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Baking a cake can be so complicated! With frostings and layers and wanting it to be pretty and hoping it will be moist … This cake solves those problems because 1) It is moist! 2) The layers are built right in! and 3) When it’s done, all we do is a little cocoa dusting or Easy Chocolate Ganache; and it’s so pretty! And so delicious! The filling is FAST. The cake is LOVELY. The overall eye-appeal is alluring. It’s just so exciting to see a cream cheese filling inside a cake, yes?! And last, but quite exciting, this cake can also be made in your Instant Pot: oven -OR- IP, your choice! Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Cake is Primal, Grain-free and Gluten-free.
The Cheesecake Filling
In regard to cream cheese, have you ever found lactose-free cream cheese at the market? I first spotted it at Natural Grocers, here in Eugene, OR. It’s wonderful! Many eaters who can’t tolerate cheese unless it’s aged (like those patients on the GAPS Diet) can enjoy this cheese. It’s sustainably made and tastes lovely (creamy)! It’s gentler on one’s digestion and suitable for more diets. The one we find at Natural Grocers also contains live and active cultures, so it has probiotics when eaten cold (not baked).
This Cheesecake Filled Chocolate Cake recipe can use 1) the lactose-free cream cheese I mention above or 2) chevre (I buy a French one at Trader Joe’s) or 3) any normal cream cheese you like.
How to Bake It
OVEN: This cake can be baked in a variety of shapes, pans and quantities. For example, I like making it in a smaller 7″ pan (here’s the pan I have, which is what you see the cake baked in that’s photographed above) and then using any leftover batter to make one to two black-bottom cupcakes! (Sometimes I have leftover batter with this recipe, and sometimes I don’t … must be the size of the eggs or other variables.) I’ve also made (brownie-height) one 9″ round and one 5″ round cake with just one recipe of the batter. The overall appearance of the cake is a bit different when baked thus, because it’s not as deep, but SO pretty in a different way. I go into some detail on the possibilities below in Recipe Notes. They’ve all turned out beautifully, just adjusting the baking time for the variety of sizes.
INSTANT POT: As mentioned above, this cake can also be cooked in your IP! It’s an exciting and fun process to make great cake in an Instant Pot. It never gets old for me, just fun. I use my 7″ cheesecake pan (find it here), add two inches of water to the IP (here’s mine) and the trivet, and the cake cooks for 35 minutes. It comes right out of the pan, gets topped with a cocoa dusting or chocolate ganache and my favorite sea salt (find it here) and … time to dive in! I give all the IP instructions below in the recipe.
Here’s the Instant Pot Sling that makes lifting out the cake that much easier.
Here’s my other favorite Instant Pot accessory, The Steam Boss, which saves our new cabinets every time I do a quick-release, because it routes the steam away from them in the direction I choose. (I gave both of these accessories for Christmas presents this year to multiple folks because I so appreciate having them myself.)
When to Make It
Perhaps you’ll make this cake for Valentine’s Day?!! I’ve already made it twice this week, because we even love eating it for breakfast, and it’s super fast to make. Special occasion or everyday, this cake will make you happy. 🙂
I love chocolate. I love fillings. I love cream cheese filling. This cake is great. Have at it!
Love and cake! (And smooches.)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder or substitute up to 1/4 cup cocoa with roasted carob powder
- 1/2 cup Otto's cassava flour (see link below)
- 1/2 cup butter ghee, or coconut oil, melted then measured
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 3 eggs pastured, room temperature
- 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey or coconut sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- cocoa for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 7-inch or 9-inch leak-proof cheesecake pan (see links below) or use any shape pan your prefer (a 9" by 13" casserole dish, a traditional 9" round cake pan lined with parchment etc.); but a leak-proof cheesecake pan is best for presentation. (If you use the 7-inch, you'll have batter left over, with which I make 2-3 black bottom cupcakes!)
Make Cream Cheese Filling (recipe instructions below).
In a medium sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: cocoa powder, cassava flour, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, blend together the wet ingredients. Alternatively, combine them in a blender or briskly by hand.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula until completely combined. Do not over-mix. Pour into the greased pan.
