This Cheesecake Stuffed Cake consists of a classic cheesecake sandwiched between two decadent, fudgy dark chocolate cakes. It’s topped off with a marbled cream cheese frosting to make for one showstopping dessert! Recipe includes a how-to video.
A Striking & Decadent Dessert
This cheesecake stuffed cake is possibly one of the most indulgent recipes on my blog. What could be more decadent than an entire cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of fudgy, dark chocolate cake? It’s sinful, really…but it works!
The cake itself is moist and oh-so chocolatey, and the cheesecake is a rich and classic companion. They pair together flawlessly, especially when cloaked in a dark chocolate marbled cream cheese frosting.
This was one of the first recipes on the blog, which means it’s high time for an update. I’ve given the original recipe a slight makeover: a thicker cheesecake layer, a more flavorful, moist chocolate cake (thanks to buttermilk and butter), a more intense chocolate note from dark cocoa powder, and a beautifully marbled version of my cream cheese frosting. I also include the option to top everything of with my chocolate ganache. My cheesecake stuffed cake was a stunner before, but now it’s a true showstopper.
This recipe does take quite a bit of time, so let’s get to it!
What You Need
While this recipe is definitely more involved than my other cake recipes (I mean, we are literally stuffing an entire cheesecake in this one), the ingredients aren’t overly fancy or complicated. Here are a few of the most important ingredients in this cheesecake stuffed cake:
- Cream cheese. You will add this to both the cheesecake portion of the cake as well as the frosting. You must use the block type cream cheese–not the spreadable kind in the tub, otherwise the cheesecake may not turn out properly and the icing will be runny.
- Sour cream. This adds some slight tartness and moisture to the cheesecake.
- Eggs. You’ll need a total of five eggs for this cheesecake stuffed cake; three for the cheesecake and two for the cake. It’s best if they’re all room temperature before you add them.
- Dark cocoa powder. This cheesecake stuffed cake is ultra-decadent, thanks to dark cocoa powder, which you’ll use in both the cake and the frosting. If you don’t have dark cocoa, you can substitute Dutch process or natural cocoa.
- Oil. This cake uses slightly more oil than butter; this ensures that the cake will stay moist even while it is in the refrigerator. Since this cake must be refrigerated (and the refrigerator notoriously dries out cakes), keeping it moist was really important to me when developing this recipe.
- Butter. Use unsalted butter for the cake and the frosting. You’ll want to melt it completely for the cake itself, but keep it softened for the frosting.
- Brown sugar. I like to use a combination of light brown sugar and granulated sugar for a richly flavored, moist chocolate cake.
- Buttermilk. This adds flavor and moisture and helps to activate the baking soda in the cake.
- Very hot water or coffee. You can use either, but coffee will make your cake have a more intense chocolate (not coffee!) flavor. Whichever you chose, make sure it’s very hot to properly bloom your cocoa and bring out its best flavor.
SAM’S TIP: If you would like to add a ganache drip to your cheesecake stuffed cake, check out the tutorial in my peanut butter chocolate cake post. I will have a standalone tutorial coming soon!
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make a Cheesecake Stuffed Cake
- Combine the cream cheese and sugar until creamy and lump-free, pausing to scrape the bowl as needed. Add the sour cream and vanilla and stir until well combined.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring on low speed until just combined after each addition. Use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure everything is combined.
- Pour your cheesecake mixture into a parchment-lined springform pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 325F, until the cheesecake is set.
- Let the cheesecake cool in its pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen it. Let the cheesecake sit in its pan at room temperature until cool to the touch, then cover it and chill for at least 4 hours.
Making the Cake Layers
- Combine the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and oil and stir until well combined. The mixture will be thick!
- Stir in the eggs and vanilla, then add the buttermilk and mix until smooth.
- Carefully add the hot water/coffee and stir until the batter is uniform. Divide the batter between your cake pans and bake at 350F for 35 minutes.
- Test the cakes for doneness with a toothpick. Let them cool in their pans for 15 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Assembly & Marble Frosting
- Ice your first cake layer with some chocolate frosting. Level your cheesecake before carefully inverting it on top of the iced cake, centering it as best as you can. Ice the cheesecake with chocolate frosting before placing your final cake layer on top. Apply a crumb coat and chill your cake for 10-15 minutes.
- Smear thick patches of frosting all over the cake, alternating between dark and light.
- Use a spatula to smooth the frosting around the cake.
- Swirl the remaining frosting together, transfer it to a piping bag, and pipe dollops around the top of the cake. Enjoy!
