I love brownies. I love cheesecake. It’s no surprise these Black and White Cheesecake Squares called out to me when I saw them in Martha Stewart’s magazine.

I’ve tried cheesecake brownies in the past and haven’t loved them, mostly because I feel the cheesecake gets lost in the brownie batter. The technique with these brownies was different than any I had used with a cheesecake brownie before and it made all the difference.

The chewy, dense brownie layer is topped with creamy, light cheesecake and additional brownie batter is crumbled over the top. Divine. The combination is fantastic and this is definitely my new go-to cheesecake brownie recipe.

Black and White Cheesecake Squares

Black and White Cheesecake Squares


  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Line dish with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both long sides, then spray parchment.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In another bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate. Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, 22-25 minutes (don’t overbake or this brownie layer will be too hard and crumbly). Let cool in dish on a wire rack.
  4. Mix cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top. Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in dish on wire rack, then lift out using overhang. Cut into 24 squares. Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Recipe Source: adapted from Martha Stewart Living

63 Responses to Black and White Cheesecake Squares

  1. Sheree L says:

    Made these for my book club last night, and we all loved them! I know I can always count on your recipes; thanks for doing what you do. 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    I made these the other night and they disappeared so fast I couldn’t believe it. I will make these again for sure they were so good. I love your recipes keep them coming thanks so much Mel

  3. Mel says:

    I love your recipes, Mel! I have made these brownies twice and they were a big hit, but both times I’ve used strawberry cream cheese (because I’m kind of obsessed with it). Strawberry cream cheese is runnier than regular so it created the problem of the cheesecake swirl not cooking at the same rate as the rest. The first time, the brownie parts were a tad burnt and the second time, the cheesecake part was a tad under-cooked. I had to refrigerate both times for it to really set, and the next day they were even better. Now both times they were still positively DIVINE (seriously strawberry cream cheese and chocolate are made for each other!), and I will keep making them. But any advice on how to get it to cook more evenly? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Mel – try stirring in a couple tablespoons flour to the cream cheese mixture to help it firm up a bit. That may help!

  4. Pau says:

    I tried these and followed everything to the letter, and everyone LOVED them! However, my husband who isn’t a cheesecake fan finds it too sweet. He loves the brownie layer SO MUCH though. If I were to make and bake only the brownie layer, how long should I bake it and at what temperature? Also, should I still refrigerate it first for 30 minutes prior to baking in order to achieve its chewy texture? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never just made the brownie layer so I’m not entirely sure. You’ll have to experiment – I’d suggest following the recipe as closely as possible just omitting the cheesecake layer. Good luck!

  5. Julie says:

    Why are we being told to preheat the oven at the beginning when the pan of dough needs to be refrigerated for 30 minutes?

  6. Sherry says:

    I made these for my nephew’s graduation party (350 guests), among other desserts, and I made them several days ahead, cut them and froze them (in those rubbermaid disposable containers). They were totally fresh tasting and delicious!

  7. Tiff G says:

    These look great and will be making these for a party in a few days! Just curious – after the brownies completely cool, do they need to be refrigerated or can they sit out like a normal brownie? I wasn’t sure because of the cream cheese. Thanks!

  8. Tanya says:

    Just read through ALL the comments and realized I didn’t refrigerate the pan before I baked the brownie layer. I MUST have these for an event tonight. Praying like crazy that I haven’t ruined them as I don’t have time for a redo. **fingers crossed** Perhaps I’ll take a little cooking time off for this part?

  9. Ryan says:

    OH MY GOSH!!!!!!!!! Just took my first bight, while they were still warm and gooey and…
    Lets just say that I have a new favorite recipe. Never liked cheesecake before this but now i’m what you would call a “cheese cake puritan.”
    Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Catherine says:

    Hi Mel, I’m confused . . . do I refrigerate the dough in the pan for 30 min prior to baking or do I only refrigerate the 1 cup that I set aside?? Made the crispy southwest wraps last night and my husband ate way more than his share . . . so much for leftovers!

    • Mel says:

      Catherine – you want to refrigerate the 1 cup of reserved dough and also refrigerate the pan that has dough pressed into it. Make sense?

  11. Sherry says:

    Just noticed that my comment doesn’t appear under the particular recipe so the dessert that I made that was the hit of my nephew’s graduation party was the Black and White Cheesecake Squares!

  12. Sherry says:

    I made these for my nephew’s graduation party (300 attendees) and they were the favorite of all the desserts! I also was able to make them ahead and freeze them! Thanks!

  13. Molly says:

    Hi! Two questions. If I were to cut this recipe in half, what size pan would you recommend using? Also, if I don’t have parchment/wax paper, can I use foil instead? Or would that make the brownies cook differently? Thanks!

