Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

slice of chocolate cream cheese bundt cake on a black plate with a fork

overhead image of chocolate cream cheese bundt cake with salted caramel drizzle on top

(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, so sorry!)

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.

chocolate cake batter in a white bowl with a hand mixer

The chocolate batter is a lot like my favorite chocolate 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.

cream cheese layer on top of chocolate cake batter in a bundt pan

overhead image of chocolate cake batter in a bundt pan

drizzling salted caramel onto chocolate bundt 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. ♥

slice of chocolate cream cheese bundt cake on a black plate with a fork

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.
Print
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slice of chocolate cream cheese bundt cake on a black plate with a fork

Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 65 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This chocolate cream cheese bundt cake is completely over the top and is finished off with salted caramel.


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 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 temperature*
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) buttermilk, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) boiling hot water*

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


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10-inch bundt pan that holds 12 cups of batter.
  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 about 2/3 of the chocolate batter evenly into the prepared bundt pan. (Just eyeball it.) 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Room Temperature Ingredients: 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 substitute.
  3. Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. Add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup. Then add enough whole milk to the same measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. (In a pinch, lower fat or nondairy milks work for this soured milk, but the cake won’t taste as moist or rich.) Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes. The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in the recipe.
  4. Hot Water: 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. I reduced the amount down from 1/2 cup (120ml) to 1/3 cup (80ml) to yield a thicker cake batter which helps support the cream cheese layer.
  5. Adapted from chocolate cake and pumpkin cream cheese bundt cake.

Keywords: chocolate bundt cake, bundt cake

side view of chocolate cream cheese bundt cake showing the cream cheese filling

More bundt cakes to love:

292 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,
    I am excited to try this recipe. I was thinking of adding chopped walnuts to the cake batter. Do you think it’s dense enough to keep them suspended?
    Also, would it be easier to pipe the cream cheese filling?
    Thanks! And nice blog!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Lilly, You should be able to add chopped walnuts to this batter. No need to pipe the filling since it doesn’t need to look pretty, but you certainly can if you wish!

  2. Joanne prendergast says:

    How long do you think it would take to bake mini fluted cakes

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joanne, we’re unsure of the exact bake time, so keep an eye on them in the oven. When a clean toothpick comes out of the thickest part with a few moist crumbs, it will be done.

    2. Can I make this in mini bundt pans?

      1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Yes, you can use mini bundt pans. Your bake time will depend on the exact size of your pans so use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  3. I love the recipe! However, when I make it, the cheesecake part floats to the top of the chocolate batter so it is always on the bottom of the cake. Any way to remedy this? I want those nice swirls instead of a layered cake. 🙂
    P.S. I have tried this recipe in all kinds of pans and it always turns out wonderful!! Yet, my cheesecake still floats. 🙂

    1. Hi Tammy, try reducing the amount of hot water/coffee down to a couple Tbsp. (Perhaps 2 Tbsp.) This will keep the batter a little thicker, which should help the layers combine better.

  4. Sally. Your desserts are amazing. They always come out right. I plan on making this recipe this weekend. I forgot sour cream. Can I substitute heavy cream with lemon instead?

    1. Hi Scott, I don’t recommend replacing the sour cream with heavy cream. Plain yogurt would be the next best option.

      1. Made this and flavored the cream cheese portion with peppermint for St. Patrick’s day. It was phenomenal.

  5. It’s -40°c here in Alberta today and the “bed weather” made me crave for something sweet and found just the right spot. I followed everything and voila…a perfect cake! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  6. It just made this and it’s delicious. The espresso powder really brings out the chocolate. I love that it’s not super sweet. Thanks

  7. Hello,

    I’m looking to make this cake for the first time over the weekend, actually going to make two! ….I need to purchase cocoa powder, can you advise me on what brand you like to use? Thanks so much! I just discovered your site and my list of “I have to make that!” just keeps growing!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jen, we like to use Hershey’s (not the Special Dark, the regular) or Ghirardelli natural cocoa powder. Happy baking!

