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Black Forest Cheesecake Brownies

Riley Wofford
Cook Time:
35 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins
9-12 brownies

Chef notes

This one is for the chocolate-covered cherry lovers in your life. And the brownie connoisseurs. And the cheesecake aficionados, come to think of it. These brownie-cheesecake combos are modeled after the classic Black Forest cake, which usually pairs rich chocolate cake with boozy cherries and plenty of sweet whipped cream. For these Black Forest-inspired brownies, layers of maraschino cherry-studded chocolate brownie batter, rich cheesecake and fruity cherry preserves are baked together to make this dessert. 

The brownie layer is pretty straightforward. Two kinds of chocolate — cocoa powder and melted bittersweet chocolate — and two kinds of sugar — granulated and brown — flavor the brownie batter. A touch of almond extract complements the flavor of the maraschino cherries perfectly since sweet cherries already have almond flavor notes. But if you’re not a fan of almond extract, you can use vanilla instead. These brownies are dense, fudgy and a little chewy. They’re delicious on their own but are even more decadent when baked with a layer of creamy cheesecake on top. 

The cheesecake layer is also pretty simple — pile all of the ingredients (there are only four of them!) into a food processor, pulse the mixture until smooth and pour it directly over the brownie layer. Use your favorite cherry preserves (or any other fruit jam or jelly) to create a swirly pattern in the top of the cheesecake batter. Not only does this look impressive, but it adds even more cherry flavor to the brownies. 

Technique Tip: Mixing the cheesecake batter in a food processor ensures that it comes out silky smooth with no lumps. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender or hand mixer. 

Swap Option: If cherries aren’t your thing, you can mix fresh raspberries into the brownie batter and swirl raspberry jam into the cheesecake layer.

Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.


For the Brownie Layer
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup drained maraschino cherries, halved
For the Cheesecake Layer
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves
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Make the brownie batter:


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter and line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.


In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Place butter, oil and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in both sugars.


Add eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the almond extract. Fold in the flour mixture and cherries until well combined. Spread the batter into an even layer in the greased baking pan.

Make the cheesecake batter:


Place the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Slowly pour over the brownie batter and smooth the surface using a small offset spatula.


Dollop the cherry preserves over the top of the cheesecake layer and, using the tip of a knife, gently swirl it into the batter.


Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top is set but still a bit jiggly in the center. Let cool completely, then refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 1 day. Lift from the pan and cut into squares.