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, 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.

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

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 like we did with this pumpkin bundt 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.
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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 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.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Mixing Bowls | Nonstick Fluted Bundt Pan | Stoneware PlateEat Dessert First Fork
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Adapted from chocolate cake and pumpkin cream cheese bundt cake.

Keywords: chocolate bundt cake, 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

More bundt cakes to love:

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

254 Comments

  1. Sue bostick says:

    Just tried this recipe..it was delicious and pretty simple to make .

  2. Hey Sally!!
    I want to bake a chocolate Bundt cake! Can I use this recipe without the cream cheese ?

    1. Yes, absolutely!

    2. Hi Sally if I make this without the cream cheese will the baking time be different?

  3. Hi Sally,
    I just tried this recipe. I followed every step but I don’t know why the cream cheese sunk to the bottom and in the end i couldn’t get the cake out of the tin. It split into two basically, top and bottom. 🙁
    I wonder if it was because i used Philadelphia cream cheese spread instead of blocks? I live in the Netherlands and we don’t have cream cheese block here.
    I also replaced 2/3 granular sugar with brown sugar because i ran out of the white one.
    The cake was cooked and delicious in the end, it’s just the structure didn’t hold. I’d really like to try to make it again and make it right.
    Would you help me out? give me some pointers?

    1. Hi Sabrina, It’s likely a combination of both. The excess moisture in brown sugar will cause the cake batter to be very heavy. Spreadable cream cheese is a much different consistency – next time you have enough white sugar you can simply leave the cream cheese swirl out.

  4. Hi Sally,

    I do not have any Bundt pan, can I just use a round baking pan?

    1. Jenn, I have not tested this in a different shape pan. You can try a 9 or 10 inch springform pan but a round 2 inch high pan would not be large enough.

      1. Hi Jenn,
        I have the same issue. Was wondering if you tried a 9 inch or 10inch Springform and how that worked for you.

      2. Would a tube pan work for this?

  5. I made this with coffee instead of hot water and it was amazing! So moist and the salted caramel drizzle is the perfect complement.

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it, Carrie!

  6. The cake was delicious, but much to my disappointment, when we sliced into it, there was just a very thin C-shape of the cheesecake near the top. There wasn’t a round circle of cheesecake in the middle like your photo. I followed the directions carefully, what do you think went wrong?

    1. Hi Brenda, Were you using full fat block style cream cheese for the swirl?

  7. Hi Sally,
    I am planning to try this recipe without the cream cheese and wondering if the baking time will be different?

    1. Same bake time, Snow. Enjoy!

      1. Thank you!

  8. Monica Pait says:

    Delicious! I substituted granulated sugar with Lakanto-Monk Fruit baking sweetener, with ratio1:1, love it. Also, replace vegetable oil with Olive oil. Perhaps, next time Avocado oil is better option.
    I baked for 60 minutes, a little dry, thus, maybe it is wise to check on the cake when the bake time hits 50 or 55 minutes.
    Overall, instructions, recipe’s proportion, and the taste of the cake is great.
    Thanks, Sally.

  9. Mine is baking right now. But I am worried I used Philadelphia cream cheese is it going to be ruined?

  10. I am thinking I might try this as a modification to my Black Russian cake. (to add the cream cheese center.)
    I have noticed several people commenting on the cream cheese settling to the bottom (er, top) I am wondering if I were to thin the cream cheese – with Kahlua of course 😉 – if it might keep it from sinking so much.

    Ideas? Suggestions?

    1. Hi Suzanne, it would be better to thicken the cake batter instead. The thicker the cake batter, the more centered the cream cheese layer will be. Replace the buttermilk with sour cream– so you will use 1 and 1/4 cups of sour cream total. This will thicken the cake batter. You can also add a touch of Kahlua to the cream cheese filling but you may want to replace some of the egg with it. For example, add some Kahlua but leave out the egg white. Let me know what you test!

  11. This cake was so delicious! I think I need to add more cake batter to the bottom as cake ended up just covering my cheesecake. Guess I need to work on my swirl!!

    Any recommendations for freezing?

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Amanda! Baked cake can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

  12. I’ve tried this before and it was really good! Just wondering if I can use cake flour instead of apf? What will be the conversion? Thanks Sally!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Sue! I recommend sticking with all purpose flour here. Chocolate cake already has cocoa powder— which is a VERY fine dry ingredient. The combination of cake flour and cocoa powder usually results in a flimsy cake.

      1. Thank you so much for this info! Good luck on your endeavors and stay safe to you and your family!

  13. Hi, I was wondering if it would be okay for me to substitute the all purpose flour for almond flour?

    1. I don’t recommend it, Selena. Best to stick to all purpose here.

  14. Any harm adding chocolate pudding mix to the recipe?

  15. Amayii Stewart says:

    Hi Sally! I was wondering if the cream cheese swirl could be changed for a peanut butter swirl? If so how would you recommend I do that? Thank you!

    1. Hi Amayii, I honestly haven’t tested it, but my recommendation would be to add peanut butter to this cream cheese filling. Perhaps halve the amount of cream cheese and replace with, say, 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter. I haven’t tested this, so I can’t be certain but that’s where I would start!

  16. Daniel Aronhime says:

    Hi Sally, do you have a recipe for peanut butter cream cheese filling?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Daniel, We honestly haven’t tested it, but my recommendation would be to add peanut butter to this cream cheese filling. Perhaps halve the amount of cream cheese and replace with, say, 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter. We haven’t tested this, so I can’t be certain but that’s where I would start!

  17. I love raspberries with chocolate. I made my own raspberry sauce- and it was marveleous! I suppose that someone could substitute raspberry piefilling with extra berries added.

  18. Hi Sally!
    I’ve been looking through all of your chocolate cake recipes, trying to find the best fit for the type of cake pan I’m using. I have a 3D car cake pan, and it calls for 6.5 cups firm cake batter. (It also says 6.5 cups of pound cake or pudding added cake mix batter.) Do you think this bundt cake recipe, without the cream cheese, would be my best option? I noticed on your other recipes that the batter is thin and wasn’t sure if they would work in the 3D cake pan. Also, what would your suggested temp and bake time be?

    Your website is always my go-to for baking recipes, and I love your detailed instructions and notes! Thanks for your help!
    -Tessa

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Tessa, This is the most sturdy of our chocolate cake recipes, but we have never tested it in a 3D pan. If you’d like to try it you should have plenty of batter – you can use any leftover batter to make a few cupcakes on the side! I’m unsure of the bake time you would need for your specific pan.

  19. Shauntai Hampton says:

    Hi Sally,
    I want to try this today but am wondering how I can adjust it for mini bundt cakes (I have a 12 count Wilton bundt pan)

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Shauntai, You can use your mini bundt pan but I’m 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.

  20. This cake failed when I tried to get it out of the pan. The cake split at the cream cheese layer all the way around. This was supposed to be a birthday cake for my father in law but I had to end up buying a premade cake.

  21. Loved the recipie. I also used the caramel sauce on top. The only thing that I would change is the amount of sugar I feel like the actual cake needs to be sweeter. Thank you for the awesome recipie

  22. How long can this cake be left at room temperature after it is completely cooled? I want to take it with me on a trip lasting about 6 hours.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Debbie, It should be be fine at room temperature for one day. Enjoy!

  23. Hi Sally!

    I have a mini Bundt cakes tray, have you used one before? It’s like a cupcake one but Bundt shaped. Do you happen to know if I would change anything to still use your recipe and my tray? Cooking time perhaps? Thank you!!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Jess, You can use your mini bundt pan but I’m 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.

  24. Just made this recipe with the salted caramel sauce. I used the hot coffee instead of the boiling water. I also made some whipped cream to accompany the cake.
    Everything turned out great!

    The only thing I would say is that the cream cheese was less tangy than I expected. I might squeeze some lemon juice in it or add lemon rind to it next time.

    Sally’s recipes are always a win. Thank you, Sally, for having such an excellent variety of easy-to-follow, delicious, and creative recipes.

  25. Delicious! Turned out perfectly tasty. I will be making this again. I used ganache instead of caramel. It was simple to make too. The only problem I had was waiting. I had to peek at the cake before it cooled and a piece of the top popped off. After smearing on ganache no one could tell but me. But I need more patience…

  26. Hi Sally, can we make red velvet cream cheese Bundt cake in similar way?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Aleena, Yes, that should work! You can use this red velvet cake batter in a bundt pan, and layer in the filling from this cake. Enjoy!

  27. Heidi Mauelshagen says:

    Hello, you’re my go to place for new bakes and you haven’t steered my wrong yet. I was just wondering how you’d suggest making it a peanut butter cream cheese filling instead?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Heidi, We honestly haven’t tested it, but my recommendation would be to halve the amount of cream cheese and replace with 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter. We haven’t tested this, so I can’t be certain but that’s where I would start!

  28. Hi Sally, if I’m intending to do a chocolate bundt cake without cream cheese…should I increase the hot water back to 120ml (instead of 80ml)?

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