  8. Hi Sally,
    I really would love to substitute the cream cheese filling with a peanut butter filling. Do you have any recommendations? BTW, everything I have tried from your blog has been a hit!
    Thanks,
    Karin

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Karin! You could try to halve the amount of cream cheese and replace with 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter. We haven’t tested this, so can’t be certain but that’s where we would start. Let us know what you try!

  9. I made this today, and it did not turn out well. I’ve made bundt cakes before, and didn’t expect to have any trouble. I greased the pan as I usually do and made sure it was coated well in flour, but when I went to unmold the cake, it would not come out. When it finally did, it was in multiple pieces. I tasted the cake and cream cheese center to see if I could use it in a triffle, but I really wasn’t impressed with the taste of the either unfortunately. I’m not sure what dessert I’ll be taking to the party tomorrow, but I have to figure something else out.
    I’m not sure what my problem was – if it was too moist or dense to unmold properly? (It seemed cooked well enough). Or if it the problem was something to do with the cream cheese middle? Mine seemed like a solid mass while the pictures seem to show more of a swirl. Either way, I think I’ll stick with my usual bundt cake recipe.

    1. Hi Sara, thank you so much for trying this recipe. It sounds like the cake was simply too moist and didn’t release from the pan properly. A few more minutes in the oven should help if you ever try the recipe again. Thinning out the cream cheese filling will help, too. Again– if you ever try this recipe again– I recommend adding 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream to the cream cheese filling.

      1. Thanks for your suggestions! Maybe I will have to give it a try sometime with these tweaks!

  10. Hi Sally,
    I’ve tried this recipe before, substituting the hot water with strongly brewed coffee….and it was absolutely delicious!

    I want to bake this cake again for my husband’s birthday, and seeing as it falls on St Patrick’s Day, I’m wondering if this can be adapted to accommodate the theme? Substituting the hot water again, but this time with Guinness?
    (and adding some green food coloring to the filling!)

    And if you think it’ll work well, should it be reduced down to intensify the flavor (like you did with your Guinness cupcakes?) Or used as is? And would you still recommend the 80 ml vs 120 ml?

    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes!

    1. Hi Aneli! Thank you so much for trying this bundt cake recipe. I’m glad to read that you loved it! Using Guinness in this cake batter would require additional testing, so I can’t say for sure which adjustments you need to make for proper results. You can always try using the Guinness Cupcakes batter. (Perhaps 1.5x the recipe to yield more batter.)

  11. I’ve had problems unmolding Bundt cakes in the past but the e first time I made this cake it came out great and was delicious!! Made it again today and the top stuck. I’ll figure something out but I’m so disappointed. Same recipe, same technique, same time, baked perfectly except wouldn’t come out of the pan. ☹️

    1. I use Baker’s Joy spray and it works well for me. For this big bundt, make sure you let it thoroughly cool . I had to let mine cool for 3 hours before it would release.

  12. Colleen Athans says:

    I absolutely loved this cake! It is dense and moist and delicious.
    Unfortunately, the cream cheese filling developed air pockets and did not fill the space inside the cake. It was not overcooked so I’m not sure what happened.
    I really want to make it again, but need to know how to fix this.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Colleen! We’re so glad you loved this cake recipe. You can try to add another egg yolk (just 1 extra yolk, not the white) to smooth out the cream cheese filling, as well as try to avoid over-mixing it.

  13. Made this yesterday. Followed all instructions (they’re so helpful) and it came out perfect ….. absolutely AMAZING! Sally, you never, ever let me down! Thanks for another outstanding dessert to indulge in – and to share with family & friends during these crazy times.

  14. I wonder if coconut could be added to the cream cheese filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ann, We haven’t tested it but I don’t see why not. Let us know if you try it!

  15. Planning to use this recipe for easter – mini bunny form from WS and wondering can i make on Friday night, put in fridge after two hour cooling, then store at room temperature? What is the best way to keep fresh for Sunday serving? Thanks!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Nancy, it would be best to simply keep it in the fridge (covered tightly) from the 2 hour cooling time on. Hope it’s a hit for Easter!

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