is a 10/10 combo, I just know I’m going to be making this a lot.
Breakdown of the process
You can probably tell by the name of this, but there is 2 parts to it…the chocolate cake layers and the cheesecake layer.
Because there is a cheesecake in the centre of the cake, you’re going to want to make this cake over 2 days. Just because the cheesecake needs to set in the fridge overnight.
So on day 1, you want to make your cheesecake layer, then put this in your fridge.
Then I also recommend making the cake layers on this day too, then you don’t need to do much on day 2.
So make your cake layers, wrap them in some cling film and leave them in the fridge too.
Don’t worry, your cakes will not become dry, just make sure to wrap them well.
Then on day 2, all you need to do is stack all the layers together, and decorate….if you want. I didn’t decorate this, I just dusted some icing sugar on top, but you could if you wanted too.
Ingredients for the cheesecake layer
Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make the cheesecake layer:
- Cream cheese – make sure to use full fat cream cheese.
- Brown sugar – granulated sugar works too, but brown sugar adds a nice flavour that complements the chocolate flavour well.
- Corn flour – also known as corn starch, this is going to thicken the cheesecake.
- Cocoa powder – unsweetened cocoa powder is best to use.
- Double cream – also known as heavy cream.
- Some chocolate – I used dark chocolate, but if you don’t like the taste of dark chocolate, you can use milk instead.
A few tips for making the cheesecake
Use warm double cream
The main reason why I say to use warm double cream is because I don’t use room temperature cream cheese. It doesn’t really matter for this cheesecake.
But since the cream cheese is cold, the batter will also be cold. So when you add the melted chocolate, it can end up setting straight away.
We don’t want this to happen, so using warm cream will warm up the batter. Now when you add the melted chocolate, you will have no issues.
Just heat the cream in your microwave for about 30 seconds. You don’t want it to boil, it should just feel a little warm.
Side note, I use cream cheese straight from the fridge because the cream cheese in the UK is soft. If you are American, or live in a place where cream cheese comes in blocks, then you should wait for it to come to room temperature. It will be too hard to mix if you don’t wait!
Don’t over beat the batter
When making the batter, try not to over beat it, mix it gently. You don’t want to incorporate too much air into it.
Bake the cheesecake in a water bath
Water baths are great when making baked cheesecakes. All they do is regulate the temperature of the cheesecake as it bake. It essentially stops the cheesecake from getting too hot.
This gives you a much smoother creamier cheesecake.
All you need to do is add your cheesecake batter into your prepared tin, then place this tin into a larger tin or roasting tray.
Fill this larger tin with some boiling water until it reaches about halfway up the tin with the cheesecake in. Now just carefully place this into your pre-heated oven!
Use the right tin
Ok so there isn’t a right tin, you just need an 8 inch one. I used a regular 8 inch cake tin.
But I wanted to mention, if you use a springform or loose bottomed tin, make sure to wrap the outside of it a few times with some tinfoil.
If you don’t, the water from the water bath will end up going into the cheesecake, this is not good.
Ingredients for the cake layers
Most of the ingredients for the chocolate cake layers are your basic ingredients. But there are a few I usually get questions about, so I felt like I should talk about them!
When coffee is used in chocolate cake recipes, it isn’t there to give the cake a coffee flavour. All it does is intensify the chocolate flavour.
I promise your cake will not taste like coffee.
If you wanted to leave it out though, you could. Just make sure to still add the hot water.
I like to use oil in this cake, instead of butter. It makes the cake much more moist.
Butter is usually used for flavour, but since this is a chocolate cake, the chocolate flavour takes over so butter doesn’t add much. Therefore, I prefer to use oil so I can get some extra moistness.
Any flavour less oil works, I used vegetable oil.
If you did want to use butter though, you could. Just melt 200g of unsalted butter.
Buttermilk adds moistness too, and the acidity also reacts with the baking soda, which helps the cake rise.
If you don’t have buttermilk, plain yoghurt works great, or sour cream works too.
Or instead you could make a buttermilk substitute by mixing together 120ml of whole milk and 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar together. Leave this for 10 minutes, then it’s ready to use.
But I will say, actual buttermilk or plain yoghurt is the best 2 options.
The last ingredient for the cake is white vinegar. We are going to mix this with the baking soda and add it into the batter.
This is something that is usually done in red velvet cake, it is what gives the cake a fluffy velvety texture. I wanted my chocolate cake to have that same fluffy velvety texture so I use it for this too.
I said to use white vinegar, but apple cider vinegar works too. Or lemon juice will be ok to use if you are in a rush and don’t want to go buy some vinegar.
Decorating this cake
Like I mentioned, I didn’t decorate this cake, I just dusted some icing sugar on top and called it a day.
I kind of liked the way it looked, I liked being able to see the 3 layers, so I left it plain.
But if you wanted to ice this cake with something, you absolutely could.
I personally would cover it with whipped cream, but a ganache would taste great or even just a buttercream. Use whatever you like!
I make a lot of cheesecakes. Here are few of my favourites, I think you might like them:
- For the cheesecake layer:
400g full fat cream cheese
100g brown sugar
30g corn flour
20g cocoa powder
150ml double cream, warm
80g dark chocolate, melted (milk chocolate works too)
- For the cake layers:
50g cocoa powder
80ml hot water mixed with 1 teaspoon instant coffee
200ml vegetable oil
200g plain flour
125g brown sugar
125g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar
- DAY 1
- Making the cheesecake layer:
- Start by pre-heating your oven to 170c/325f. Also grease and line an 8 inch cake tin.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, sugar, corn flour and cocoa powder. Mix these together until smooth.
- Add half of the warm double cream into this, mix this in, then mix in the remaining cream. Now add the melted chocolate and mix just until you get a smooth batter.
- Add this batter into your prepared tin and smooth it out. Place this tin into a larger tin or roasting tray. Pour boiling water into this until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the tin with the cheesecake in.
- Carefully place this into your oven and bake for around 25-30 minutes. It is done when the sides of the cheesecake are set but the centre is still slightly jiggly.
- Once baked, leave to cool at room temperature, then place it in your fridge and leave it in there to set overnight.
- Making the cake layers:
- Pre-heat your oven to 180c/350f. Also grease and line two 8 inch cake tins.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and the hot water/coffee mixture.
- Add the oil, buttermilk and eggs into this. Whisk until smooth.
- Now add both sugars and the flour, whisk just until you get a smooth batter.
- In a separate small bowl, add the baking soda and then pour the vinegar over it. This will start bubbling, just give it a quick mix then straight away pour it into your cake batter. Mix until incorporated.
- Pour this batter into your prepared tins then bake for around 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Once baked, leave to cool for a bit, then take the cakes out of the tin and wrap them in tinfoil. Leave these in the fridge overnight too.
- DAY 2
- Putting the cake together:
- The next day you can put the layers together.
- Add one of the cake layers down onto a cake board or plate. Take the cheesecake out of the tin and add this on top, then add the second layer of cake.
- At this point you can decorate the cake however you want, I just dusted some icing sugar on top. But after this, it is done. Enjoy!