SAM’S TIP: Since the surface of the cheesecake is hidden, I’m not as worried about cracks. If avoiding cracks is important to you, definitely make sure you don’t over-beat your ingredients, and once it’s baked, allow your cheesecake to cool slowly (in the oven with the door cracked or in a warm place).
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This cake needs to be refrigerated before and after serving. When you’re ready to serve, simply remove it from the fridge and slice–no need to thaw.
No! Adding coffee to the cake batter will not make it taste like coffee; instead, it will greatly intensify the chocolate flavor. If you’re really concerned about it or don’t have any coffee on hand, very hot water will work too.
Yes! Once frosted, place your cake in the freezer for a few hours to let the icing set. Then, generously wrap the cake with plastic wrap before adding a final layer of aluminum foil. Freeze, and when you’re ready to serve it, remove the aluminum foil and allow the cake to thaw in the fridge overnight.
More Recipes You Might Like
- Cheesecake Stuffed Cookies
- Chocolate Cheesecake Muffins
- Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Stuffed Cake
- Cheesecake Layered Carrot Cake
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Cake
- 24 oz cream cheese softened (680g)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar (150g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sour cream (120g)
- 3 large eggs room temperature preferred
For Cake Layers
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (220g)
- 1 cup light brown sugar firmly packed (200g)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200g)
- ¾ cup dark cocoa powder (75g) (see note)
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted (113g)
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil (155ml)
- 2 large eggs room temperature preferred
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk (236ml)
- ½ cup very hot or boiling water or coffee (118ml) (see note)
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened (170g)
- 12 oz cream cheese softened (340g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 6 cups powdered sugar (750g)
- ¼ cup dark cocoa powder (25g)
- Preheat your oven to 325F (165C) and line the bottom of an 8” springform pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar (pausing once to scrape sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula) until mixture is creamy, lump-free, and well-combined.24 oz cream cheese, ¾ cup granulated sugar
- Stir in sour cream and vanilla extract until well-combined.1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ cup sour cream
- With mixer on low-speed, add eggs one at a time, stirring until just-combined after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula again and ensure batter is uniform and smooth (don’t over-beat after adding the eggs or cheesecake will be prone to cracking and the texture could end up less smooth than desired).3 large eggs
- Pour batter into prepared springform pan and transfer to the center rack of 325F (165C) oven. Bake for 35 minutes or until cheesecake is set. The center may jiggle slightly when finished baking, but the surface should be set if lightly touched with your finger. Edges may be beginning to very slightly crack or brown when finished.
- Remove cheesecake from oven, allow to cool for ten minutes then carefully run a knife between the cheesecake and the rim of the pan (this loosens the cheesecake from the pan and helps minimize cracking). Note: I don’t remove the cheesecake from the springform pan until I’m ready to assemble.
- Let cheesecake sit at room temperature until cool enough to touch, then cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 2 days before assembly.
For Cake Layers
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup light brown sugar firmly packed, 1 cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup dark cocoa powder, 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda, ¾ teaspoon table salt
- Add melted butter and vegetable oil and stir (by hand or using an electric mixer) until well-combined (batter will be thick).½ cup unsalted butter melted, ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well.2 large eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Stir in buttermilk until well-combined and batter is smooth.1 cup buttermilk
- Carefully add very hot water or coffee and stir until thoroughly combined and batter is uniform. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans and bake on 350F (175C) for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.½ cup very hot or boiling water or coffee
- Allow cakes to cool for 15 minutes then run a knife around the edge of the cake and carefully invert on a cooling rack to cool completely before assembling. Note: If cakes are domed or not even, I recommend leveling with a cake leveler or sharp knife before assembling.
- Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth and well-combined.¾ cup unsalted butter, 12 oz cream cheese
- Stir in vanilla extract and salt.1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon table salt
- With mixer on low-speed, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.6 cups powdered sugar
- Divide frosting in half (you can just eyeball it) and add stir cocoa powder into one half of the frosting until combined.¼ cup dark cocoa powder
- Place your first cake layer on cake platter and cover with a layer of chocolate frosting.
- Remove the collar from the springform pan and, if needed, use a sharp knife to level the cheesecake (sometimes the edges rise slightly, use a knife to trim these off).
- Carefully invert or place the cooled cheesecake on top of the first layer of icing, lining up the center of the cheesecake with the center of the cake (sometimes I find my cheesecake is slightly wider than the cake, line it up as best you can and the icing on the outside will make up for any differences in width when you decorate).
