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You know those recipes that your friends and family ask you to make again and again for every occasion? I think this Caramel Brownie Cheesecake recipe might just be one of them.
This cheesecake combines the best elements of the dessert world for one dreamy result. Every bite is such an explosion of amazing tastes and textures. I can’t wait for you to try it!
What I love about cheesecakes particularly is that you have to make them ahead of time, so they’re perfect for entertaining or serving a group. Plus they’re always such crowd pleasers – who doesn’t love cheesecake?!
So, grab the ingredients the next time you’re at the grocery store, find a fun playlist to jam to in your kitchen, and get to baking this Caramel Brownie Cheesecake!
How to Make Caramel Brownie Cheesecake
The Best Cream Cheese for Cheesecakes
- Be sure to use full-fat, high-quality bricks of cream cheese (not the stuff you spread on a bagel).
- The cream cheese should be at room temperature. This is super important as it will create a smooth and creamy cheesecake without any lumps and bumps.
- Don’t overbeat the cheesecake filling once the eggs are added! This will cause the Caramel Brownie Cheesecake to sink in the center and crack more.
The Brownie Base Layer
This brownie bottom layer is super simple but creates a ridiculously fudgy and rich brownie with tons of chocolate flavor. It uses cocoa powder, so no chopping or melting chocolate. You bake it for about 15 minutes, or just until it begins to set, before adding the cheesecake batter so it cooks through completely into two distinct layers.
If you want to take a shortcut and use a brownie mix, you can – but I think making this layer from scratch is worth the extra effort!
The Salted Caramel Sauce
You can use store-bought or homemade caramel sauce for the topping. I have a whole blog post & quick video on how to make caramel sauce here. If you’re using store-bought, I like Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce!
What Baking Pan Do I Need for Caramel Brownie Cheesecake?
This Caramel Brownie Cheesecake recipe was written to use a high-quality 9-inch springform pan. Not all springform pans are made equally! I also recommend placing the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet while baking to catch any leaks.
Do I Need a Water Bath for Caramel Brownie Cheesecake?
There is no water bath required for this Caramel Brownie Cheesecake recipe! I decided to skip that hassle because even if some cracks form, we’re covering the cheesecake with caramel, which will help camouflage imperfections.
How to Bake Cheesecake Without a Water Bath
To prevent cracks without the need for a water bath, we’re going to prevent dramatic temperature changes. Here’s how:
- Use the oven door trick. Once the cheesecake is almost done baking, turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake inside. Crack the oven door slightly (I typically use a wooden spoon to prop it open just a little) to allow the oven to lose its heat slowly.
- Cool to room temperature before chilling. After 10 minutes of sitting in the oven, we will then allow the cheesecake to sit at room temperature until it is no longer warm, and then chill it.
- Bonus tip: don’t overbake. When it comes to baking cheesecake, it’s always better to err on the side of underbaking than over-baking. The edges should be set and dry, but it’s okay if the center is still slightly wobbly or jiggly. The residual heat will continue to cook the cheesecake even once it’s removed from the oven.
If you’re passionate about baking and want to learn more about the science behind it, consider my online baking course, The Magic of Baking. This course offers in-depth knowledge about baking techniques, ingredients, and tools to help you become a more confident and skilled baker.
How to Serve Caramel Brownie Cheesecake
The hardest part of this Caramel Brownie Cheesecake recipe is mustering the patience to let it chill for at least 4 hours before eating! I usually like to let it chill overnight, just to make sure it’s completely set and I’m able to cut clean slices. Use a sharp knife and run it under hot water in between cuts for beautiful bakery-quality slices. Drizzle the caramel on just before serving.
How to Store Caramel Brownie Cheesecake
Store Caramel Brownie Cheesecake in the fridge for up to 2 days.
More Cheesecake Recipes:
- Oreo Cheesecake
- Death by Chocolate Cheesecake
- Snickers Cheesecake
- Ultimate Peanut Butter Cheesecake
- Ultimate Classic Cheesecake
This recipe was originally posted in 2018 and has been updated with additional baking tips. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.
For the brownie layer:
- 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (85 grams) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (62 grams) all-purpose flour
For the cheesecake layer:
- 24 ounces (680 grams) cream cheese, completely softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (59 grams) heavy cream
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
For the caramel:
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, store-bought or homemade
Make the brownie layer:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir until well combined. Mixture will be thick. Let cool to just warm if the butter is still hot. Stir in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, stirring very well after each addition. Stir until the batter is very well blended. Add the flour and stir again until combined. Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until just starting to set but not fully cooked. Let cool to room temperature then place in the fridge to chill until ready to use while you make the other layers. Maintain 325°F oven temperature if baking cheesecake layer immediately.
Make the cheesecake layer:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugars and cream and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all cream cheese is incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until smooth. Add in the vanilla.
- Pour the batter on top of the cooled brownie crust and tap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top looks slightly dry. If the middle is slightly wobbly, that’s fine. Err on the side of under-baking. Turn off the oven, crack the oven door open, and allow to cool for 10 minutes (this helps prevent cracking). Remove the cheesecake from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until completely chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Release the cheesecake from the pan onto a cake stand or serving plate. Cut into slices and drizzle each slice with caramel sauce. Serve.