Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

by Irvin on October 14, 2013 · 48 comments

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

Every time I think of pumpkins I think of my old two-story house in the suburbs of St. Louis. I was in the third grade when my dad yelled at me for leaving the jack-o-lantern out on the front porch for too long. I believe it was my responsibility for cleaning it up, but instead of throwing it out, I just let it sit there, way past Halloween into mid-December, rotting away. Finally, my dad, in a fit of disgust, took our rusted dirt shovel, scooped up the barely intact shell of a gourd, and tossed it beside our house into the strip of lawn between our house and our neighbor’s house. He figured it would compost down into the ground and by the time the snow thawed, no one would ever know. To all our surprise, the following September we had a pumpkin vine growing next to our house that grew pumpkins…until my dad finally dug it up and threw the vine away with an air of finality. We bought our pumpkin from the stores, not grew them next to our suburban house. I still think of that pumpkin vine when I use pumpkin in my kitchen, like when I made these Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (jump directly to recipe).

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

As the air starts to get more brisk and the great outside seems to come into focus with just a little bit more clarity than the hazy summer, the world seems to become obsessed with pumpkin. I’m sure this happens every year around now, but with social media and the ubiquitous internet it all seems ALL. PUMPKIN. ALL. THE. TIME. Friends with their children are at a pumpkin farm, sitting on gourds larger than doghouses. People are instagramming their carved pumpkins that look adorable but I keep on wondering if those pumpkins will last until Halloween. And commenters seem REALLY upset when a friend of mine shared her recipe for homemade pumpkin spice latte on Huffington Post (apparently some people love to go and buy them, not make them at home!).

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

But none of that deters me when it comes to baking with pumpkin. The combination of pumpkin and chocolate seems a bit odd at first, though I certainly skirted around it a bit last year when I made my white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake bars and my white mocha pumpkin frappuccino. But, as everyone knows, white chocolate isn’t REAL chocolate. Besides, using dark chocolate gives the brownies a nice Halloween feel to the bars, which I have to admit is pretty fun all the way around. They’re surprisingly easy to make and if you don’t want to do a “spider web” pattern on top, it’s even easier. I’m just a little Halloween obsessed right now so I decided to embrace it. I may not have a homegrown pumpkin vine in my yard, but that’s OK. I have these brownies and there’s no way I’m going to leave these to sit around until December. I’m eating them right now.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love | www.eatthelove.com

FYI, apparently I’m not the only one that thinks chocolate and pumpkin are a good combination. Here’s a few more recipes from around the web that use this awesome combination:

Pumpkin S’mores Cake by Desserts for Breakfast
Perfect Soft Batch Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies by Baked by Rachel
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread by My Baking Addiction
Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies by Recipe Girl
Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie by Closet Cooking

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruthy @ Omeletta October 14, 2013 at 9:06 am

I don’t think I ever considered pumpkin and dark chocolate but dang- these look incredible. I’m usually a little wary of all the pumpkin-loving going on this time of year, but these look definitely top of the heap.


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:26 am

I’m pretty wary too, as is AJ but we’ve both found ourselves going back to the fridge for these…time and again! Much to the chagrin of my waistline…


Anna @ Bashful Bao October 14, 2013 at 1:02 pm

These look fabulous! I love the pattern on top!!


Kim October 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I am definitely making these for my Halloween Crafternoon on Saturday…

My favorite “how is it possibly this easy” pumpkin/chocolate combo? One can pumpkin + 1 box chocolate cake mix (any brand will do). Mix and bake according to the box. Optional: sprinkle chocolate chips over the top halfway through baking. I cut them up into brownie-sized chunks…so fudgey and delicious. You can also use yellow cake for more orange-colored bites (I’ve done mini cupcakes like this before to much happiness).


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:27 am

Holy crap that sounds so easy and fun! I don’t really do box cake but I kind of love the ease of that…


Ryan October 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Oh my god.

I’m going to cheat on my dairy hiatus just to make these.


Aimee @ Simple Bites October 14, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Oh yeah, oh yeah. I have such a weakness for cheesecake in brownie form. Add pumpkin to the mix and I’m sold.


Katrina @ WVS October 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Pumpkin and chocolate is such a fun flavour. This sounds lovely!


Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies October 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm

Yowza, these look amazing. Love the spider web swirl on top too! I think pumpkin was made to be eaten with chocolate. Love it!


Theresa @ Delicacious October 14, 2013 at 8:49 pm

These look sinfully delicious!


