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
- Pumpkin Bundt Cake
- Peach Bundt Cake
- Lemon Berry Yogurt Cake
- Apple Bundt Cake
- Chocolate Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Chai Spiced Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake
Chocolate Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 65 minutes
- Total Time: 5 hours, 30 minutes
- Yield: serves 12
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
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 (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
- 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): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | 10-Inch Bundt Pan | Glass Mixing Bowl | Whisk
- 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 chocolate cake and pumpkin cream cheese Bundt cake.
Keywords: chocolate bundt cake, bundt cake
Reader Comments & Reviews
I’m wanting to use the batter (without the filling) from this recipe to make a cake in a lamb-shaped mold that needs 6 cups if batter. Do you think this would work and be enough?
Hi Sarah, This would likely be enough batter (you may even have some left over). We haven’t tested it in any other shape pan but it should work. Let us know if you try it!
Followed the directions and my cream cheese filling was a bubble in the middle. The cake is good otherwise. I’m wondering if over mixing the cream cheese batter caused too much air in the batter creating a bubble
Hi Deborah! 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 (like you mentioned). Over-mixing can add too much air to the mixture, which will expand when baked.
I followed the recipe exactly with the two exceptions of I used milk & lemon juice for the buttermilk, since I didn’t have any on hand, and I only baked it for 50 minutes. Any longer and it would have been too dry. Im wondering if my oven temp is hotter than it should be? Are you using a convection oven? Cake received rave reviews from everyone. 100% will make again. Thank you!!
Hi Christina, We always recommend conventional settings for baking (not convection/fan). The flow of air from convection heat can cause baked goods to rise and bake unevenly and it also pulls moisture out of the oven. If you do use convection/fan settings for baking, lower your temperature by 25 degrees F and keep in mind that things may still take less time to bake.
Great recipe! Wonderful dark chocolate flavor. When I make it again, I think I will add some mini chocolate chips.
This recipe was very good! The chocolate pound cake is heavy and moist-perfect! The creme cheese filling didn’t turn out like Sallys picture but still good
Can you add leftover coffee to your recipe if you don’t have the powder?
Hi Nyree, adding more liquid would alter the texture of the batter too much. You can leave out the espresso powder if needed.
Hi, I wanted to add chocolate chips to the above recipe, how much in grams do you reckon I should add? Thank you soo much 🙂
Hi Naintara, we’d recommend about a cup of chocolate chips. Enjoy!
I made this recipe for Christmas and it was delicious! I actually made 2 cakes at the same time and had an issue with one, but not the other which is odd. One of the cakes had like an air pocket throughout the cake where the cream cheese filling is. I made the cakes at the same time with the same batter. The only difference is that the one with the hole went into the oven first while the other sat an hour in the pan before going in. Was wondering any idea what I did wrong to get the hole and will letting it sit before baking help prevent the hole from forming?
Hi Amy, I’m so glad you enjoyed this cake. That’s very odd, and I haven’t had that happen before. Did the cream cheese in the 1st cake spread to or touch the sides of the pan? Because if so, it will attach itself to the pan and the layers could separate. I’ve never let this cake sit at room temperature before baking, but it’s interesting that was a difference between the two. Thank you for sharing your feedback.
This is the third bundt recipe of your I’ve tried. The flavor was great. But, I also had the experience of it being done before the allotted time. It was on the verge of being dry, but just shy of it. Next time I would check on it about 10 minutes early.
My question is about the filling. The taste was great but there was a big gap (air pocket) between the cheesecake filling and the cake. Curious what I did wrong.
So far you lemon bundt is my favorite.
Hi Karen, Thank you for trying this 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. Over-mixing adds too much air to the mixture, which will expand when baked leaving air pockets.
In the photo, it looked delicious. First attempt, it came out perfect, and it needed to be. This was for a very special occasion. My moms 88th Birthday. I inhaled my piece. Rave reviews from all. But, the one that mattered most was from Mom She absolutely loved it and told me it was the best cake that I had ever made. It’s everything. Don’t hesitate with this one! After it cooled, I covered it and put it in the refrigerator for two days. I know that had a little bit to do with how incredibly moist and flavorful it was.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share this sweet note — we’re thrilled it was a hit for your mom’s birthday!
Hi Sally, I’ve made your triple chocolate cake several times with very good results. This time I wanted to use a Bundt pan so I took your advice and used the filled chocolate Bundt cake recipe and omitted the filling. It’s supposed to bake 55-65 minutes. I checked after 50 minutes and the cake was overcooked and dry. No directions were supplied for shortening the time if the filling is not used.
Sadly, my husband’s 75 bday cake was ruined. . Marjie
Thank you so much for letting me know. Did you by chance use a particularly large Bundt pan so the cake wasn’t as tall? 55 minutes is usually the sweet spot, but I’m happy to retest again as it’s been a couple years.