Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top-- and is finished off with salted caramel. EASY recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top-- and is finished off with salted caramel. EASY recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

(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.

How to make chocolate cream cheese bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to make chocolate cream cheese bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make chocolate cream cheese bundt cake on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top-- and is finished off with salted caramel. EASY recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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. ♥

This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top-- and is finished off with salted caramel. EASY recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Optional Toppings

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch bundt pan.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!

Adapted from triple chocolate layer cake and pumpkin cream cheese bundt cake

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This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top-- and is finished off with salted caramel. EASY recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

Kitchenaid Hand Mixer | Mixing Bowls | Nonstick Fluted Bundt Pan | Stoneware PlateEat Dessert First Fork

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This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top-- and is finished off with salted caramel. EASY recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

80 comments

  1. Sally, this looks divine!!! And I love love love your new photography style, saw it on Instagram stories and that black looks so great with chocolate cake 🙂

  2. there’s never enough chocolate!! (except maybe after i went to the ghirardelli festival in sf and had 20 chocolate desserts in an hour). and i had no idea about the hot water; i didn’t even hear about cocoa blooming until earlier this week! good to know (:

  3. This bundt cake looks so gorgeous! Chocolate and cream cheese sounds like an amazing combo.  And that drizzle at the end! Have fun in the mountains!

  4. Dear Sally, thank you again for another mouthwatering recipe. Checking your site everyday has become a habit. Every recipe of yours is a success!!! I live in Greece and the only ingredient I cannot find is block or brick cream cheese which you use in many recipes. We have only original cream cheese tub. Can I replace it with ricotta or mascarpone? I will appreciate your help!!!

  5. I’m in the middle of moving but this is without a doubt the first thing I’m making when I get my baking supplies unpacked! Beautiful!!!!

  6. Oh this looks amazing!  I love cheesecake inside of cakes!  My husband and I aren’t celebrating Valentines Day until this weekend so I think this might have to be our dessert =)

  7. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it! I would love to drizzle this with a peanut butter sauce.

  8. Hi Sally, Never apologize for chocolate…we are who we are! My mum used to tell me: “Never apologize for having high standards because people who really want to be in your life will rise up to meet them.” And mum knows best…

  9. omgosh.  I JUST made a choc. bundt yesterday!  This morning my husband asked me what’s for supper tonight…..and I replied…….um….chocolate cake, cookies, cupcakes and……..leftover soup ?
    I wanted to make a small “personal” bundt to give to a choco-loving friend on her birthday.  I used a choc. bundt recipe that called for a 10-12″ bundt pan, but divided the batter into two 6″ pans and baked for 35 minutes and finished with ganache and sprinkles.  Festive and Perfect!  One cake for my friend’s birthday and another to have here with coffee or tea.
    I just wanted to say, I also use hot coffee as often as I can whenever chocolate is involved and yesterday, the recipe called for one cup fresh brewed hot coffee.  
    For the last 4 years or so, I began this particular habit after becoming somewhat sensitive to having too much caffeine.  When a recipe calls for strong coffee, I make very strong decaf.  I have a Keurig, so I brewed 4 k-cups at 1/4 cup increments to give me the one cup strong coffee.  It IS nice and strong but when you eat the cake, you don’t get the double caffeine jolt of the cocoa AND fresh brewed coffee.
    You don’t taste the coffee at all–it really just enhances the flavor of the cocoa to a whole other level.  😉  

    • Such a great tip for just using decaf coffee. You still get that flavor upgrade! And also… that dinner sounds nice and balanced to me! HAHA

  10. Do you think these could be made into mini bundt cakes (I have a 6-count bundt cake pan) or do you think things would get too crowded with the cream cheese?

  11. hey girl-this looks so good! Y’all have fun this weekend!

  12. I was eagerly awaiting your next recipe and oh how you delivered, as usual 🙂 Chocolate cake and cheesecake, yummmmmy….I will definitely make this for my mom’s birthday next week!!!…Thanks again Sally!

    • Hope you both love it!

      • As promised, I did make this cake for my mother’s birthday.  I did not get the bundt cake pan in time so I baked the cake in two 8″ round pans hoping that it would still come out great. The cream cheese batter was more liquid than I expected so it mixed into the chocolate cake batter and ended up having more of a marbled effect.  I also frosted it with my best homemade chocolate frosting.  All of these changes did little to affect the most imp. part – the taste.  I stepped out of the party for a little while only to come back to a missing cake and comments ….”omg, that cake!….you have to make another one!…you really made that cake?”  My sister was so thoughtful to HIDE a slice for me and it was absolutely divine! Definitely in my top 3 chocolate cake recipes now.  I will be making it again for my birthday on Thursday 🙂 Thanks Sally.

