This cosmic brownie cheesecake is the ultimate chocolate cheesecake. It has a fudgy brownie crust with a chocolate cheesecake filling that's creamy and will melt in your mouth. Just like the nostalgic brownies, it's topped with decadent chocolate ganache and colorful candy-coated chips!
Who doesn't love Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies? They were a staple treat during my childhood. They're so chewy with a sweet chocolate ganache frosting and those crunchy rainbow candy-coated chocolate chips.
The packaged brownies we all loved as a kid are what inspired this cosmic brownie cheesecake! It has a chewy brownie crust made from scratch, decadent baked chocolate cheesecake filling, and shiny chocolate ganache on top.
And, of course, I couldn't forget the colorful sprinkles! Kids and adults alike are sure to love this brownie cheesecake.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Brownie crust- Like my raspberry brownie cheesecake, the brownie crust is thick, fudgy, and super chocolatey! Plus, it's baked in the same pan as the cheesecake so there's no extra mess to worry about.
- Baked cheesecake batter- The chocolate cheesecake is baked in the oven. I personally prefer a baked cheesecakes over no bake because of their denser texture. They can be intimidating to make, but this one is easy because of all the tips I've provided to prevent cracks below!
- Chocolate ganache- This cheesecake has a chocolate ganache frosting and rainbow sprinkles just like the cosmic brownies from your childhood! It's shiny and decadent. I used it on my chocolate ganache cake and chocolate ganache brownies too.
- So much chocolate- Chocoholics will absolutely love this recipe. It's perfect to make for special occasions like birthdays or the holiday season.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients used. For quantities and full instructions, see the recipe card below.
Ingredients for the crust.
For the cheesecake filling.
For the topping.
- Chocolate- You need bittersweet chocolate for the brownie crust and semi-sweet chocolate for the cheesecake filling and ganache. I find that bittersweet chocolate in the brownie helps the cheesecake not be too sweet.
- Butter- Unsalted butter works perfectly for adding fat and richness to the brownie crust.
- Sugar- Regular granulated sugar is in the brownie crust and cheesecake filling. It helps sweeten and retain moisture.
- Eggs- Large eggs bind the brownie and cheesecake filling ingredients together. Make sure they are room temperature so they mix in easily.
- All purpose flour- This is the perfect flour to give the brownie crust a chewy texture. Measure it in grams with a kitchen scale for the most accurate results.
- Cocoa powder- Cocoa powder adds more chocolate flavor and structure to the crust and cheesecake filling. I used Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is treated with alkali for a deeper, richer flavor. Unsweetened (or natural) cocoa powder works too.
- Cream cheese- Use full-fat bricks of cream cheese for the best flavor and creamy texture. Avoid cream cheese in a tub. Make sure it's room temperature before using, take it out of the refrigerator an hour before baking.
- Sour cream- Sour cream is delicious in cheesecake because it cuts through the rich cream cheese and adds a light texture. Take out of the refrigerator with the cream cheese.
- Heavy cream- For the ganache, use heavy cream. Do not use milk or half and half or your ganache will be too thin.
- Sprinkles- Rainbow candy coated chips are essential for any cosmic brownie recipe! You can find them at most grocery stores in the baking/cake decorating aisle.
Substitutions & Variations
- You can use an equal amount of oil instead of butter for the brownie crust.
- Plain Greek yogurt is the best substitute for sour cream.
- I don't recommend skipping the brownie crust, but you can definitely make a graham cracker or Oreo crust instead.
- If you don't have candy coated chips, you can use rainbow or chocolate Jimmies or any other kind of sprinkles. You can also add regular chocolate chips, a drizzle of salted caramel sauce, or chunks of real cosmic brownies!
Helpful Equipment & Tools
The cheesecake is baked in a 9-inch springform pan. This type of pan has latched sides that separate from the bottom making the cheesecake easy to remove.
Step by Step Instructions
Before you begin baking, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.
How to Make the Brownie Crust
STEP 1: First, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter in a large bowl. Do this by microwaving at 30 second increments and stirring in between each until smooth.
STEP 2: In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract together on medium-high speed until frothy and pale.
STEP 3: Continue beating the eggs and sugar while streaming in the melted chocolate and butter mixture. Beat until well combined.
STEP 4: Next, fold the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into the wet ingredients until all the dry streaks of flour disappear.
STEP 5: Pour the brownie batter into your prepared springform pan and smooth out the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
STEP 6: Take the pan out of the oven to cool and reduce the heat to 325°F/165°C. Set the pan aside and fill a casserole dish or skillet with hot water and place on the bottom rack of the oven. This is our water bath which creates moisture to keep the cheesecake from cracking.
How to Make the Cheesecake Filling
STEP 7: Place semi-sweet chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until it melts completely. Let cool slightly before adding to the filling.
