Ultimate Brownie Cheesecake

We are dessert lovers! I mean I am really not kidding you when I tell you I work out so I can eat dessert. I will work out for an hour so I can eat a piece of cheesecake without feeling *too* guilty. I have learned that life is not meant to be free of dessert so we should indulge on occasion. But I also know that life is about balance, so I can’t eat cheesecake every day and not suffer the consequences if I am not working out. I like a sweet after dinner, but on most days it is a biscotti. However during the holidays I make a Cheesecake. And not just any old cheesecake. I usually make my Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake.  

However this year I wanted to stretch a little further and make something different. I happened upon a recipe from one of my favorite cooking websites, Smitten Kitchen, and made a few tweaks and there it was!! She called it Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake because the brownie bites are nestled lovingly inside the cheesecake and it looks like a mosaic pattern , but I wanted to give it my own spin, so let me introduce you to



Ultimate Brownie Cheesecake

 Adapted from Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake by Deb Perleman of Smitten Kitchen

Step One: The Brownie

Adapted from Baker’s One Bowl Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

¾ cup butter (1 ½ stick)

1 ¾ cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 baking pan with foil, with ends extending over the sides of the pan. Grease the foil.

Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwavable bowl on high for 2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and mixed with butter. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt, mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with fudgy crumbs. It is important not to overbake the brownies as they will be going back in the oven in the cheesecake batter. Cool brownies on wire rack in pan.

Once brownies are cool cut them into ¾ to 1 inch cubes to put into the cheesecake batter. You will have more brownie than what is needed for the cheesecake batter. It is up to you what to do with the leftover brownies. (wink wink) Although next time I will crumble some of them up and put them on top of the ganache of the cheesecake. I mean is anything really too extra at this point with this cheesecake?? I think not.

Step Two: Chocolate crust

 1 ½ cups finely ground chocolate teddy grahams (or chocolate graham crackers)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Stir the ingredients together and then press into the bottom and up the side about an inch of a buttered 9-inch springform pan.

Step Three: The Cheesecake

 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons lemon juice

¾ cup sour cream

1 cup granulated sugar

2 cups brownie cubes (from above recipe)

Beat cream cheese on low until creamy (if you want a nice thick New York style cheesecake, be careful not to mix on high because that will incorporate too much air into mixture). Once cheese is creamy, add eggs in one at a time and incorporate into cream cheese. Add vanilla, sugar, lemon juice, sour cream, beating on low speed until each ingredient is mixed in, scraping down bowl between additions.

Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan in a shallow baking pan, (this will catch any spillover) in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly jiggly when the pan is shaken.

Step Four: Chocolate Ganache

Adapted from Purdy’s original recipe

3 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped; or ½ cup semi-sweet or bittersweet morsels

2 ounces butter

¼ cup heavy cream (I used coconut milk)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon (or more to create desired consistency)

Grind the chocolate into powder in a food processor. Scald the butter and milk in a saucepan. With the machine running, pour the hot milk/butter into the food processor with the chocolate. Blend until chocolate is smooth. Add the vanilla and sugar until smooth. If needed add more powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Spread over cheesecake while chocolate is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.

This cheesecake was absolutely amazing! It was delicious and creamy and decadent and everything you would want or desire in a cheesecake or a special dessert!


I hope you love this decadence as much as we did! It will take me a month of working out to work it off, but man oh man it was worth EVERY drop of sweat!

Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

A few years ago I was looking for a Turtle cheesecake recipe for my love.  She had asked me to make a cheesecake for Christmas Dinner, and I know that caramel and chocolate are two of her favorite things! So I tweaked a recipe and came up with this Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake!

The kids are not huge cheesecake fans, and Karol doesn’t really like to share this cheesecake, so they have ice cream or chocolate pie instead.

I promise you this cheesecake is amazing!  I have tweaked the recipe a bit over the years, but it is my “go to” Turtle Cheesecake recipe.  I want to share it with you all!  If you love chocolate, caramel and cheesecake this is the one for you too.  Try it, you will love it!!


¾ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs  (crushed)  **I used chocolate teddy grahams, because I couldn’t find chocolate graham crackers.

½ cup melted butter (or margarine)

3 (8 oz) packages of softened cream cheese

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
 (I use the fat free kind)

½ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

2 tablespoons caramel sundae syrup

½ cup pecans (chopped)

¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
** I add 1/2 cup sour cream to give the cheesecake a more “New York” style.

** I also take some caramel candies and melt them with a little bit of heavy cream and then pour on top of the crust to form a caramel layer between the crust and the cheesecake.

