Cheesecake Topped Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake

I could not sleep last night. I have no idea why but it was just one of those insomniac attacks that happen to me occasionally. I tried everything I could think of for over an hour to try to go back to sleep. But then when I finally did fall back asleep I started having weird and eery dreams about big empty rooms, tornadoes, and my ipod dying, so I was like, Forget this! I can lose just as much sleep doing something useful….like testing chocolate cake recipes!

I don’t sleep very much. I think I may actually sleep the least of everyone in our house, but I usually sleep hard, like a rock, and I’m not easily awakened. That’s probably why, when I do wake up, it’s really difficult for me to go back to sleep because my mind starts reeling. The only good side is that I usually come up with my best ideas in the middle of the night.

Most of my homies are pretty much the opposite in that they sleep long and light, so I do have to refrain from doing all the banging of pots and pans I’d like on my craziest inspiration mornings. Everyone has their own sleeping quarks though, and in a big family we all kind of know each other’s. Like, Lela talks in her sleep and sleepwalks all the time. Sometimes it’s even scary because she’s been known to do some dangerous things like trying to jump out of a window or use the stove.

That’s not funny since she could hurt herself, but what is funny is when she says something hilarious and never remembers it. One time she was wandering the house late at night and murmuring something about trying to find her ponytail. Another time, and probably my favorite thing I’ve ever heard her say in her animated sleepy state, was a few years ago when I was sharing a room with her and Jenya in this summer cabin. Get this, she rolls over, groans angrily, and says very clearly “Are you Serial!” instead of serious. To this day we can’t help using it on occasion. So funny.

I’m not sure when or where I got the idea for this cake, probably during a previous instance of sleep deprived eccentricity, but I’ve been wanting to make one of those big, cheesecake-factory-style cheesecake layer cakes for a while. I still fully plan to do one eventually, but I was thinking that with the holidays coming up I should make something a little more realistic for those of you who are looking for the perfect thing to take to your holiday parties. I have to remind myself that normal people don’t make giant cakes on a weekly basis. The basic idea was to make a cheesecake/cake hybrid that only requires one bake time and one pan.

So this cake has been bugging me all week because I couldn’t get it right. I had to make 4 times before I was happy with the result and I know my whole family thinks I’m crazy but I had to get it right. Each time was good but I kept finding things about it that needed adjusted slightly. For example, the cake part on the first one was okay but I had used half butter, half oil, and cut back on both a little. It was still good, (I mean hello, chocolate) but it was a little dry by the end of the whole baking time. I also tried doing more of a swirly situation with that one but it ended up being a cake that wasn’t sure about its life and what it wanted to be. It kind of stayed molten in spots and too done in others.

The second one was better. I went all butter and skipped the swirling, but the center was even more molten than the first. Most everyone in my house loves that, but I know that it’s not everyone’s thing and it wasn’t exactly what I was trying to achieve so I did some more tweaking.

The third try I decided to bake the cake on its own to give it time to cook in the center before pouring on the cheesecake. This worked much better than takes 1 and 2 for doneness factor but that one had too much cake to cheesecake ratio. so I still wasn’t happy.

The fourth one came out evenly baked with the best texture of them all. Although, we all kind of liked the molten center best so I actually did it on purpose for my final try, but you can easily avoid it by erring on the longer side of bake time. I just pulled mine early for a nice little amount of molteness (pictured). I finished it off with a pile of shaved chocolate because, how can you resist that sight?




  • Kristina

    Well this is definitely my kind of cake. I’d probably eat waaay too much of it and end up feeling sick, as I always do after too much chocolate (life is not fair). But hey, you only live once!

    • Tori

      Hi Stacy! I totally get the chocolate lover thing. The coffee in the recipe is really just my brain glitch that makes me want to add a touch of coffee to everything chocolate but it should be just as good if you’d rather use another liquid. Milk or water should both be fine. I hope you enjoy this!

  • Kelsey

    I want to make this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday and normally I would make r I don’t have all the ingredients and I’m in a pinch. Do you think a devils food chocolate cake mix would work just as well??

    • Kelsey

      I’m sorry, I think my typing was too fast for my computer!
      I would normally make this as is but I don’t have all the ingredients.!

    • Tori

      Hey Kelsey! Yeah, I think you could probably get away with replacing the cake portiion with a mix and just making the cheesecake layer for the top. I hope it turns out well for you. Let me know if you try it!

      • Kelsey

        Hiya. So I baked this using a devils chocolate cake mix. Having never made it from the recipe, I don’t have anything to compare to, HOWEVER, it was delicious. My cake didn’t appear to rise as much as the photos in your recipe and it seemed as though the cheesecake sank to the bottom but the flavour was there and everyone loved it. Should I be in a pinch again, I would not hesitate to use a mix! Thanks for the recipe!

        • Tori

          Oh, thank you so much Kelsey for the awesome feedback! I’m so happy you tried it and you guys loved it. I hope you’re having a blessed holiday season!

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