  14. Laura Rowe says:

    I made this recipe as a treat to bring to work and it turned out amazing! So fudgey and wonderful. However, I was a little ambitious and made a double batch, which burned out the motor on my hand mixer (it was time for that thing to go anyway). I think its because the batter is so thick with not a lot of liquid, unlike traditional box-mix brownies which are very runny – but that’s how this recipe brings about the tasty fudge layer. All in all, I highly recommend this recipe!

  15. Anne-Marie says:

    Made this for the moms in my daughter’s playgroup and the entire serving tray was rapidly emptied (and this was a large tray and a small group of women!). These were so fantastic that I was forced to freeze the rest so that my hubby and I didn’t devour them all. That plan was a huge failure as my hubby snuck into the freezer and discovered that they are also amazing frozen, like “little ice cream brownies” he said (the cream cheese transforms into an ice cream-like texture). Not surprisingly, I received requests for this recipe so of course I passed along your awesome URL. Thanks!

  16. Veronica says:

    Grr… how could I test it to find out? lol. Like one ball of xxxx to see if it’s all purpose or self-rising or…. any other different kind to worry about? Thanks! Thinking about trying these tomorrow with company coming (Depends on if hubby has his heart set on cheesecake or not!).

  17. Mel says:

    Veronica – yes, using self-rising flour could mess things up. 🙂

  18. Veronica says:

    You know what? I don’t remember what kind of flour I have in my container. Would it royally screw it up if it were self-rising or anything?

  19. Pau says:

    Hi Mel, these look so moist and delicious! I just want to ask, in all your recipes which call for butter, do you use unsalted butter or salted butter? Also, when you say salt, is it rock salt or iodized? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Pau – Although most foodies would turn their noses up, I always use salted butter. It’s more widely available where I live and…well..I’ve just always used it. I have a handful of recipes I’ve deliberately used unsalted butter in but I am sure to specify in the recipe if that is the case.

  20. Lauren says:

    These brownies are tasty! I follwed all the steps even the brutal waiting! At first I thought I had overcooked the lower brownie layer at 22 minutes, but I continued to bake. Once finished I just cut off the edges where it had got a little dry near the pan – there is enough brownie to go around and no one wants their last bite ruined by being a tad burnt.

  21. sheila says:

    I made these a few months ago for a bake sale and barely got to try any, they were gone so fast! Made these today for father’s day and they were AMAZING! The first time I made them I forgot to let the brownie base cool before adding the cheese cake and they were a little overbaked. This time we doubled the cheesecake topping (we love cheesecake) and it’s perfect. The brownie is super chocolatey and the perfect balance for the creamy cheesecake topping. This one’s going in our recipe book! Our family has loved all the recipes we’ve tried from your blog =]

  22. Courtney says:

    Once again, another amazing recipe. Thanks, Mel! Hope you’re doing well, waiting (or not) for your little lady. 🙂 I posted about this, gave you credit and linked back. http://cookingmisadventures.com/2012/04/20/black-and-white-brownie-cheesecake-squares/ Have a great Friday!!

  23. […] Black and White Brownie Cheesecake Squares, adapted slightly from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  24. Susan from WA says:

    I love everything about this recipe except the “let cool” part. Could you start adding explanations of what would happen if I didn’t want to “let cool”? ;-)) Seriously, though, you’ve inspired me with your blog. I’ve been following for about a year now. For the roll tutorial, the bread braid, lasagna, slow cooker italian beef, broccoli and rice casserole, smothered pork chops, cheesy cauliflower bake, and OF COURSE the desserts, my family thanks you!

  25. Yes, it is midnight and they are still cooking. So excited. These have been a process but thinking they are going to be totally worth it. I started them at 9:30pm while talking to my sister looking at your blog together (which we do frequently). Realized I didn’t have eggs after starting so headed to Walmart while still on the phone with my sis. She finally hung up at 11pm and I have been on my own ever since. (I didn’t read the part about them having to cool in between cooking) Even with her advising to not make them this late and especially not to eat them this late I am going to! They look delicious and I will have earned it after staying up this late! Thanks so much for all your fabulous recipes. Made your Skillet Chicken Parm tonight and was so yummy! Ahhhhh I love your website. YOU KNOW GOOD FOOD!

  26. Melanie says:

    Jenn – oh, yeah! I’m so glad you liked this recipe. It is a keeper, don’t you think? Thanks for letting me know! (Hope your fellow church goers enjoy them on Sunday!)

  27. PheMom says:

    Oh Mel! Those look amazing! Yum!

  28. Colleen says:

    These look sinfully delicious!

  29. Jenn says:

    I think you read my mind. I was looking for a cheesecake/brownie recipe!! I will be trying this very soon!