        PS: I planned to drizzle the cake with the salted caramel topping and take pictures, however the cake was devoured before I could do so! Lol

      • What a compliment. I’m glad you still got a piece and that it was such a big hit!!

  13. How funny that I *just* read about cocoa blooming this very morning on the Kitchn. And now a delicious recipe to try it out on. Do you think I could half it and bake it in a loaf pan? I guess I’ll just have to try and see if the amount fits okay in my loaf pan without overflowing. I have a couple different size loaf pans, so I can play around with that.

    Can’t wait to try this!

  14. I love your photography here Sally! Photographing things like chocolate and big cakes can be difficult but I think you nailed it. Yes, I was going to ask about that sprinkle plate. It’s gorgeous, I can’t believe someone DIY’d it you (I have to try that)! I should make this recipe & get more use out of my bundt pan – I don’t use it nearly enough. Have a great & relaxing weekend 🙂

    • Thanks Hayley! Chocolate cakes have never been my favorite to photograph, but I’m starting to love how they look with black or white backgrounds/surfaces.

  15. Your bunt cake looks heavenly!! I hope to make it this weekend if I can wait that long! Thank you for sharing the recipe! Have an awesome time at your mountain weekend getaway! It sounds like so much fun and you sure deserve it, Sally!  

  16. Finally iam glad that i have all these ingredients right now. So digging it right away. Oh i dont have Bundt pan.
    Sally, can you suggest an alternative for bundt pan

  17. Beautiful, Sally! I think Bundt cakes are making a strong comeback!

  18. Stunning! This bundt cake is just out of this world! I think I just found my favorite chocolate cake for 2017, even if I tried it with my eyes only at the moment. I love that you cut the rich chocolate flavor of the bundt cake with this creamy cheesecake inside, and to me the salted caramel drizzle is not an option, it sure adds something to the cake. Aaaah, how long can I resist before I bake this cake? Wait, I think I have all the ingredients at home. See you later then, and have a wonderful weekend with your friends 🙂 Cheers from Chicago!

  19. This looks wonderful Sally. I love the thick swirl of cream cheese inside – yummy!!

  20. Sally – this looks amazing!! Even if it doesn’t need some glam on top the chocolate ganache just sounds so divine! Question – does it have to be made in a bundt pan or can it be made in like and 8×8?

    Thanks!

  21. This looks amazing, rich and melt in your mouth devine! My Heaven. Sally, I totally agree with Gayatri! You know I’m a HUGE fan of your photography….I’ve seen your photography improve 10-fold after you went out to Chicago (was it??) for that class! I too LOVE the black bokeh! What Aperture was it set on? I know most times you shoot at f/4.5? You definitely need to post on your photography site…it’s gorgeous!

    • Thank you so much! I’m out of town right now so I don’t have the original photo file with the exact camera settings. But I appreciate the compliment on my food photography SO much.

  22. This looks like a winner!! I’m going to try it for sure. Thank you Sally!

  23. That is incredible!! One of the best Bunt cakes I have ever seen.

  24. My grandma’s chocolate cake recipes calls for hot water and I never understood why, but now I do! This cake looks AMAZING!

  25. Sally,
    Bundt cakes are my favorite! This one looks super yummy. I cannot wait to try it! 
    I do have a question about high altitude. Do you think I will need to make any changes to it? I am a mile high! 

  26. Wow! This is absolutely spectacular. Because of this recipe I’m going to finally buy a Bundt pan. I’m just wondering if coconut oil instead of canola/vegetable oil would work? Or would that drastically alter the result? That’s all I keep on hand usually. Cannot wait to make this!!!

  27. Wow. I made this two weeks ago but i used your triple chocolate cake recipe. Its my go to recipe and always a hit. It was thin but it turned out well with the cream cheese swirl. Tasted great with a dollop or two of ice-cream. But I will definatly give this recipe a try.

  28. Sally, this recipe excites me so much! Other than the fact that this bundt cake is now on my baking to-do list, but I love the changes you made to the cake batter itself and am very keen on trying it. The triple chocolate cake recipe has been my favorite and staple chocolate cake for years for its rich chocolate flavor and super moist texture. However, the cake can sometimes be ‘too’ moist and fragile for when I’m making layered cakes and I’ve struggled with finding a chocolate cake recipe that is moist and chocolatey but can still hold itself up when making larger, taller cakes.
    So would you say that it’s okay for me to use this chocolate cake recipe on its own split between two 9″ pans for a layered cake?

    Thank you! 🙂

  29. Hi Silly,would love to make this, just wondering would cream work, instead of soured cream,or instead of plan yogurt, please let me know if you get a chance, thanks. Mary

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