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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.”

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

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.

chocolate cake batter in a white bowl with a hand mixer

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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 and not Dutch-process cocoa.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 

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

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.

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

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

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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 1x
  • 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

Scale
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & 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 (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:

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I had to leave it sit overnight in the pan & this morning when I removed it onto a dish the bottom (now the top) is wet????

    1. Hi Patricia, If left to cool completely in the pan (especially if covered before it was 100% cool) condensation is likely to form causing the outside to feel wet. We usually invert the cake out of the pan after about 2 hours to finish cooling on a wire rack. It’s an easy fix for next time!

  2. This cake is so decadently delicious, my neighbors keep asking me to make it again! I used a chocolate ganache on it and it was perfect. Thanks once more, Sally.

  3. Hi Sally,
    Love your recipes. Can I use one (or 2 if needed?) 9×5 loaf pan instead of bundt pan? Very excited to try this!

    1. Hi Melissa, you would need to make 2 loaves as this is a ton of batter – we’re unsure of the exact bake time, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Let us know how it goes!

  4. Hello Sally love, love, love your site. In this cake can I sub butter for the oil?

    1. Hi Wanda, we don’t recommend it. Best to stick with oil here!

  5. Hi there. I am an experienced baker who has successfully made many bundt cakes and used quite a few of Sally’s other recipes. I am really sad to report that as the beautiful bundt cooled, it totally collapsed in the middle. I did check for doneness, but perhaps I made an error. Such a shame as the ‘done’ portions were absolutely delicious. Any suggestions for a possible redo?

    1. Hi Jean, Thank you for trying this recipe and we are so happy you enjoyed the taste! The most common culprit of sinking cakes is that they are under-baked. If you try it again try extending your bake time by even a few extra minutes (you can cover the top with aluminum foil part way through if needed). Also be sure you are cooling the cake inside the pan for 2 hours before you flip it over. I hope this helps!

  6. Another great recipe! Thanks Sally.
    One question… the cheese filling comes out a bit grainy (guess because of the egg that goes into it), and I was wondering if you have an idea how to make this filling smooth and creamy (might be asking for impossible)? Have you tried any other fillings that you could suggest (vanilla cream, Swiss meringue, anything else creamy and compatible with baking)?

    1. Hi Dragana, 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. Hopefully that helps for next time — thanks so much for giving this recipe a try!

  7. Hello,
    I have 2 blocks of cream cheese (8 ounces each). I am considering using all 16 ounces instead of just 12 ounces (I love cheesecake :)). Could you tell me if this would work? If yes, how do I change ratios for eggs and sugar for the cream cheese filling?

    TIA

    1. Hi Tia, We suggest keeping the same ratio of ingredients if you decide to increase the amounts. It’s best to stick with the recipe as written since adding about 33% more of each could get a bit tricky and the cheesecake swirl may become too heavy and sink.

      1. Thanks for your response, I will stick with the recipe. I plan to make this cake 2 days ahead. Would you suggest i store it in the refrigerator or freeze it?

      2. Hi Tia! We recommend freezing after completely cooled, then thawing overnight – it won’t be in the freezer long, but it will help keep it as fresh as possible. Hope it’s a hit!

    2. I love this recipe! One question, I made it this evening and it seems that the cream cheese filling sunk through and baked on the pan, would this be because it was too close to the pan when I was spreading it?

  8. Hi. This recipe looks awesome. I don’t have a Bundt pan. can I make this with a springform pan? I have 8”, 9” or 10” pans
    Thanks

    1. Hi Mike, we have not tested this in a different shaped pan, but we would try a 9 or 10 inch springform pan. Let us know how it goes!

      1. I picked up a Bundt cake pan and tried this recipe. Didn’t use the springform pan. My cream cheese must have sunk to the bottom as the “top” of the Bundt cake when finished was very thin on cake and even broke apart some after inverting. Still good but wonder if there is something I missed. Any thoughts?

    2. I made this recipe yesterday. I forgot and left it over nite in the pan. It stuck a little bit so I just used a spoon and a knife to lose the edges. Some of the top stuck to the pain because of the moisture. But cover it up with the Caramel and man is it fantastic. It is so moist and delicious. It’s not as chocolate flavor as I expected but still good. Thank you for the recipe. I will make it again.

  9. Made this over the weekend. Everyone loved it. I topped the cake with a peanut butter glaze.

  10. Really outstanding cake recipe! I should have made a couple of cupcakes with the batter instead of filling the bundt pan so full.. but a quick leveling off and it was delicious. Super moist, great cream cheese layer and delicious with a salted caramel drizzle. Will definitely make again.

  11. Hi! I’m really interested in trying this recipe, but we don’t have industrialized sour cream available where I live. Would replacing it with plain yogurt work? Thanks!