Shanna@ pineapple and coconut October 14, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I love the story of the pumpkin starting to grow behind your house!! We grew pumpkins at our old house in Oregon – but we never planted them. We had put the seeds of the pumpkins we carved the prior year in our compost and used them in our garden the next summer when my husband built some raised bed garden boxes as well as just using it to fill in some of the dirt areas in the corners of our yard. We noticed some plants start to sprout and thought maybe butternut squash, but we ended up getting these massive pumpkin plants. At first we never saw the pumpkins growing since the leaves were so big and dense, then we started poking around and lifting leaves and HOLY CRAP there were like 7 massive pumpkins. It was awesome. We normally go to a pumpkin patch to pick them out, and we do now living in Vegas ( harder to grow pumpkins here) but your story totally reminded me of the year we grew pumpkins by mistake. Love these brownies too – I am a fan of the dark chocolate pumpkin combo. I will be making these for sure!


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:29 am

It’s amazing how easy pumpkins are to grow! It’s not like you need to water or weed them. They just grow on their own! Like magic! Maybe this year I’ll plant some seeds to see if anything magical happens in our backyard. My landlord probably won’t be happy but I’ll just feign ignorance if it comes up…


Jennifer October 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I need these in my life!

xo Jennifer



Nancy October 15, 2013 at 6:34 am

I’m not a big fan of Halloween (no judgment!), but these brownies could be just the thing to make me a convert. They look great and I love the combo of pumpkin and dark chocolate. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks.


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:30 am

What?!!? I love Halloween! Though I really haven’t celebrated in a few years. But it’s so much fun to get dressed up…


Deb October 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

An exceptional recipe! An enticing capture of the season of Halloween and pumpkin all wrapped up in a sultry brownie!


Trevor October 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm

What pulchritude! :)


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:31 am

Show off.


Ash-foodfashionparty October 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

These bars will be a hit on my Halloween buffet. They look gorgeous and so neatly done.


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:32 am

Yay! Let me know how people like them…


elizabeyta October 15, 2013 at 9:30 pm

These look lovely. I have a pumpkin cheesecake recipe AND a chocolate marbled pumpkin cheese cake recipe. It just depends what I feel like on what holiday. May have to try these though (adapt to gluten free) just because they would be easier to transport and disappear out of the kitchen faster.


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 1:33 am

I think they would totally be easy to adapt gluten free. Try using mesquite flour if you have it, or teff or buckwheat. Maybe some millet or ultra fine brown rice flour. Dark and rich. Let me know how they turn out if you make them!


Miss Kim @ behgopa October 16, 2013 at 1:40 am

omg these look awesome! Love the black and orange colors..so Halloween-ish! I totally wana make these. I love pumpkin season.


Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie October 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Love that it looks like a spiderweb!


merri October 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm

We usually had a veggie garden growing up and my parents grew squash and pumpkins. My mom made from scratch pumpkin pie (never liked it), pumpkin bread and pumpkin cookies (mmm). It does seem to me though that when i was younger, no one ate pumpkin as much as they do now. Now, it’s like bacon, kind of fetishized, and growing up, if i told someone i was having anything pumpkin except pie, they looked at me like i was crazy.


Denise October 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Someone just told me about your blog and also “Cooking With Mr. C.” on Facebook. I will check your blog out. Denise


Virginia October 17, 2013 at 9:23 am

If the cream cheese is refrigerator cold, how do you keep the batter from getting lumpy?


Irvin October 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Oh good point. There might be some lumps to it, but once you add the hot pumpkin puree, the mixture will warm up and become smooth. I have you use cold cream cheese because the pumpkin puree is still hot and the cold cream cheese will cool the batter down. But if you choose not to cook the pumpkin puree, or if the puree has cooled off, then I’d recommend using room temperature cream cheese.

I’ve made a note of this in the recipe above, thanks for pointing it out!


Aimee @ ShugarySweets October 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

Mmmm, love chocolate and pumpkin. And the web, that’s just awesome!


aida mollenkamp October 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm

So awesome! I’m totally making these for our family’s Halloween Party!


Irvin October 21, 2013 at 12:03 am

Yay! Let me know how they turn out and what your family thinks of them if you do!


Miss Kim @ behgopa October 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Thanks for sharing. I made this the other day. http://instagram.com/p/fmqoueE1Yj/ Yours look way purdier than mine! Although I cooked the pumpkin puree, I wasn’t able to get that nice bright orange color. Maybe it’s because I added a bit more spices than your recipe calls for (since I tend to overdo it at times with the baking spices just for personal preference). And I didn’t add any flour in the cheesecake batter (for personal preference too).

I love dark chocolate. And it’s really yummy with the pumpkin flavor. Kudos!