- Cover the cheesecake with another layer of chocolate frosting, then top with remaining chocolate cake layer. Note: At this point I recommend doing a crumb coating, or a very thin layer of frosting smoothed all over the cake to catch all the crumbs, then refrigerate or freeze uncovered for 10-15 minutes before proceeding.
- Generously smear large, thick patches of frosting over the cake, alternating chocolate and white patches. Use a straightedge or spatula to smooth frosting around the cake. If desired, you may drizzle the top of the cake with half a batch of my chocolate ganache.
- Gently swirl remaining frosting together then transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a large closed star tip and pipe decorative dollops on top, if desired.
- Store cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cocoa PowderDark cocoa powder is recommended to give the cake it’s dark flavor and appearance, but Dutch process cocoa powder may be substituted. Natural cocoa powder will also work but the cake will be lighter in appearance and milder in taste.
OilThis recipe has been tested with vegetable oil and canola oil and works well with both. Any neutral cooking oil should work well here. I do not recommend substituting the oil for butter, while it will technically work, the cake will not be quite as moist and the oil is important for keeping the cake nice and moist (especially since it must be refrigerated after assembly, and refrigerators notoriously dry out cake).
Water/coffeeWhichever you use, the liquid must be HOT, or (even better) boiling. This hot liquid helps bloom the cocoa and give you an intense chocolate flavor. Hot coffee will enhance the chocolate flavor even more than water, but either will result in a delicious, moist, and chocolate-y cake.
Making in AdvanceThe cheesecake must be prepared at least 4 hours in advance to give it adequate time to chill and to be manageable. You can prepare the cheesecake up to 2 days in advance, simply leave in the springform pan and cover with plastic wrap or foil until ready to assemble (if any moisture forms on the surface simply dab it of with a paper towel). Cake layers may be prepared up to a day in advance of assembly, allow to cool and then wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature until ready to assemble. Frosting may be prepared a day in advance. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, then let sit at room temperature until it’s soft enough to spread (you may need to stir the frosting before using).
StoringOnce assembled, cheesecake stuffed cake must be stored in the refrigerator (ideally covered or in an airtight container) and will keep for up to 6 days. Cheesecake stuffed cake may also be frozen.
Gluten FreeThis recipe has been successfully made substituting Cup4Cup gluten free flour for the flour listed.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
I made this cake recently and it was a big hit! I guess I added the powdered sugar too quickly because my icing was way too stiff. I added a little milk which made it a bit soft but it was still absolutely delicious; lesson learned, take your time and don’t add milk! The cake was very “chocolatey” but not bitter and the crumb was great. I think the cake will be my go to chocolate cake recipe from now on and I will definitely make the whole thing again in the future.Thanks for the great recipe!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you enjoyed it despite the powdered sugar mishap. Thanks so much for the review, Mary!
I need to make this css as ke bigger!
Can you please increase the number s ,so it can be a 10” cake?
Hi Ilona! You will want to increase the recipe by 50%. 🙂
What about the time and temperature,?Would that change as well dear Sam? Thanks so much fir your help!
The time would increase, but the temperature would remain the same. 🙂
Can you use a store bought cheesecake?
It could work, but it probably won’t be as good as homemade. 🙂
I made this recipe for Christmas dinner and it turned out fabulously! There were a lot of steps involved, but I read the whole recipe through and watched your video and so I was well prepared. I made the cake and cheesecake 2 days in advance, but I wrapped them well and then assembled the whole thing the night before. The outside was not as nicely done as yours but it looked awesome on the inside. The family said it was now their favorite desert.
I made this cake again and It didn’t suck this time. 😂 I’m not sure what happened the first time I made it. Best cake ever!!
I’m so glad it turned out for you this time, Michelle! 🙂
Miriam Rose Blanar
Do you think I could use black cocoa powder?
Hi Miriam! I haven’t tried it, but that should work just fine. 🙂
Miriam Rose Blanar
Thank you! I tried it with black cocoa and it got rave reviews!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Wonderful! Thanks for letting us know, Miriam 🥰
I’m a little short on sour cream. I’ve got about 1/3 cup. I think i can add whipping cream/heavy cream to make up the difference right?
I’ve made many cheesecakes using both sour cream and whipping cream but just want to check amounts. So if I use 1/3 cup sour cream would I also use 1/3 cup heavy cream or just the difference between 1/3 and 1/2 cup? Hope that makes sense.
I’m making this cheesecake to put between layers of lemon cake and then frosting with cream cheese whipping cream frosting and a white chocolate ganache between layers. 🤞
Hi Jody! Sounds like you are busy! I wouldn’t add the whipping cream/heavy cream here.