  30. Melanie says:

    Michelle – I’m glad your family were happy about these. Thanks for letting me know!!

  31. Melanie says:

    Jan – I agree – these are definitely more decadent than brownies but oh so worth it!

  32. Justin says:

    i’m a brownie fanatic, and these look totally awesome

  33. Michelle says:

    I really have to stop following your blog! WOW! These made my family really really really happy 🙂

  34. grace says:

    dense, fudgy chocolate. tart and tangy cream cheese. melanie, these are simply fantastic and would wreak havoc on my body. 🙂

  35. Leslie says:

    perfect brownies..mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  36. Melanie says:

    jennie – thanks for your comment! I haven’t posted many ham recipe recently because I haven’t baked a ham and had leftovers. However, here is one of my favorite leftover ham recipes – it is so simple and fast but very delicious…my kids love it!

    Angel Hair Pasta and Ham Bake

    8 ounces angel hair pasta
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    1 small onion (for ½ cup chopped)
    ½ medium green bell pepper (for ½ cup chopped)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 cups diced baked ham
    1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes
    1 can (14 ½ ounces) stewed tomatoes
    Black pepper to taste
    1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

    Bring 2 ½ quarts unsalted water to a boil. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the angel hair pasta and cook until firm-tender, 4 minutes.

    Meanwhile, heat the oil in an extra-deep 12-inch nonstick skillet that has a lid over medium-high heat. Peel and finely dice the onion, adding it to the skillet as you dice. While the onion is cooking, seed and chop the bell pepper, adding it as you chop.

    Add the garlic and ham and cook until the ham starts to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. While the ham mixture cooks, drain both cans of tomatoes, adding them to the skillet when the hams has browned. Stir well. Set the skillet off the heat.

    When the pasta is done, drain well and stir it into the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat, and the black pepper, and continue to cook, uncovered for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the pasta mixture and cover the skillet. Cook until the cheese melts. Then uncover the skillet and continue to cook until most of the liquid evaporates, 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and serve at once.

  37. Heidi says:

    One word…. WOW!

  38. Loralee and the gang... says:

    My missionary son recently wrote to me and asked for a recipe to make brownies. Seems that the people of Chile are not familiar with this yummy American treat! This is the perfect recipe to send, because he loves anything cheesecake, second only to chocolate. He will be in heaven!
    Thanks so much, and I hope your are feeling well, and had a great Easter with your beautiful family.

  39. Jan says:

    These black and white cheesecake sqares are a “must bake”. My husband and I both love them.
    They are waaaay, more decadent that brownies.

  40. Sandy says:

    These look so delicious! My husband loves cream cheese and brownies so this will be perfect for our next dessert!

  41. My Sister's Kitchen says:

    I feel the same way about the brownies getting lost in the cheesecake but these look delicious. I’ll have to give them a try.

  42. Melanie Anne says:

    Wow–these look decadant! Wow–the picture makes my mouth water!!

  43. Donna-FFW says:

    My goodness do these ever look so delicious.. must admit I am in love with your blog.. LOVE!

  44. Melanie says:

    Krista – loved your comment and even more, I loved that you loved this recipe. Jamen told Brian at work that he ate one for breakfast. That’s my kind of breakfast!

  45. Jenn says:

    I made these tonight and they are delicious!! Like you, these will become my “go to” recipe for cheesecake brownies (and probably just plain brownies too).

    I have to bring treats to church on Sunday, and guess what I’m bringing????

  46. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    I have thought the very same thing about every cheesecake brownie recipe I’ve ever tried. I can’t wait to make these-they look so darn yummy!

  47. Shelley in SC says:

    I’ve made your Perfect Lemon Cake twice now . . . all to rave reviews!! Now, it looks like I’ll be doing an encore performance with these black and white cheesecake squares. Mmmmm!

  48. Woodstock Family says:

    made ’em, loved ’em, gone in about 12 hours! The most delicious brownie I’ve ever tasted!

  49. jennie says:

    thank you so much for the pasta ham bake recipe – I’ll make it tonight.

  50. jennie says:

    Hi again! My family’s loved everything we’ve tried of yours – thanks for sharing your recipes. I’m wondering if you have any more recipes that use ham – I checked your lables on the side, and would love some more … we have lots of leftover ham from easter dinner. by the way, i’m a French teacher so I was doubly impressed with your croque monsieur recipe. 🙂

  51. Kelly says:

    Oh my word these look AMAZING!!!!

  52. kitchenbelle says:

    Oh my gosh, these brownies look so chewy and fudgey! YUM!

  53. melanee says:

    These were SO SO good. My dad even liked them and that’s the highest compliment you can receive cuz he claims to not like chocolate or brownies 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

  54. Melanie says:

    Melanee – I feel honored your dad would like these! Way to go!

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