Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake Cake with Fudge Frosting

Calling all chocolate lovers! This rich and decadent chocolate cake with chocolate cookie crust, chocolate chip cheesecake filling and fudge frosting is not for the faint of heart. No, this Chocolate Cheesecake Cake is for serious chocolate lovers!

Chocolate cake slice on plate with a few bites eaten.

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Chocolate Cheesecake Cake

Is cheesecake really cake? I know it’s not pie, but is it really cake? I turned this over and over in my mind, and I finally decided to blue the lines a bit and create a recipe that combines a traditional crumb cake with a traditional cheesecake. I’m so glad I did!

Each dark chocolate cake layer is baked onto a homemade Oreo cookie crust, and in between the layers is… you guessed it, cheesecake! It’s a tangy cheesecake filling with semi-sweet chocolate chips, and it pairs perfectly with the bittersweet chocolate cake. Then, for one more layer of deliciousness, there’s a rich fudge frosting covering it all. This frosting is a little dense than my silky-smooth chocolate buttercream – an absolute decadent dream, befitting my very first cheesecake-cake recipe.

Chocolate cake on a cake stand.

The Best Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

The chocolate cake recipe for this cake is my absolute favorite. It’s rich, moist, and full of chocolate flavor. I use it for nearly any cake that calls for chocolate layers. Once you try it, I have no doubt you’ll love it as much as I do.

Things to note about this chocolate cake recipe:
  • This chocolate cake has a lot of liquid, which is what makes it moist, but it does mean that the cake batter will be thin. Don’t let that stress you out. It bakes beautifully.
  • The layers for this cake will bake to a height of 1.25″ – 1.5 — if you want thicker cake layers, you can 1.5x or double the recipe.
  • Dark cocoa powder makes a HUGE impact on flavor. I don’t recommend using regular cocoa powder for this cake. We want the slight bittersweet chocolate, as it pairs perfectly with the sweet filling and doesn’t lose any of the chocolate flavor during baking.
  • You’re baking the chocolate cake right on top of the cookie crust.
Woman taking a slice of cake from a whole cake.

Cheesecake Filling

Forget heading to the Cheesecake Factory for their chocolate cake cheesecake. You can make the easiest and most delicious cheesecake filling for this chocolate cake right at home!

To make the chocolate chip cheesecake filling, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Cream cheese
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Mini chocolate chips

Rather than bake this mixture in a cheesecake pan, you’ll simply bake it in a square baking pan, until the edges are fairly firm. However, the center will still be lightly jiggly. As the mixture cools, it will thicken.

NOTE: Do not add the chocolate chips until AFTER the cheesecake filling is completely cool.

MAKE AHEAD TIP: the chocolate chip cheesecake filling is a great element to make ahead of time. In fact, I prefer the consistency of the filling when I’ve made it a day before assembly. Once the filling is completely room temperature and you’ve added the chocolate chips, store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cake slice on a plate next to a whole cake on a cake stand.

Easy Homemade Fudge Frosting

This fudge frosting is a bit different than my typical buttercreams, both in texture and in the process to make it. It is, however, equally delicious!

To make the fudge frosting, you’ll want to use a food processor or blender. I prefer a food processor.

Other Chocolate Cakes You’ll Love

Cake slice on a plate next to a whole cake on a cake stand.

Chocolate Cheesecake Cake

5 from 3 votes

Ingredients
 

For the Chocolate Cookie Crust

  • 25 Oreo cookies finely ground
  • 4 tablespoons (56.5 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt

For the Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups (88.5 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1 cup (240 g) buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (109 g) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (236.6 g) hot water

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (7.5 g) cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon (15.13 g) milk
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup (85.5 g) mini chocolate chips

For the Fudge Buttercream

  • 1 1/4 cups (169.5 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar, measured then sifted
  • 3/4 cup (75 g) dark cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup (276 g) light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons (8.4 g) vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces (283 g) dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 teaspoons (3 g) salt

Instructions
 

For the Chocolate Cookie Crust

  • Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper, and spray again. Set aside.
  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Mixture should resemble wet sand.
  • Evenly divide the crumbs between the three pans and firmly pat into an even crust.
  • Set aside while you make the chocolate cake batter.

For the Dark Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, water, and vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans (about 16 ounces in each pan), over the chocolate cookie crusts, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
  • Remove the cake pans from the oven and let the layers cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Cheesecake Filling

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8”x8” baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the sugar and cream cheese until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, cornstarch, and salt.
  • Add the milk mixture to the sugar mixture and stir until combined.
  • Stir in the egg and egg yolk. Beat on medium speed or by hand for a couple minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pan.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the mixture is slightly set around the edges but still soft in the middle.
  • Let the cheesecake filling cool completely before adding the chocolate chips.
  • You can make this element ahead of time and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

For the Fudge Buttercream

  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute. Stir until smooth and silky.
  • In food processor, combine the butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. Mix until smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl about half way through.
  • Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix until just combined, about 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and then add the melted chocolate. Pulse until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds.
  • This frosting will get darker as it sets.

Assembly

  • Place the first cake layer, top side up, in the middle of your cake board or cake plate.
  • Pipe a rim of the buttercream around the edge of the cake.
  • Evenly spread about 1 cup of cheesecake filling over the cake layer, getting eye level with the cake to ensure the filling is level.
  • Place the second cake layer on top, pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge and spread another cup of filling over the cake layer.
  • Place the final cake layer, top side down, on the second layer of filling.
  • Apply a thin coat of frosting around the entire cake to lock in the crumbs. Freeze for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • After the crumb coat is set, continue frosting and decorating the cake with remaining buttercream
Cuisine Cake
Course Dessert
Keyword Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Cheesecake Cake, Dark Chocolate Cake, Fudge Frosting

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. Hey Courtney!

    For the cookie crust, do you remove the filling from the Oreo’s or keeping them whole before finely grinding them up?

    Thanks!

  2. I am trying out your recipe today and for some reason my fudge icing is super runny. It tastes amazing but it is almost soupy. I am not sure what I did wrong.

  3. Do you bake the cheesecake filling and then store it in the refrigerator before using it? Is the cheesecake filling soft enough and spreadable? If its in a square pan, I’m assuming you just scoop it out and spread it over the layers?

  4. The directions for the cheesecake filling say to combine the cornstarch, milk, and salt but the ingredients doesn’t say how much salt to put in….help!

  5. Hi Courtney!

    I was wondering if this cake would be just as good with your typical chocolate buttercream and a drizzle of chocolate ganache on top? (I have some extra of the chocolate buttercream I made for your other chocolate cake and figured maybe I could use it and make another small batch to finish up what I would need.) I also have some ganache left over but would love your thoughts as you are the flavor queen when it comes to cake!