Pumpkin cheesecake and fudgy brownie swirl together to create these decadent brownies that are perfect for fall and just a little different. The brownie is deliciously rich and fudgy, then the pumpkin cheesecake layer is creamy and a little tangy with the perfect pumpkin spice flavor.
If you love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate chips – whether its in a slice of warm pumpkin chocolate chip bread or a cute pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake – then you definitely need to try these pumpkin cheesecake brownies. The bottom layer is a rich, decadent and slightly gooey brownie. Then there’s a layer of creamy pumpkin cheesecake. It’s perfectly spiced for a creamy pumpkin spice flavor. Then there’s even more brownie batter swirled on top.
The richness of the chocolate brownie pairs perfectly with the creaminess of the cheesecake. The warm spices from the pumpkin cheesecake really complement the chocolate. I definitely don’t find that the pumpkin competes with the chocolate – instead the flavors really complement each other.
Making Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
This recipe is based on my cream cheese brownie recipe which is a rich brownie swirled with classic cheesecake. So in this recipe, the cheesecake layer is substituted pumpkin cheesecake.
You’ll first make the brownie layer. It’s made with melted dark chocolate (as opposed to cocoa powder) for a fudgy, gooey texture. You’ll notice that there’s no leaveners (baking powder or baking soda) in this recipe, and not too much flour. This keeps the brownie dense and fudgy as opposed to cakey.
Then it’s time to make the pumpkin cheesecake layer. You’ll need cream cheese, granulated sugar, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin puree (AKA pure pumpkin ) and an egg. You’ll blot the pumpkin puree first to remove excess liquid/moisture. This ensures that the cheesecake layer isn’t too thin.
You’ll beat together the cream cheese, sugar and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Then mix in the blotted pumpkin followed by the egg. You can see what I mean about blotting the pumpkin below.
After both layers are prepared, it’s time to assemble the brownies.
- Reserve ½ cup of brownie batter for the swirl on top. Then pour the rest of the batter into your prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Spoon the pumpkin cheesecake layer on top and smooth it over so that the brownie layer is evenly covered.
- Drop small spoonfuls (a little more than a teaspoon each) of the brownie batter on top of the cheesecake layer. I do 4 rows of 4 spoonfuls.
- Use a knife or wooden skewer to swirl the brownie batter and cheesecake. You’ll notice that the brownie layer is thicker than the cheesecake layer. You want to swirl it enough that there aren’t still dollops of brownie batter, but not so much that it looks messy/muddy.
Then it’s time to bake the brownies. They’ll need to bake for about 30 minutes in an oven preheated to 325F (160C) degrees. When they’re done baking, the top should look set, but there may still be a bit of a wobble in the pan. The brownies will need to cool fully, then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Chilling is absolutely mandatory for the brownies to set properly.
- Make sure the cream cheese and eggs are room temperature before getting started. Room temperature cream cheese is imperative so that your cheesecake doesn’t have lumps.
- I used 70% dark chocolate for the brownies. You could use anything between 50-70% dark chocolate. If really want to use semi-sweet chocolate, then I’d recommend adding one tablespoon of cocoa powder. Otherwise, the brownie layer will be quite sweet.
- Make sure you’re using pure pumpkin and not canned pumpkin pie filling. Canned pumpkin pie filling has added sweeteners and thickeners. Since this recipe was developed with pure pumpkin, it won’t work with pumpkin pie filling.
- Don’t forget to chill your brownies! Otherwise, they won’t set properly. Like any cheesecake recipe, pumpkin cheesecake brownies should be stored in the fridge.
If you’re hesitant or curious about the flavor combo – I urge you to try these pumpkin cheesecake brownies. They’re the perfect dessert brownie (as opposed to the type of after school brownie you’d make for children), and are decadently delicious for fall.
Looking for more pumpkin favorites? Be sure to try:
- Pumpkin Cheesecake – this is the quintessential fall dessert
- Pumpkin Streusel Bars
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies
- 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) pan
- 4 ounces dark chocolate (112 grams) I used 70%
- ½ cup unsalted butter (112 grams) salted is fine, just omit the salt from the recipe
- 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (65 grams)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup pure pumpkin AKA pumpkin puree
- 8 ounces full-fat cream cheese (226 grams)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (66 grams)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice see notes for substitution
- 1 large egg
- Preheat the oven to 325F (160C) degrees.
- Line an 8x8 inch (20x20 cm ) baking pan with tin foil, leaving an overhang around the edges. Lightly grease with non-stick cooking spray.
- Chop the chocolate into very small pieces.
- Place the chocolate in a large heat proof bowl with the butter cut into about 8 pieces.
- Microwave on medium power (not high power, which is the default on many models) for 45-second intervals. Stir between each interval until smooth.
- Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract.
- Whisk in the eggs 1 at a time until combined. Make sure to do this by hand and not with an electric mixer.
- Gently stir in the flour and salt. Set aside as you make the pumpkin cheesecake layer
Pumpkin Cheesecake Layer
- Blot/squeeze the excess liquid out of the pumpkin using a paper towel. I typically place a paper towel into a small bowl and add in the pumpkin. Then squeeze out any excess liquid. If you skip this step, the cheesecake layer will be too thin and need much longer to bake than the brownie.
- In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and pumpkin pie spice until smooth and creamy. There should be no lumps.
- Stir in the pumpkin. Be sure not to add any liquid from the bottom of the bowl that you've squeezed out.
- Mix in the egg until just combined.
Assemble & Bake
- Reserve ½ cup of brownie batter. Pour the rest of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
- Spoon the pumpkin cheesecake layer over top of the brownie and smooth the top so that all the brownie layer is covered.
- Drop small spoonfuls from the reserved ½ cup of brownie batter on top of the cheesecake layer. I typically do 4 rows of 4 dollops of brownie batter. Each is a bit more than a teaspoon.
- Use a knife or wooden skewer to swirl the dollops of brownie into the cheesecake layer. The brownie is thicker than the cheesecake so it can take a little work.
- Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for about 27-33 minutes, or until the top looks set. The cheesecake layer may still have a little wobble to it.
- Cool the brownies fully. Then cover the pan and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
- When ready to serve, lift the brownies out of the pan using the overhang of the tin foil and place on a cutting board.
- Peel back the tin foil. Slice the brownies with a sharp knife (not a table knife). Wipe the knife clean in between each slice for clean cuts.
- Dark Chocolate: I recommend using 70% dark chocolate so that the brownies aren't too sweet. Anything between 50-70% works.
- Room Temperature Ingredients: The cream cheese and eggs must be room temperature before getting started so that everything mixes together evenly with no lumps.
- Cream Cheese: Make sure to use full-fat, brick-style cream cheese. Do not use any low fat version or anything that comes in a tub.
- Pumpkin: Make sure you're using canned pure pumpkin (sometimes labeled pumpkin puree). Do not use canned pumpkin pie filling.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: You can make your own pumpkin pie spice with ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger and a sprinkle of ground cloves and nutmeg.
- Nutrition: Details are an estimate only and based on 1 brownie, assuming the pan is sliced into 12 equal-sized brownies.
- Storage: Store brownies in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Because of the cheesecake, they really must be stored in the fridge.