This chocolate cream cheese Bundt cake starts with chocolate but ends with salted caramel. Hiding inside the super moist chocolate crumb is a swirl of cheesecake. What a combination!
One reader, Catherine, says: “This recipe is fabulous. I cannot say enough. The cake is incredibly moist… It does not even need the caramel or ganache topping. It’s the perfect cake.”
Tell Me About This Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
- Flavor: If you’ve tried our chocolate cake before, you’ll be happy to know this chocolate Bundt cake is equally (if not more!) moist and rich. Just like in our flourless chocolate cake recipe, the chocolate flavor is enhanced with a little espresso powder. But that addition is completely optional if you prefer to leave it out.
- Texture: You’ll enjoy a melt-in-your-mouth cake with a creamy, velvety cream cheese filling. The texture is very moist all around!
- Ease: I always like to say that even though this cake looks fancy, she’s anything but a diva. The prep process is relatively simple using 3 mixing bowls: 1 bowl for the cake batter’s wet ingredients, 1 for the cake batter’s dry ingredients, and 1 for the cream cheese swirl. After you mix up the chocolate batter, simply layer it all into the Bundt pan.
- Time: The cake must cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator before you slice and serve it. The taste and texture are ideal after the cheesecake filling has chilled a bit.
Recipe Testing: What Works and What Doesn’t
We tested, retested, and made massive improvements to this chocolate cheesecake Bundt cake. We know you’ll love the recipe below!
- Thicker Batter: The chocolate batter is a lot like our favorite chocolate cake. When we first tested this recipe, the batter was too thin to hold up a cream cheese center. It was an absolute mess. So we removed some of the liquid and replaced it with sour cream. This change thickened the batter and kept the crumb moist.
- Hot Liquid: Instead of using hot coffee, as we do in the layer cake, we opted for hot water in this chocolate Bundt cake. We made this switch because we get a lot of questions about subbing out the coffee. (Of course, you can use either!) Why do you need hot liquid in the first place, you ask? It helps the cocoa powder, where all the chocolate flavor comes from, “bloom” (that’s the technical term) and brings out the chocolate flavor. Speaking of cocoa, make sure you’re using natural unsweetened cocoa (more on why in this Dutch-process vs. natural cocoa powder post).
- Use a Mixer: The cheesecake filling comes together with 4 ingredients: cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla. These are most of the ingredients in a cheesecake recipe. You need a mixer for beating the cream cheese mixture, but this tool is not required for the cake batter. However, since you already have it out, we suggest using it to mix the cake batter too—it always helps ensure there are no dry clumps.
- Salted caramel: The salted caramel sauce is optional, but you can make that ahead of time, then just warm it up and drizzle over the cake when you serve it. Or try a silky chocolate ganache instead of salted caramel.
Choosing the Right Equipment: Before You Bundt
Call us predictable, but we always use the same Bundt cake pan over and over again because we love it! (This is an affiliate link, but I’m glad to share it with you.) This super quality, heavy-duty pan has awesome rubber grips and never warps. I’ve been using it for years and it’s as durable today as it was on day 1. And I’ve made a lot of Bundts!
Tip: Even though it’s nonstick, we always generously grease it just to be safe. The Bundt cake releases so easily and the shape is lovely.
One quick thing! We’ve received lots of questions about the large sprinkle plate, but we don’t have a link as it was handmade by a family member—sorry!
More Bundt Cakes to Love
- Peach Bundt Cake
- Lemon Berry Yogurt Cake
- Apple Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Chai Spiced Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake
This chocolate cream cheese Bundt cake is completely over the top and is finished off with salted caramel.
- 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 3/4 cup (62g) 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 (339g) full-fat brick 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 that holds 12 cups of batter.
- 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 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.
- 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 Instructions: Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 10-inch Bundt Pan | Glass Mixing Bowl | Whisk | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Cooling Rack
- Room Temperature Ingredients: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Here’s more on the importance of room temperature ingredients. Instead of sour cream, try using plain yogurt. The cake won’t taste as rich, but it’s a fine substitute.
- 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.
- 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.
- Adapted from my Chocolate Cake and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bundt Cake recipes.
Keywords: chocolate bundt cake, bundt cake