Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake: Why choose between three desserts when you can have all three? This Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake features three decadent layers of brownie, peppermint cheesecake, and chocolate cake. With a light peppermint whipped cream frosting sandwiched between, and topped with a chocolate ganache glaze, this cake is a stunner. 

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.comYou’ll never believe this, but I’m writing this post in the mall. Truth. As I sit here waiting for my brother, the rush of people are, well, rushing by – although some might just be sauntering. A bench is serving as my office in the mall that was a Christmastime tradition, more than a dozen years ago. Even now, the Scrooge puppet show that we watched as kids has just finished, I heard it not too far off.

You might be wondering what could be so special about a mall. Especially a mall at Christmas during the utter chaos of the season. I’d be wondering too. But memories are filled with· my mom and aunt taking all of us cousins to see the big train display, marvel at the outrageous toys at FAO Shwarz and pick up some treats in the adjoining candy store. It may seem weird, but this mall was a fun place to visit during the festive season.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

How things change, but at least we have memories to hold on to! Unfortunately, many things have changed about this mall since I was a youngster. The arrival of new shops and the loss of some dearly loved shops; the big train display, the puppet shows, and the lack of penguins which used to appear around this time (yes, penguins). Even so, through all the changes, it is still a family tradition – which is partly why I’m here today. :)

Do you have any special Christmastime memories/traditions?

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Now about this cake… Oh, this cake. It’s not a memory or a tradition, but it should become one. If you’re an indecisive person, the person where the ice cream shop with 50 flavors is more nightmare than pleasure, you will love this dessert. Even if you’re not indecisive. It consists of three layers.. and three different desserts. Why choose between options when you can have them all?

Am I right or what?

OK, so more on these layers, these THREE luscious layers. They consist of:

  1. Chocolate Cake
  2. Peppermint Cheesecake
  3. Brownie

And sandwiched between said layers is a peppermint whipped cream frosting. On top? Ganache. Pure ganache.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.comI chose the whipped cream frosting because I’m not a big fan of the usual frosting fare paired with something other than pure cake. The idea didn’t just seem to work and the thought of cheesecake paired with a buttercream frosting wasn’t thrilling me. But whipped cream? That’s different. And it’s really what this cake needs as it’s heavy enough already.

And that’s also partly why I chose a ganache glaze for toppers – well, that and the fact it’s ganache. Ganache! Ganache goes with everything and is awesome with everything. Ganache and cake? Yes. Ganache and cheesecake? Heck, yeah. Ganache and brownies? One of the best toppings for a brownie! Ganache and burgers? Ok, not that, but you get my point.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Now, let’s break down the layers individually. First, there’s the cake. This cake is my new favorite chocolate cake recipe and I don’t I’ll ever make another. It’s moist (which is pretty much all I look for in a cake) and full of chocolate goodness (um, it has coffee!). It also makes a wonderful accompaniment to the cheesecake.

Then there’s the peppermint cheesecake. It’s peppermint cheesecake and I shouldn’t have to tell you anything more… but I will. The highlight is the peppermint candies inside which melt into the batter and make for wonderful flavors. This not only goes well with the chocolate cake but is lovely with the brownie – think of a brownie base cheesecake.

Finally, the brownie. I chose one of my go-to recipes; it’s a good amount of fudgy and good in the way only a brownie can be. It’s also no muss, no fuss to make, which is what you need for this cake.

Put these layers together and voila, chocolate peppermint heaven.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Before making, here are a few things to note:

  1. Make sure all your pans are exactly the same size. If you look, you can see the cake is a little off and that’s because one of my 3 identical cake pans went missing (how does that happen?) and so I used one that was a little deeper than the others. Not good.
  2. The brownie layer is definitely thinner than the other layers. If this bothers you, you can either, trim a little more off the cake (it’s pretty thick), double the brownie recipe, or use your personal favorite brownie recipe.
  3. Cold brownie can be a little hard to cut through, so be sure to use a sharp knife for cutting.
  4. If you want to decorate the top with some whipped cream, then I recommend doubling the whipped cream frosting recipe – it’s better than using store-bought whipped cream

And I think that’s about it!

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake | Sempre-Dolce.com

Cottura felice!