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a 9 inch spring form pan. Combine Chocolate graham cracker crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press mixture onto the bottom and 1 inch up the side of the spring form pan.
Step 2: In a bowl beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until its smooth. Add sugar, lime juice, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat together until fully mixed.
Step 3: Microwave chocolate morsels in 10 second intervals until morsels are just melted. Stir 2 cups of cheesecake batter into the melted morsels.  Then spoon separate batters alternatively into the crust. Start with the batter without the morsels, then with the morsels, and end with the batter without the morsels.
Step 4: Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cheesecake is set (when the center moves just slightly). When cheesecake is done, cool completely. After the cheesecake is cooled top with chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, pecans, and chocolate morsels. Enjoy.


Crust in pan:

melt caramels mixed with about 3 tbsp of heavy cream:

Pour melted caramel on top of crust:

Mix Cream cheese, milk, and sugar until smooth:

Mix in eggs, vanilla, lime juice and sour cream (Sour cream makes it more dense like a new york style cheesecake.  It is optional)

Mix together until smooth:

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler.  (I prefer this to the microwave…less chance of chocolate burning)

Mix melted chocolate in with two cups of batter.  You will end up with some chocolate and some white batter:

Not sure why streaks in picture. It is chocolate batter in the pan. Then white batter goes on top, then chocolate and topped off with white.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.  The cheesecake will be slightly jiggly in the center.  That is okay.  Once it is out of the oven, decorate with caramel and chocolate syrup. I also put some mini chocolate chips on top.  And pecans if desired.

Then slice and enjoy!!


Best Carrot Cake Recipe!

So, I love to bake!  And I actually have a culinary bucket list.  I have made some of the things on that list, and need to update it.  Interestingly, carrot cake wasn’t on that list.   I have never made a carrot cake before, and although I do like it, I am more of a chocolate lover.  However, there is just something about cake that makes me ooh and ahh.  Not sure why cake is such a big thing to me, but it really is!  Cake and cupcakes…..I love more than any other sweet thing to eat.

I celebrated an anniversary, (a decade with Karol), on April 24, and while usually I would make a cheesecake, I decided to make a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting instead.  So I searched the internet, and found a few promising ones, but I kept going back to the one on the King Arthur website.  Their recipes have NEVER failed me, so I figured I would give it a shot.  It was AMAZING!!  I did make a few adaptions (I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t), but stuck true to the recipe for the most part.

Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil (original recipe called for vegetable oil, but I don’t use that)
  • 2 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour ( I very rarely use white flour)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (1 pound)
  • 3/4 cup diced pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut.  (unsweetened referred) If using sweetened cut back to 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup diced dried pineapple (you can substitute one 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed dry, if preferred)


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 (8 ounce) package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (The original recipe called for 3 cups!!  I like my frosting more “cream cheesy” and less sugary, so I cut back to 1/2 cup. Start there and ad sugar to taste)
  • 1 tablespoons non fat milk, or enough to make frosting spreadable

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.

2) Beat the eggs, sugars, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl till smooth, about 2 minutes at medium-high speed.

3) Mix the melted butter with the oil. With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating till smooth.

4) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a smooth batter.

5) Stir in the carrots, nuts, coconut, and pineapple.

6) Spoon the batter into the pan, spreading it to the edges.

7) Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, and cool right in the pan.

9) When it’s completely cool, make the frosting.

10) Combine the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt in a medium-sized bowl, and beat together until light and fluffy.

11) Add the sugar gradually, beating well.

12) Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistency.

13) Spread frosting over the cake.

Yield: 9″ x 13″ sheet cake, about 24 servings.

Mix sugars, eggs and vanilla
Mix sugars, eggs and vanilla

This is melted and mixed with melted utter, then poured into egg mixture

Coconut oil instead of veggie oil
Coconut oil instead of veggie oil

Flour and spices are mixed and added into batter.

white whole wheat flour
white whole wheat flour

Mix carrots into batter…..that was A LOT of shredding…..(couldn’t find the shredder adapter to my food processor)


Then add in nuts, coconut and pineapple


Mix together.


Spread into greased 9×13 pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350.


Then make frosting.  Mix butter and cream cheese in mixer.


Mix until creamy, then add in sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it tastes teh way you want it to.


Spread on cake….then EAT IT!!!!!



So moist and delicious!!
So moist and delicious!!

Enjoy!! This is truly the Best Carrot Cake Recipe Ever!