Katina October 20, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hi Irvin, I just found out about your blog after reading your tips on using Google + on the Food Bloggers of Canada website (way back in Aug 2012). Thanks for the useful advice! Also, I’ve never added pumpkin to brownies before, but hmmmm…might have to try this recipe out because it looks awesome. And that “web” design looks perfect!


Hope October 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Spooky and delish! I’m using purple sweet potatoes and am so excited about your web design in those colors!


Mackenzie Grady October 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm

currently studying abroad in spain and am seriously missing fall treats, these made me smile, must make them for my host fam. Also seeing your from STL made me smile more. I live right by forrest park :)


Mackenzie Grady October 22, 2013 at 3:24 pm

* you’re
sorry slowly but surely forgetting how to speak english


Lora @cakeduchess October 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm

LOVE the spider web design. It’s spooky and decadent and awesome. Super cute story about the pumpkin. My MIL told me their picking up pumpkins and I have to admit my slight jealousy. Why would someone be upset over homemade pumpkin latte-I think I would prefer a homemade one:)


ktribe808 October 25, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Well I made this recipe yesterday and ate some today. For all the special steps , I really expected spectacular taste. I LOVE dark chocolate and I love pumpkin and I love cheesecake!

So it was with much anticipation that I served these to my guests tonight. All I can say is a giant MEH! Nothing to write home about. The pumpkin (even with cooking down) and cheesecake was over-shadowed by the over-whelming dark chocolate. I really do not mind extra steps if the taste is worth it. The bottom line is that I will NOT make this recipe again!


Irvin December 29, 2013 at 6:47 pm

Hi ktribe808. I’m sorry that the recipe wasn’t to your taste! I’ve had a number of other people who liked them, and I certainly did too (which is why I put them on my blog) but I understand your frustration. So sorry about the wasted time and ingredients.


Sheetal October 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

Looks so good… Making this as my first pumpkin dessert ever!!!
It’s in the oven as we speak :)
Fingers crossed…

Thank you or the step by step instructions with images :)))


Marina October 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm

I loved this recipe but stopped following directions exactly many yrs ago post- catholic school. Been experimenting lately with gluten-free & different sugars inspired by our mutual contact “spunky coconut”. Sooo as part of treat for teachers workshop, making sugar skulls for Dia de Los Muertos, I offered your delicious pumpkin brownies using coconut flour, coconut sugar (coming from HI, I’m a bit of a “ka-tonk”) & truvia, oh & a few secret, Mexican ingredients to the chocolate. Was ono, brah! Mahalo for the inspiration,!!


Emilie October 28, 2013 at 7:55 pm

My first time making cheesecake so i followed it exactly and it was pretty runny so I left it in for 5 more minutes, then 10 minutes with the door open…I’m afraid I’m going to over cook the brownie part. Any suggestions for next time?


Irvin October 30, 2013 at 12:37 am

Hmmm. It’s possible your oven runs low, but there could be a few other variables (if some of your ingredients started out colder or you didn’t preheat the oven enough).

It’s OK if the cheesecake wiggles a little in the center but if it looks really runny than I’d bake it a bit longer. But don’t worry too much about the brownie overcooking. The recipe is developed in such a way that both the brownie and the cheesecake should bake at the same time. So if the cheesecake looks undercooked, the brownie will be undercooked as well. Use your best judgement and take them out when you think they are ready!


Christel November 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Making these for the second time in two weeks because I was so blown away the first time! Such an amazing recipe and not only are they delicious with the intense pumpkin flavor but they are just absolutely gorgeous (I wish I could attach a picture of how perfect they turned out)- my new favorite dessert. There hasn’t been a single person who tried one that didn’t go gaga over this brownie (and I know because I waved them under everybody’s noses until they couldn’t resist). Awesome job, a really solid recipe. Thanks!


Irvin November 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Yay! I’m thrilled that you loved them enough to make them again! And I’m also amused and happy that you have forced them onto all your friends. Thanks for stopping by and making them!


Irvin November 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm

BTW, feel free to post a picture of them on my Facebook wall! I’d love to see how they turned out!


AJ December 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I tried out this recipe, followed the recipe & instructions to a “T” …

And it came out terrible!

Pumpkin + chocolate go great together, but this is an awful batter.

Finished product is greasy – greasy cheeseburgers are one thing, a greasy brownie is just nasty.


Irvin December 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Hi AJ,

I’m sorry you didn’t like the end result. I’ve had a number of people like the brownies, and I certainly did (otherwise I would not have put them on my blog) but everyone has different tastes. So sorry the recipe wasn’t to yours!


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