Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

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
  • 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 (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:

114 Comments

  1. We are social distancing and truly staying at home. This put a damper on my son’s first day of spring 18th birthday. He was sad he couldn’t celebrate it with friends, but at least he had a delicious homemade cake. Not the usual, festive Publix cake, but it was pretty and wonderful. I had no trouble with the cream cheese part except I only had 8 ounces and didn’t notice until too late I needed 12! Still worked out fine. Thank you, Sally!

    I did try the caramel sauce which was fun to make, but I screwed it up and it turned out bitter. I googled and found out I likely stirred it too much and caused burned bit’s of the sugar to fall into the mixture from the sides of my pot. Next time I’ll know! You should make this cake!!! Highly recommend! Oh…I didn’t use espresso, just cocoa.

  2. Danielle Demma says:

    This cake is fantastic. I find the cake even better when you let it chill for 24 hours. LOL, I know torture. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  3. Hi Sally,
    I dont have espresso powder at home but i do have instant coffee granules. Can i use that instead? if so, do i follow the same amount as prescribed? Also to make a strong cup of hot coffee, how much instant coffee granules do i dissolve in the 1/2 cup of hot water?

    1. Hi Adeline, The espresso powder is optional but yes you can replace it with the same amount of instant coffee. If you are using hot coffee instead of hot water how much you add will depend on the brand you bought. The package of instant coffee should tell you how much to add.

  4. Sue bostick says:

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

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

  26. 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.)

  27. 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. ☹️

  28. 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.

      1. Hi Sally,
        can I bake this in other than a bundt pan? If possible, what size pan should I use?

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Ani! You should be able to use two 9×5 loaf pans, though there may be a *bit* too much batter. Let us know what you try!

  29. 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.

  30. 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!

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