Using 2/3 of the mixture, ladle large dollops of the cheese filling (recipe instructions below) around the surface of the cake. Use a spoon to push down 1-2 inches on each dollop, so the filling goes into the center of the chocolate batter. Use a spatula to scrape the remaining cheese batter over the surface of the cake; and spread it out evenly, not all the way to the edges, leaving about 1/2 an inch of chocolate batter showing around the circumference of the pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes in preheated oven until the edges are puffed and the center is slightly puffed and golden and beginning to look dried out on the top with very little jiggle if you shake the pan side to side. Cooking times will vary slightly based on the size of the pan and the depth of the cake; check cake(s) after 25 minutes if you're using the batter divided between two pans (see Recipes Notes for this idea).
Allow to cool. Using a wooden knife, unclasp the outer ring of the pan and slide the knife around its circumference. Remove pan's sides. Use wooden knife again, if needed, to release the base of the cake from the pan base. Transfer cake to serving plate. Sift remaining cocoa over its surface until cream cheese is completely or partially covered, whatever looks prettiest to you. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Place all filling ingredients into blender or medium sized mixing bowl. Blend on low speed, or use hand beaters to combine until thoroughly mixed and creamy, about 25 seconds. Set aside until above recipe calls for filling.
Place trivet/steam rack in the bottom of the Instant Pot insert, and add 2 cups of water. Place covered cheesecake pan on the steam rack. (To cover cake: Cover the pan with tin foil over parchment paper; or use parchment paper and place a small salad plate over the paper [to keep it down and somewhat dry during cooking].)
Make sure rubber ring is fitted inside lid, place lid on Instant Pot and seal steam vent. Manually set the time to 35 minutes on "high" pressure using “+” button. When timer goes off, allow 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
Then cover steam vent with dish towel (and/or use Steam Boss accessory [link below in Recipe Notes]), quick release the remaining pressure and carefully remove pan from Instant Pot to cooling rack.
Allow cake to fully cool, about 4 hours. Open springform pan while using wooden knife to loosen cake’s sides from pan, if necessary. It should actually come away from the sides really easily.
Top with dusted cocoa powder or Chocolate Ganache. See Ganache link below in Recipe Notes.
Find the Chocolate Ganache recipe HERE.
7-inch and 9-inch Springform Cake Pans
- This is the cheesecake pan I have. Unfortunately all cheesecake pans these days are non-stick. That's why I use a wooden knife with it, to protect the coating. I like this pan because it's leak-proof! That means I can pour liquid cake batter into it! Also, I purposefully got this size because it fits into my Instant Pot! So you can make cakes and cheesecake in your IP, which works great and is very easy-- and thus super exciting and rewarding! Only downside to this size is that all the batter will not fit. Yet I like this tall, smaller, charming cake (and that this pan fits in my IP) so I make 2 black bottom cupcakes with the leftovers, that I can put in school lunches or send with my hubby to work or eat myself for breakfast!
- Here's the 9-inch leak-proof cheesecake pan, which will actually fit all the batter from this recipe, if you prefer (which many will) to get 10-12 servings from one cake.
- Lastly, here's a great, basic cake pan. This option works well if you simply press parchment paper down into the pan, flattening all the wrinkles along the sides and cutting off any portions that stick up too high around the edges. When the cake is done, you just gently pull up on the parchment sides, set the cake down and then slide it onto a serving plate. The edges of the cake will show slight crimps from the paper, which actually looks just slightly rustic and quite lovely. I like this option because even if a batter touches the pan aluminum in safe for baking (just no acidic ingredients in the batter like lemon or tomato); there's no non-stick coating, and it conducts heat well. It's what commercial kitchens use for their cakes; and the pans last forever.
- Final exhaustive note on sizes, you can fill the batter as high or as low you want; so you can even make two cakes with this recipe. Yesterday I made this recipe again, and I made one 9" cake that was almost 2" tall when it was done and so pretty, and one 5" cake about the same height for a separate occasion. The first cake made 8 nice wedges. The second could be cut into 4 chunky wedges or 6 charming pieces for small, lovely portions. In short, this recipe is versatile and inspires one to serve it in many ways, all pretty and fun.
Here's the cassava flour I use and love.
Find the Steam Boss HERE.
Intrigued by Instant Pot cakes? You’ll also love this grain-free Instant Pot Sticky Toffee Pudding, so moist and topped with caramel.
Love cheesecakes? Me too! Here are a few of my favorites: