brownie swirl cheesecake

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I love a classic new york cheesecake. So does my dad, except that he likes it with an indulgent twist. How do you get more indulgent than cheesecake? I give you *drumroll please* this brownie swirl cheesecake, which made for the perfect birthday cake when he turned the big 5-0 this month!

This cake starts out with a rich brownie base, with more gooey chunks of brownies layered on top. Next, a creamy, vanilla cheesecake filling is poured on top of the brownies. Dollops of dark chocolate cheesecake filling are gently spooned on top, and for the final touch, a few swirls of a knife to create a beautiful marbled pattern.

Enjoy with good company and a cup of espresso!

Brownie Swirl Cheesecake
Adapted from the Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook

For the brownie crust and bites:
1 box family-size brownie mix
Additional ingredients according to boxed mix instructions

For the cheesecake:
Three 8-ounce packages Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup half-and-half
2 ounces dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the baking pan (but not the springform) with parchment or waxed paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang over the sides.

Mix together brownie batter according to box mix instructions. Spread 2 cups of the batter in the sprinform to make the crust and the rest in the baking pan. Bake just until set around the sides, about 10 minutes for the crust and 25 minutes for the baking pan. (The centers will be slightly soft.) Let cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Leave the brownie crust in the springform. Lift the brownies out of the square pan onto a plate, using the paper hanging over the sides as handles. Cover both the crust and the square of brownies with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.

Wrap the outsided of the springform with aluminium foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Cut the square of brownies into 1-inch squares and set aside.

Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.

Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla, Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the 2/3 cup of half-and-half just until completely blended. Don't overmix!

Transfer 1 cup of the batter to a small bowl and set aside for the chocolate swirls.

Cover the chocolate brownie crust in the pan with small brownie bites (12 to 16), covering as much of the crust as possible. Use only one layer of brownie bites in order to leave plenty of room for the cheesecake batter. (Eat the rest of the brownies!) Gently spoon the white batter over the brownie bites.

Set a small pot of water on the stove to boil.

Now make the chocolate swirls. Melt the chocolate and stir into the reserved white batter until completely blended. Using a teaspoon, drop the chocolate batter on top of the white batter, pushing it down slightly as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times in a swirling figure eight design, just until chocolate swirls appear.

Place the cake in a large shallow pan, and pour the boiling water into the pan until it comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until edges are light golden brown and the top of the cake has golden and dark chocolate swirls, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away - don't move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.

To serve, release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To make nice, clean slices, dip your knife in hot water before cutting each slice. Cover leftover cake and refrigerate, or freeze up to 1 month.

Note: I'm somewhat lazy and just used a brownie mix. If you know me, I usually want to make everything everything from scratch. But in this case, I think a boxed mix is just as good. However, if you're feeling ambitious and want to make the brownies from scratch, you can find the full recipe here.

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