Raspberry and chocolate is a classic combination. Here we've combined the convenience of a boxed brownie mix with a delicious homemade raspberry cheesecake filling! This raspberry cheesecake with a brownie crust is a gorgeous showstopper!
Cheesecake can be one of those desserts that intimidate people. I'm here to wipe away those fears of a failed dessert and provide lots of tips and tricks on baking that perfect cheesecake. Cheesecakes are a bit more time consuming than some of your other desserts but the payoff is so worth it.
I love a decadent and sweet cheesecake as much as the next person but it is sometimes nice to balance a lot of sweetness out with some tart fruit so you are not overwhelmed by sugar. I decided I wanted to create a cheesecake with a brownie layer at the bottom instead of a traditional graham cracker or cookie crust. I did contemplate making a homemade brownie layer, but let's be honest, boxed brownies are pretty darn good and require less effort. Thank you Ghirardelli for your delicious boxed brownies.
In researching variations of this cheesecake, I found that most recipes swirled in a raspberry puree instead of mixing it in completely with the cheesecake filling. I wanted that pretty pink layer atop my brownie layer so I bucked tradition and added the puree right into the filling. There is a nice and subtle raspberry flavor throughout the cheesecake layer and a pale pink color to it. If you are looking for a deeper pink, feel free to add a couple drops of red food coloring to make it a brighter pink color.
How to make a raspberry cheesecake
The first step to this recipe is to make your boxed brownies according to the box directions. You will pour the brownie batter into a 9 or 10 in springform pan and bake according to the directions for a 9 x 9 pan. I actually did this step the night before and covered the pan with foil overnight before proceeding with the cheesecake portion. This can certainly be made in one day though.
Next, you will make the raspberry puree. Combine raspberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and using a spoon, crush some of the berries to release their juice. You'll simmer this mixture for about 5 minutes and then puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth. I do not like the seeds in my puree so I suggest then pressing the puree through a fine-mesh strainer to get rid of the seeds. You'll let this cool while you make the cheesecake filling.
For the filling, you will take softened cream cheese, sugar and salt and mix until smooth using an electric mixer or stand mixer. Then go in the eggs until combined. You'll add ¾ cup of the raspberry puree along with some vanilla extract and mix until there are no streaks left. Finally, add a little heavy whipping cream to add some lightness to the filling. This gets poured over the cooled brownie layer. That wasn't too hard right?! You'll pop the pan into a water bath and cook until the edges are set and the middle is just a little jiggly. I chose to decorate the raspberry cheesecake with extra raspberries and served it with some of the puree that was left over.
How to prevent cracks in the top of the cheesecake
I think one of the intimidating things about cheesecake is that people have made them before only to have a huge crack appear in the top of the cake. While the flavor is still the same, unless you have a topping to put over the cake, that crack can be unsightly. The best way to make sure you don't have a cracked cheesecake is to cook it in a water bath. Cracks appear in cheesecakes due to it cooking too fast or cooling too fast. A water bath will add more moisture to the oven while cooking and allows more even heat to cook the cheesecake. They are simple to do and I highly recommend cooking this cheesecake using the water bath method. You simply take 2 pieces of heavy duty foil and place your springform pan on top of them. Then you'll carefully wrap the foil around the edge of the pan until it is about ¾ up the side of the pan. Make sure that there are no holes in the foil to allow water to seep through and get the cheesecake wet! If you don't have heavy duty foil, I would recommend using 3 layers of regular foil. Then, you'll place your cheesecake pan in a larger roasting pan in the oven. You'll pour hot water into the roasting pan being careful to not get it past the foil surrounding the pan. I recommend pouring the water into the pan after it's already in the oven so you don't slosh it around by moving it from your counter to the oven. See the pictures below for an easy tutorial.
How to store a cheesecake
This cheesecake can be placed in the refrigerator for 3-4 days tightly wrapped. If you need your cheesecake at a later date and wanted to get a head start on making it, you can also make the entire cheesecake and then freeze it. Cool the cheesecake completely and remove it from the springform pan placing it on a cardboard round. Freeze the cheesecake for about an hour uncovered first so that it is cold enough to wrap tightly without squishing it. After an hour or so, remove the cheesecake and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. It should last for about 1 to 2 months like this. To thaw it out, place the cheesecake into the refrigerator the night before you will need to serve it. You can also slice the cake prior to freezing it and freeze individual slices of cheesecake, wrapped in the same way as a whole one.
Other tips for baking cheesecakes
- Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature before mixing it. If it is still cold, you will likely have little lumps of cream cheese throughout your cheesecake filling
- When cooling the cheesecake after pulling it out of the oven, let it cool in the water bath for 20 minutes before removing it and cooling it the rest of the way on the counter. This will help to keep it from cooling too quickly and cracking.
- When removing the cheesecake from the outer ring of the springform pan, you may want to run a sharp knife around the edge to make sure it is not sticking to the edge.
- If worse comes to worst and your cheesecake still cracks, remember that the taste should be the same so just cover it with whipped cream or more fruit and no one will know the difference!
For other raspberry recipes from The Marble Kitchen, check out this Raspberry Almond Babka! Happy baking!
Raspberry Cheesecake with a Brownie Crust
- 1 boxed brownie mix and ingredients listed on box
- 3 pints raspberries plus extra for topping if desired
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 ½ 8 oz packages cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- Prepare a 9 in or 10 in springform pan by spraying it with baking spray. Mix boxed brownies according to the package instructions. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake according to the directions on the package for a 9 x 9 pan.
- Cook raspberries, sugar and water together over medium heat for about 5 minutes in a small saucepan until softened using a spoon to crush some of the berries.
- Add berries into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Place puree in a fine mesh strainer pushing it through to get rid of the berry seeds.
- Using a stand mixer or hand mixer and large bowl, beat together softened cream cheese, sugar and salt until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs and beat another 2 minutes or until combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla and ¾ cup of the raspberry puree mixing until no streaks are left, scraping the edges of the bowl as needed.
- Add the heavy cream and beat for about 15 seconds until combined. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the cooked brownie layer.
- Place a large piece of heavy-duty foil or 2 layers of regular foil on the counter and
put the springform pan on top.
- Wrap the foil tightly around the pan about ⅔ of the way up the pan making sure there are no holes in the foil.
- Place the pan in a larger roasting pan and then into the preheated oven.
- Pour hot water into the roasting pan so it comes about halfway up the pan sides being careful not to pour the water inside the foil lining the pan. This will help prevent the
cheesecake from cracking when it cooks.
- Bake the cheesecake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until the edges are set and the middle is just slightly jiggly. Remove the entire roasting pan from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool for 20 minutes still in the water bath.
- Then remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool completely on the counter. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. Enjoy!
- You will have extra raspberry puree. Reserve it for serving the cheesecake.
- I used an additional pint of raspberries to decorate the top of the cheesecake.