Fudge brownie swirled with creamy coffee cheesecake – these mocha cheesecake brownies are incredibly decadent. They’re a grown up brownie dessert that’s easier than making cheesecake and perfect for anyone who loves a brownie that’s extra fudgy, not too sweet and super rich.
Coffee, brownies and cheesecake are my three favorite vices. So needless to say – these mocha cheesecake brownies are probably my perfect dessert. They start with an incredibly fudgy brownie that’s dense and gooey. It’s the type of brownie that has a delicious dark chocolate flavor that’s rich without tasting too sweet. Then the brownie batter is swirled with creamy coffee cheesecake. The cheesecake layer is adapted from my favorite coffee cheesecake recipe. It’s creamy with a delicious coffee flavor that pairs perfectly with the brownie.
Making the Brownies
You’ll need to make both layers for this recipe – the brownie and the coffee cheesecake.
For the brownie layer, you’ll melt together butter and dark chocolate. Then whisk in the sugar, egg and vanilla. Finally, the flour and salt and gently whisked into the batter until you no longer see any lumps. Easy peasy. My main tips for making these brownies are:
- Always melt together the butter and chopped dark chocolate very slowly – either in a double boiler or low heat or in the microwave using 45-second intervals on medium heat. If you try to melt together the chocolate and butter on too high of heat/too quickly, the chocolate can become grainy.
- I like to use 70% dark chocolate for this recipe. Anything between about 50-75% will work, or even semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer something sweeter. I don’t recommend using anything stronger than 80% though, as the brownie layer can become too bitter.
- Let the melted chocolate and butter mixture cool slightly before whisking in the egg. Otherwise, the hot butter/chocolate can end up cookie the egg and you’ll have pieces of scrambled egg in your brownie batter. Gross.
Then for the cheesecake layer, you’ll first dissolve some instant coffee powder in hot water. You’ll beat together the softened cream cheese and sugar, followed by the dissolved coffee, vanilla and egg. When making the cheesecake layer it’s important that:
- You use instant coffee powder and not simply coffee grounds. Coffee grounds will not dissolve and impart their flavor. I recommend using a brand of instant coffee powder that is very fine – I like the Starbucks variety – because it will dissolve much better.
- The cream cheese and egg should be at room temperature before getting started. Otherwise, the cheesecake can end up lumpy or overmixed.
- The cream cheese is full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Do not use anything that comes in a tub, is labeled “spreadable” or is a low calorie/low fat variety.
After you’ve made both layers, it’s time to assemble the brownies. I’ve included photos below to show you each step.
- Reserve ½ cup of the brownie batter. Spoon the remaining brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top into an even layer.
- Carefully spoon the cheesecake layer over top of the brownie layer and carefully spread into an even layer so that all of the brownie is covered. Do not pour/dump the cheesecake batter into the middle of the brownie pan or it will be almost impossible to spread the cheesecake batter into an even layer.
- Drop small spoonfuls of the reserved ½ cup of brownie batter over the top of the cheesecake layer. I did 4 rows of 4.
- Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to swirl the spoonfuls of brownie batter into the cheesecake layer.
The brownies will need to bake for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven. When they’re done baking the top should look just set and if you give the pan a gentle nudge it shouldn’t wobble like a glass of milk.
Note: Like any cheesecake recipe, these mocha cheesecake brownies will need to cool fully and then chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge. This is for the cheesecake layer to set properly. The flavor of cheesecake also actually improves as the cheesecake chills in the fridge. Do not skip this step!
Chocolate brownie, creamy coffee cheesecake swirled together into one decadent dessert – these mocha cheesecake brownies are the perfect grown up brownie recipe. And if you love mocha recipes, then me sure to try:
- Mocha Brownies – these are fudgy brownies with creamy coffee frosting
- Layered Mocha Cheesecake – this decadent cheesecake has a layer of coffee cheesecake and a layer of chocolate cheesecake with an Oreo crust
- Mocha Cupcakes
- Coffee Bundt Cake
Mocha Cheesecake Brownies
- 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) pan there isn't quite enough batter for a 9x9 inch (23x23 cm) pan
- ½ cup unsalted butter (112 grams) cut into cubes
- 4 ounces dark chocolate (112 grams) very finely chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (63 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Coffee Cheesecake Layer
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder do not use coffee grounds
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese (228 grams) room temperature
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar (75 grams) if you prefer a sweeter cheesecake, use ½ cup sugar instead
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 325F (160C). Line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang around the edges. Lightly grease. Alternatively, you can simply lightly grease the pan.
- Place the butter (cut into cubes) and the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds at a time on medium power (not high power, which is often the default) and stir between each interval until smooth. Alternatively, melt in a double boiler over low heat.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Then whisk in the sugar, egg and vanilla extract.
- Whisk in the flour and salt until smooth. Set aside as you make the cheesecake layer.
Coffee Cheesecake Layer
- In a small bowl/cup, whisk together the instant coffee powder and boiling water.
- In a separate medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Then beat in the sugar.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Ensure there are no lumps in the cream cheese. Then beat in the egg and instant coffee dissolved in water.
Assembling & Baking the Brownies
- Reserve ½ cup of brownie batter. Then pour/spoon the remaining brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Carefully drop spoonfuls of coffee cheesecake on top of the brownie batter and spread into an even layer so that all the brownie batter is covered. Be careful not to just dump the cheesecake batter in the middle of the pan - otherwise it can be hard to spread into an even layer.
- With the reserved ½ cup of brownie batter, drop small spoonfuls of batter onto the cheesecake layer. I did 4 rows of 4 spoonfuls - each was a little over a teaspoon in size.
- Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl the spoonfuls of brownie batter into the cheesecake layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven on a rack about ⅓ from the bottom of the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the top looks almost set.
- Remove from the oven and cool the brownies in the pan until the pan no longer feels warm to the touch.
- Cover the pan and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.
- When ready to slice, lift the brownies out of the pan using the overhang of the aluminum foil. Place on a cutting board and slice with a sharp knife. If you didn't line the pan and simply greased it, slice the brownies in the pan.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: The eggs and cream cheese should be at room temperature before getting started. Take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior.
- Dark Chocolate: I used 70% dark chocolate. Anything between 50-75% dark chocolate works well, or semi-sweet chocolate for a sweeter brownie.
- Instant Coffee: Be sure to use instant coffee and not coffee grounds. I recommend using a brand with very fine granules - I like the Starbucks brand because it is very fine. You can also use instant espresso powder - I'd recommend using ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder. I use enough for what the package says makes 1 cup of coffee, but on the lighter end - ie the brand I used said 1-2 teaspoons per cup of coffee, so I used 1 teaspoon.
- Storage: Store brownies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Because brownies need to chill for at least 4 hours in the fridge, I typically make them the day before I plan to serve.
- Nutrition: Details provided are an estimate only and based on 1 brownie, assuming the pan is sliced into 12 equal brownies.
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