    1. Hi Arthur, Instead of sour cream, try using plain yogurt. The cake won’t taste as rich, but it’s a fine substitute.

      1. Thanks, Michelle! I did use plain yogurt and it turned out great. I chose a brand that tastes a bit more sour than the other ones, so I guess it helped. My family loved the cake and I’ll be sure to bake another one soon!

  12. Hi Sally, I love your site and have used so many of your recipes. I am interested in trying this recipe using mini bundt pans – do you think this would work?

    1. Hi Stephanie! You can use your mini Bundt pan but we’re unsure of the bake time needed (it will be less!). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs.

  13. Ive been looking for a chocolate bundt cake recipe. Can I make this recipe without the cream cheese filling?

  14. This cake was delicious! The chocolate is rich but also not too sweet, perfect combination. My cake however pulled away from the cream cheese making the cream cheese like more like swiss cheese or spider webs. Any suggestions for keeping the cream cheese thick and creamy in the middle? Thanks!

  15. I am an experienced baker but this was unsuccessful attempt. I follow the recipe to the letter, measured ingredients on scale and chocolate part was perfect but cheese filling was too soft so it dissolved into chocolate part so I ended up with a cake with one white line. I don’t know what I did wrong. The cream cheese and egg were room temperature, when I mixed them up they were the same consistency as chocolate batter but cream cheese batter should have been thicker. What was wrong? Thanks

    1. Hi Gordana! Check to make sure you were using full fat block cream cheese (not the kind that comes in a tub). Using anything other than full-fat block cream cheese would result in a too-thin cheesecake layer.

  16. Tasted salty – even without the salted caramel topping. (Yes, my tsp. measurements were accurate.) I brought this to a party and wondered why it tasted salty and someone said they could taste the baking soda. (Not what you want to hear.) Glad I did not use the salted caramel on top.

    I think 1/2 tsp. of salt would be better and maybe 1 tsp. (instead of two) of baking soda. If I make this again I will try those changes.

  17. Really really good! 1. I was out of buttermilk& therefore made a substitute as per the Notes section– this made me nervous regarding the result. 2. No glaze/ganache needed– it was so so sooooooooooooo good w/o the ganache in itself! I’m someone who NEEDS frosting/glaze/ganache etc, bt this bundt cake is fabulous w/o the glaze.
    3. Definitely let the cake set as per the instructions as the cold fridge really helps firm up everything. I just sneaked a small piece at 11.15pm from the fridge. I really should stop sneaking pieces of this bundt cake. Really.

  18. Do you have any suggestions for halving the recipe in terms of baking time? Nordicware make half size budnt pans that i want to try this in.

    1. Hi Vip! We’re unsure of the exact bake time. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean with just a couple lightly moist crumbs.

  19. I want to make a Texas sheet cake, and your recipes are the best, so after reading several, it seems the way to proceed will be to make this chocolate cake recipe, minus the cream cheese filling, in a larger flatter pan with a shorter bake time, and then top with the fudge icing from your Smith Island Cake, with chopped pecans added of course. Thank you for your wonderful, reliable recipes. P.S. It would be super cool if you wanted to create a Texas sheet cake recipe!

      1. It turned out so good! Tried the all buttermilk and hot coffee version (without sour cream). With the fudge icing and pecans, served warm, it’s a winning combination. Thanks again for excellent recipes!

  20. I find myself coming back to your website over and over. Thank you for sharing your great recipes. Today I am trying this bundt cake. Many thanks!

  21. I was going to make the Triple Chocolate Cake but did not have enough cocoa for both the cake and the frosting so, I followed the link at the bottom of that recipe for this bundt cake, applying Sally’s tips for making it as a chocolate cake without the cream cheese filling. I think I followed the recipe as written (with Sally’s changes) but, while it is a rich-tasting chocolate cake it is not as “super moist” as the recipe description lead me to expect. I’ll have to make this again to see whether I missed something the first time. I also took Sally’s suggestion of chocolate ganache as an alternate topping – I had lots left over from the Mint Chocolate Cookie Cake (Sally wrote that the recipe “yields a lot of ganache” and it is not an exaggeration – my leftover ganache kept nicely in the freezer for a couple of weeks and was plenty for this bundt cake.

    1. Hi Charles, thank you for giving this recipe a try! The most common culprits for dry cakes are over-baking (careful with chocolate cakes – keep an eye on it in the oven and use a toothpick to test for doneness!) and over-measuring the dry ingredients. How did you measure the flour? Make sure to spoon and level (instead of scooping) to avoid packing in too much flour into your measuring cups – or use a kitchen scale. You can read more about properly measuring baking ingredients in this post.

    2. So, my wife tries a slice of this cake for the first time, three days after I baked it – and declares it a complete success – doesn’t understand why I think it’s not moist enough. Also, everyone who tried it the first day was complimentary, even my severest critics (granddaughters ages 9 through 16). Attribute my initial post and rating to unrealistic expectations – this is a rich chocolate cake and it deserves five stars. I will make this again – it is super easy and the results exceed the little time and effort required.

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