Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
We’re heading up to the mountains with some friends for a weekend getaway! I’ve been so consumed in my book the past 2 months and, to be honest, I feel like I’ve been hibernating since Christmas. Even though it’s not supposed to be a super cold winter weekend like we hoped, it will still most definitely be a cherished vacation.
But before I go! I made a bundt cake. And it turned out 105% better than I hoped.
(One quick thing! I’ve gotten questions about this large sprinkle plate. My sis-in-law made it for me in a ceramics class, so I don’t have any links for where you can purchase one. BUT I just ordered these adorable cupcake shaped dessert plates that I think you’d love too.)
This chocolate bundt cake! First, I apologize that I’m giving you more chocolate after the chocolate-iest holiday of the year. But I truly don’t foresee any complaints considering this isn’t just chocolate. It starts with chocolate, but ends with salted caramel. Somewhere inside that super moist chocolate crumb is a swirl of cheesecake. Because what better way to end Valentine’s Day week than with a pant-tightening chocolate calorie fest.
One thing to know: while this bundt may look fancy, she’s anything but a diva. You’ll need just 3 bowls: 1 for wet ingredients, 1 for dry ingredients, and 1 for the cream cheese swirl. The salted caramel sauce is completely optional, but you can make that ahead of time and just warm + drizzle when serving.
The chocolate batter is a lot like this triple chocolate layer cake. When I first tested this recipe, I found the cake batter to be too thin to hold up a cream cheese center. It was A MESS! I removed some of the liquid and replaced it with sour cream. If you’ve tried that chocolate layer cake before– you’ll be happy to know this chocolate bundt cake is equally (if not more!) moist and rich. The chocolate flavor is enhanced with a little espresso powder but that addition is completely optional. Instead of using hot coffee like I do in the layer cake, I opted for hot water. I made this switch because I get a lot of questions about subbing out the coffee. Of course, you can use either! And I’ll add that to the notes below so you don’t forget.
Why do you need a hot liquid in the first place, you ask? It helps the cocoa powder, where all the chocolate flavor comes from, dissolve into the batter with ease. It also helps bring out its flavor; it helps the cocoa “bloom” –that’s the technical term!
Speaking of cocoa, make sure you’re using natural unsweetened cocoa and not dutch-process. Remember why?
After you make the chocolate cake batter, beat the cream cheese layer together. This is only 4 ingredients: cream cheese, a little sugar, egg, and vanilla. Then layer it all into the bundt pan like we did with this pumpkin cake.
The cake must cool completely then just chill it in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before slicing/serving. This is so we avoid any chance of biting into warm cheesecake. Have you ever had warm cheesecake??? Don’t.
Instead of salted caramel, try a silky chocolate ganache. But honestly, this bundt cake completes melts in your mouth and is already so decadently awesome that it doesn’t even need an accessory on top. I just wanted it to look extra glam for you. ♥
Before you bundt:
- I love this bundt cake pan. I’ve had it for 4 years and it’s the only bundt pan I use. It’s nonstick, but I still always add a little coat of butter or nonstick cooking spray to grease it. The bundt cake releases so easily. NEVER a crumb stuck. Plus, the shape is pretty. Pretty bundts.
- You need a mixer when preparing the cream cheese swirl, but it’s not required for the cake batter. But since you already have it out, I suggest using it to mix the cake batter too. Ensures no dry clumps.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
- 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (65g) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- optional: 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 cup (120ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup (180g) full fat sour cream, at room temperature1
- 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature1
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (120ml) boiling hot water2
Cream Cheese Filling
- 12 ounces (336g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
- Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso powder (if using) together in a large bowl. Set aside. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or you can use a whisk) mix the oil, eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, and vanilla together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, add the hot water, and whisk or beat it all until the batter is completely combined. Set aside as you prepare the cream cheese filling.
- Make the cream cheese filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until no lumps remain. Beat in the remaining ingredients on medium-high speed until combined.
- Pour half of the chocolate batter evenly into the prepared bundt pan. Spread all of the cream cheese filling evenly on top. The cream cheese batter is thick, so you'll have to spoon it on top and do your best to spread it around-- avoid it touching the sides of the pan. See photo above for a visual. Pour the remaining chocolate batter evenly on top.
- Bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs. This is a large, heavy cake so don't be alarmed if it takes a little longer in your oven.
- Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours inside the pan. Then, invert the slightly cooled bundt cake onto a wire rack or serving dish. Allow cake to cool completely, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Garnish with optional toppings, then slice and serve.
- Leftovers keep well stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
Make ahead tip: Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Why room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information. Instead of sour cream, try using plain yogurt. The cake won't taste as rich, but it's a fine sub. If needed, you can use whole milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice instead of buttermilk.
- Instead of boiling water, try using hot and strong black coffee. The cake won't taste like coffee, but the chocolate flavor will definitely be accentuated!
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