P.S. Please pardon the million steps (I wish I could break them up more!) and please don’t be intimidated by them – the time involved is really the hardest thing about this recipe. It’s worth the effort and you can do it! I have faith.

Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake Brownie Cake
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Ingredients

    Cheesecake Layer:
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. peppermint extract
  • ⅓ C. + 2 tbsp. peppermint crunch baking chips (I use Andes)
  • Chocolate Cake Layer:
  • 1 C. + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 C. buttermilk, shaken(I recommend full-fat buttermilk!)
  • 1/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C. freshly brewed hot coffee
  • Brownie Layer:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 C. cup all-purpose flour
  • Whipped Cream Frosting:
  • 1 C. heavy whipping cream, well chilled
  • ½ C. powdered sugar
  • ¼ tsp. Peppermint extract
  • Ganache:
  • 1 ½ C. (9 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C. heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream)
  • Garnish:
  • Crushed peppermint candies
  • Whipped cream frosting, optional

Instructions

    For the cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Add in sugar and beat until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add eggs, beating after each addition.
  6. Beat in half and half, then extracts. Beat until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
  7. Stir in peppermint baking chips.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until set in center and edges are puffed.
  9. When done baking, remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool slightly, then run knife around edges of cheesecake. Cool completely.
  10. Once cool, invert cheesecake onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap then place in freezer while making other layers, at least 1 hour.
  11. For the cake:
  12. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  13. Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
  14. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  15. In a small/medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla until combined.
  16. Add coffee and whisk until just combined.
  17. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached when inserted.
  18. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
  19. For the brownies (if you have double ovens, the brownies can bake separately while the cake bakes to save time):
  20. Preheat oven to 325° F.
  21. Line the bottom of an 8 in. round cake pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray (or grease with butter and flour).
  22. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt.
  23. Add butter, pouring in a steady stream, and whisking constantly until blended.
  24. Add in vanilla and whisk to combine.
  25. Add eggs one at a time, whisking vigorously to blend after each addition.
  26. Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour and stir until just combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.
  27. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached when inserted.
  28. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
  29. Once cake and brownies are cool enough to handle, invert onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  30. Once ready to assemble, make frosting.
  31. For the frosting:
  32. Place the bowl of a stand mixer (or a metal bowl and beaters of an electric mixer) along with whisk attachment in freezer for about 10 minutes to chill.
  33. In the chilled bowl using the chilled whisk attachment, whisk the cream until frothy and slightly thick.
  34. Gradually add powdered sugar then peppermint extract and beat until thick. You will want it thick enough for spreading as a frosting.
  35. If you have doubled the frosting recipe to use for garnish, reserve about ½ C. and place in fridge.
  36. To assemble:
  37. Remove cheesecake from freezer.
  38. Trim top off of cake.
  39. Place the brownie, top side down on a cake plate/pedestal.
  40. Place ½ of the frosting on the brownie and spread evenly over the top.
  41. Unwrap cheesecake and place top side up on top of brownie layer.
  42. Spread remaining frosting evenly over the top of cheesecake.
  43. Place cake top side down on top of cheesecake layer and place in fridge.
  44. Make the ganache:
  45. Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl.
  46. In a microwave safe bowl/container/measuring cup, microwave on high setting for 1 ½ - 2 minutes, or until just beginning to simmer. (This can also be done on the stove top in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, if you prefer.)
  47. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand for about 5 minutes.
  48. Then, whisk together until mixture is smooth and chocolate is completely melted.
  49. Remove cake from fridge and pour ganache over the top, spreading with a spatula so it goes over the sides.
  50. Using the spatula, spread ganache around the sides of cake until thoroughly coated.
  51. Decorate the top with crushed peppermint candies and place in fridge to allow ganache to set.
  52. If decorating with whipped cream frosting: once ganache is set and you are ready to serve, pipe some of the reserved frosting around the top of cake and sprinkle with peppermint dust (or very finely ground peppermints), if desired.
  53. Store any leftover cake in the fridge and make sure it does not sit out for too long at room temperature.
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https://sempre-dolce.com/chocolate-peppermint-cheesecake-brownie-cake/

Recipe Adapted from Epicurious (cheesecake & brownies), Ina Garten (cake), and Food.com (frosting)

Lexi
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