Indulgent treat for all the lovers of: cookies, cheesecakes and brownies!
You can present this cheesecake brownie in all its naked, rustic glory or jazz it up by simply whipping up some double cream and decorating with berries.
So, what exactly are you getting here?
Chocolate, semi-sweet, shortbread crust creates cookie-like base for chocolatey and decadent, fudgy brownie. Both layers are then covered with creamy cheesecake filling and topped up with freshly whipped cream and fruit.
This is decadent, indulgent and addictive little cheesecake brownie torte. We love the rustic look once baked. However, when covered with whipped cream and berries it quickly becomes a beautiful torte which can be a centrepiece of any celebration. You can serve it warm or chilled.
In terms of baking - this is a quick bake! The crust does not need to be refrigerated. Instead, we recommend cooling the crust already fitted in the baking tin. In that way you are saving some time but you are also getting better shortbread crust texture. You will blind bake the base only. Walls are patched with the rest of the shortbread dough after the base is cooled.
Brownie layer is easy and quick - butter, sugar and chocolate are melted, 1 egg is added and all then is mixed with sifted flour, dutch cocoa and salt. Cheesecake layer alike - there is no science to it - just mixing all ingredients until combined (and not over-mixing, not to aerate the filling too much). If you are afraid of cracks, deflated cheesecake and all those cheesecake-related problems - this is the best bake to mitigate all that (crust wrapped around the cheesecake and brownie batter underneath are forming a little shell allowing the filling to cool in a more steady fashion = less risk of cracks, deflation).
All in all - a mix of delicious flavours - shortbread chocolate cookies, decadent fudgy brownie and creamy, soft cheesecake! Dress it up and this little torte will definitely WoW your guests (flavour and looks alike).
We love cheesecakes and brownies.. and cheesecake brownies! Check out our other recipes:
Cheesecake Brownie Torte Recipe
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 40 min prep + 50 min baking
Tin: 23cm round tin with removable base (or spring form)
Chocolate Shortbread Crust:
- 2 cups* (300g) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (40g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (15g) Dutch Coca
- 200g unsalted butter, straight from the fridge or freezer, diced
- 1 egg yolk from large egg, straight from the fridge
- 500g cream cheese (or Philadelphia cream cheese), room temperature
- 1/2cup* (100g) white granulated or caster sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 125g milk or dark chocolate
- 100g unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup (65g) white granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup (50g) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon (7.5g) Dark Dutch Cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 250ml double cream (36%), straight from the fridge
- 2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar (or to taste)
- 250g fresh strawberries
- 150g fresh blueberries
*cup = 250ml cup
1. Prepare chocolate crust: Sift flour with confectioners’ sugar and cocoa. Add diced butter. Using pastry cutter create crumbly texture. If you don’t have pastry cutter: take flour/butter mixture in-between your hands and make same move you make when your hands are cold (work with palms of your hands to create buttery streaks in flour). Then using your finger tips rub butter in flour (as if you were snapping fingers). Once the mixture resembles crumbly texture (pea-sized chunks of butter are ok), add an egg yolk and with few swift moves combine the dough (shouldn’t take longer than 30s-1 minute of gentle kneading). Refrigerate 1/2 of the dough. Line the bottom of spring form with parchment paper and fill in the base with the remaining 1/2 of the shortbread dough. You can roll out the dough or opt to divide into smaller pieces and patch it up (you can then use tablespoon to smooth the surface). Place the tin in the freezer and preheat the oven to 175C. Once ready, take out the tin and bake the base at 175C for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Prepare cheesecake filling: Using food processor or hand held mixer mix cream cheese with sugar for 1 minute, add eggs (all at once) and vanilla bean paste and mix until smooth mixture is achieved (keep it short, mix only until combined not to aerate the filling too much). Set aside.
3. Prepare fudgy brownie: Sift flour with dutch cocoa and salt. Set aside. In a water bath or small pot melt butter with sugar and chocolate. Once the chocolatey mixture is melted and lukewarm add 1 egg and whisk until combined. Add sifted flour to chocolatey mixture and fold in until just combined and no flour pockets remain. Set aside.
4. Assemble: Once the crust base has cooled, use the remaining 1/2 of the crust to line spring form’s walls (go half way up). Preheat oven to 175C. Place the baking tin (with the crust) into the freezer for 10 minutes. After that time, take out, pour brownie batter on top of the base, then cover with the cheesecake filling. Tap the form twice to lock in air bubbles.
5. Bake at 175C for 50 minutes. If you notice the cheesecake layer is browning too much, cover loosely with aluminium foil in the last 25 minutes of baking. Once baked, open the oven door leaving it slightly ajar and let the cheesecake brownie cool for 45 minutes in the oven. Then take it out and after 15 minutes run thin knife around the edges to loosen, then cool completely at room temperature before serving or refrigerating. This Cheesecake Brownie tastes fantastic warm or chilled.
6. Decorate: Mix double cream (straight from the fridge) on medium speed for 1 minute until fluffy, add confectioners' sugar and mix for another few seconds until combined. Decorate the torte adding strawberries and blueberries or any other seasonal fruit.
1. Crust - the crust does not have to be cooled after forming. Instead, we recommend to cool it together with the baking tin (in the freezer) just before baking. It complements the texture so we recommend not to skip that step.
2. Cheesecake - use cheese and eggs at room temperature and try not to aerate the mixture too much (food processor is the best option, but hand held mixer or whisking only until all ingredients are combined will do the job too). If you can’t find cream cheese - bake using Philadelphia cream cheese.
3. Brownie - use good quality chocolate. We tested this brownie on both milk and dark chocolate and with 4 different chocolate brands. Depending on the quality of the chocolate - you may get sugary lumps in the batter when the mixture is melted - use it anyway as the brownie will bake ok. However, we got best results baking on Belgian Callebaut or Lindt chocolate and melting chocolate with butter and sugar in a water bath.
4. Releasing from the tin - once ready to release, place the hand underneath the tin and gently lift the bottom with the torte up (rather than pulling and lifting sides up).
5. Storage - without whipped cream this cheesecake brownie can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. If you want to prepare shortbread crust in advance - tightly wrapped dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Jazz it up:
You can jazz up every layer of the cake. However, we would recommend to leave the base as-is and play around with brownie and cheesecake layers. Options are endless and just few are mentioned below:
- Brownie: nutty and fudgy brownie works well in this recipe. You may opt to replace flour with milled hazelnuts or almonds (100g, finely milled then mixed with cocoa and salt before adding to chocolatey mixture). Other ratios stay the same. You may opt to add coarsely chopped blanched hazelnuts or almonds to the brownie (use flour, just add nuts at the end of mixing).
- Cheesecake: you may opt to go for fruity flavours by adding freeze dried strawberries to the filling (1/2 cup), add fruity swirls using thick confiture, you may opt to press in 100g fresh raspberries or blackberries into the cheesecake filling (gently press into the cheesecake filling, deep enough so that the fruit is all covered). Go with spices for Chai Cheesecake Brownie: add chai spices (brew 1 chai tea bag with 1 cinnamon stick in 1/2 cup double cream (leave covered for 30 min), add to the cheesecake filling with the rest of ingredients).