Gluten free cheesecake brownies are the perfect mix of rich chocolate brownies and creamy cheesecake baked together easily in a muffin tin.
Believe me when I tell you that I've tried really really hard to bake a classic cheesecake without a crust in either a muffin tin or an actual cookie. I've failed spectacularly, but I am determined to keep trying. These gluten free cheesecake brownies are an excellent consolation prize.
Here, we use a rich and fudgy chocolate brownie as the perfect sturdy base. Then, pour a classic cheesecake filling on top of each brownie base.
The cheesecake bakes just enough as the brownie batter sets, but not too much. I would never offer you overbaked cheesecake. That would be almost criminal.
Plus, cheesecake with brownies are a lot like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Two great tastes that taste great together.
Two bite cheesecake brownies made one way…
If you would like to make small cheesecake brownies in a miniature muffin tin, the method calls for 3 layers of batter. First, add a base of brownie batter. Then, top with some cheesecake mixture, and finally more brownie batter.
When you bake these in a miniature muffin tin, they bake much faster. If you have a thick layer of brownie batter and a thin layer of cheesecake without a small topping of brownie batter, the cheesecake tends to overbake.
Full-sized cheesecake brownies baked another way
When you make the cheesecake brownies in a standard 12-cup muffin tin, you don't get the 2-bite effect of the miniatures. But you do get away with two layers of batter.
First, divide the brownie batter evenly among the prepared wells of the standard muffin tin. Smooth the tops with wet fingers.
Then, top with the cheesecake mixture. There's no need to cover the cheesecake layer during baking with more brownie batter. They'll bake perfectly as is.
Ingredients and substitutions
I don't have great news for making this cheesecake brownie recipe while avoiding additional common allergens.
There are ways that you could make the brownie layer without dairy. You could try replacing the butter with vegan butter (Melt and Miyoko's Kitchen brands are best), or even Earth Balance buttery sticks. The milk can be nondairy.
But the cream cheese in the cheesecake layer stops us in our tracks. I have not ever found a dairy-free cream cheese that tastes like the “real” thing.
You might be able to replace each of the eggs in the brownie recipe with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). You might be able to replace the egg white with the brine from a can of chickpeas (called aquafaba).
But if you replace the egg in the cheesecake with a “chia egg,” I don't expect that you'll get the right texture. If you decide to give it a try, let us know how it turns out!
Gluten Free Cheesecake Brownies
For the Brownie Batter
1 1/3 cups (187 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used my Better Than Cup4Cup Blend)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
2/3 cup (53 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed, but I prefer Dutch-processed)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (145 g) packed light brown sugar
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 fluid ounces) milk (any kind), at room temperature
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) + 1 egg white (25 g) at room temperature, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a 24-cup miniature muffin pan or a standard 12-cup muffin tin, and set it aside.
Make the brownie batter. In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the brown sugar and whisk again to combine, breaking up any lumps. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla, mixing to combine well after each addition. The batter will be thick and glossy. Set the brownie batter aside.
Make the cheesecake batter. In a large bowl with a hand mixer (or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, salt, egg and vanilla, beating well after each addition. The batter should be light and fluffy.
If you’re making miniatures, place about 1 tablespoon of the brownie batter in the bottom of each of the prepared muffin tins and shake the muffin tin back and forth vigorously until the batter in each cup is smooth and even on top. Place about 1 tablespoon of cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter in each well and shake into an even layer again. Place about 2 teaspoons of brownie batter on top of the cheesecake layer, and smooth into an even layer with wet fingers. The top layer of brownie batter will not completely cover the cheesecake layer. Place the tin in the center of the preheated oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, but no wet batter (about 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you’re making standard size cupcakes, divide the brownie batter evenly among the prepared wells of your standard 12-cup muffin tin. With wet fingers, spread the batter into an even layer in each well. Transfer the cheesecake batter to a measuring cup with a pour spout, and pour just enough of the cheesecake mixture over the top of each brownie batter layer to cover the brownie batter completely. There should be just enough cheesecake batter for each of the 12 cupcakes. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the cheesecake layer is mostly set, but wiggles gently when moved back and forth. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.