STEP 8: Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with a mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
STEP 9: Next, pour in the melted chocolate and beat in the vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt on low until smooth and creamy. Then beat in the sour cream.
STEP 10: Mix in the eggs one at a time and scrape the sides of the bowl after eggs 2 and 3.
STEP 11: Pour the filling over the brownie crust and smooth out the top. Quickly place in the oven on the rack directly above the water bath and bake for 60-70 minutes.
The cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the center jiggles like Jell-O. Turn off the oven, crack the door open, and let the cheesecake cool inside for 1 hour. Then let it cool on top of the oven for 1 more hour before covering in plastic wrap and chilling in the refrigerator overnight.
How to Make the Ganache
STEP 12: For the ganache, start by adding your chocolate chips to a large bowl. Microwave the heavy cream in a separate container for 45 seconds and pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute.
STEP 13: Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth and glossy. Then, place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface and let it cool in the refrigerator for an hour.
STEP 14: Once the cheesecake and ganache are both cool, release the springform pan and remove the cheesecake. Spread ganache over the top, add cosmic brownie sprinkles if desired, and enjoy!
Expert Baking Tips
- Use softened cream cheese. Room temperature cream cheese is easier to mix into a smooth batter. You don't want chunks of cream cheese in the batter! All your dairy ingredients should be room temperature so they mix in easily.
- Cool the melted chocolate slightly. If the chocolate is hot when you add it to the cheesecake filling, it'll melt. It should be lukewarm at least. Same applies to the brownie crust!
- Use a water bath. I know it's an extra step, but please don't skip the water bath! The steam and moisture keep the cheesecake from cracking and getting dry and rubbery.
- Cool gradually. Don't open the oven door while the cheesecake is baking. The sudden cold air can shock the cheesecake and create cracks. Baked cheesecake needs to cool gradually because it shrinks as it cools. If it shrinks too quickly, it might crack.
Storage & Freezing
Store the cosmic brownie cheesecake in a large airtight container (like a cake carrier) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Take any candy-coated chocolate sprinkles off before storing because the color can bleed in the fridge.
Slice the cheesecake and freeze the pieces in a freezer safe, airtight container for up to 3 months. Individual slices are easier to thaw out compared to the whole cheesecake! Thaw in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or overnight before eating.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Because of the chill time, this recipe is perfect to make ahead. You can make it up to 4 days before serving. Make the ganache an hour or so before serving.
I have not tested it, but it's worth a shot! I recommend making the brownies first in a large pan and then crumbling and pressing them into a lined muffin pan to form individual crusts. Then add the filling and bake for 18-20 minutes at 325°F.
Yes you do! Please don't skip the water bath. The steam from it helps keep the cheesecake's consistency creamy and keeps it from cracking. Baked cheesecakes made without a water bath can be dry and tough.
Other Cheesecake Recipes to Try
Cosmic Brownie Cheesecake
- 200 grams chocolate chips semi-sweet
- 200 grams heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon candy-coated chocolate pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil to prevent leaks.
- Melt bittersweet chocolate and butter in the microwave in a heatproof bowl, mixing every 30 seconds until completely melted. Let cool slightly.226 grams bittersweet chocolate, 114 grams unsalted butter
- With a hand mixer, beat granulated, eggs, and vanilla extract together on medium high speed until frothy and pale.275 grams granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- While beating, pour the melted chocolate and butter mixture in. Continue mixing until well combined.
- Fold the all purpose flour, cocoa powder, and salt into the wet ingredients until the dry streaks disappear.94 grams all purpose flour, 43 grams cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the cheesecake batter.
- Reduce the oven heat to 325°F/165°C. Fill a large oven safe skillet or casserole with warm water and carefully place it on the bottom rack. This is the water bath.
- Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a large bowl in the microwave. Stir every 30 seconds until completely melted. Set aside to cool slightly.226 grams chocolate chips
- Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with a mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.680 grams full fat cream cheese, 140 grams granulated sugar
- Pour in the melted chocolate chips and beat in the vanilla, cocoa powder, and salt on low until smooth and creamy. Beat in the sour cream.2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 140 grams sour cream
- Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after eggs 2 and 3.3 large eggs
- Pour the filling over the crust and smooth out the top. Place in the oven directly above the water bath and bake for 60-70 minutes. It's done when the edges are set and the center jiggles like Jell-O.
- Turn off the oven, crack the door open, and let the cheesecake cool inside for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool on top of it for 1 more hour before covering in plastic and chilling in the refrigerator overnight.
- Add chocolate chips to a large bowl. Microwave heavy cream in a separate container for 45 seconds. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute.200 grams chocolate chips, 200 grams heavy cream
- Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth and glossy. Place plastic wrap over the surface and chill in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Once the cheesecake and ganache are both cool, release the springform pan and remove the cheesecake. Spread ganache over the top and add candy coated chips. Slice and enjoy!2 tablespoon candy-coated chocolate pieces