At the holidays, I like to offer guests a variety of options. This applies to the main meal and all the trimmings, as well as my selection of appetizers, and it’s certainly true for dessert, too. This Brownie Cheesecake can be topped in a variety of ways making it so versatile that my guests just gobble it up. Brownie Cheesecake with a toppings bar – a family favorite.
Believe it or not, the brownie base starts with an ordinary box mix. Your favorite brand, plain or loaded, fudgy or regular. Go for it. It’s your choice! If you prefer to make the brownies from scratch, that will work, too. The cheesecake layer is made completely from scratch, and it’s so incredibly easy! Your guests will be raving, but only you will know exactly how easy this dessert was to prepare.
I want to make a special note that a piece of oiled parchment paper or aluminum foil with flaps left over the edge or a springform pan to help get these out of the pan is the best plan. It is doable without these add-ons but it can be difficult. So I usually err on the side of caution and add an aluminum foil or parchment liner. You can use a square pan as I did or a round springform pan for more pie-like slices, either works well for this recipe.
Once the cheesecake is on top, spread it around evenly from edge to edge. This bakes up tall and completely fills my 9-inch x 9-inch brownie pan. Once it’s baked, allow it too cool for about 4 hours before serving. I know, it’s hard to wait that long!
This Brownie Cheesecake is delicious plain. However, as I mentioned earlier, you can offer a toppings bar and allow your guests to top a slice any way they like. We set out caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, cherry pie filling, hot fudge sauce, and toasted coconut and almonds. It’s amazing the flavor combinations you can make out of a few ingredients. My guests always rave about this recipe.
Since this dessert is so decadent, you can easily get about 20 – 24 servings from a single recipe which makes it perfect for entertaining.
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For the Brownie Layer:
- 1 brownie mix (19 to 21 oz.) brownie mix prepared according to the package instructions [See Note]
For the Cheesecake Layer:
- 32 oz cream cheese , softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
Optional Toppings (not included in nutritional information):
- Caramel Sauce
- Hot Fudge Sauce
- Toasted pecans
- Toasted Almonds
- Toasted Coconut
- Strawberry Sauce
- Cherry Pie Filling
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare brownie batter per the package directions and pour into a foil or parchment lined 9-inch x 9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray or oiled with butter. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is shiny and center is almost fully set.
- While the brownie bakes, beat the softened cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Scrape sides and blend again until incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix well. Next, add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each one until just blended; set aside.
- After the brownies are almost set, remove the pan from the oven and carefully pour the cream cheese batter over the top of the brownie layer in pan. This will come almost to top of pan.
- Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
- Put the cheesecake back into the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until center is set. Remove from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen sides; cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours before serving.