Healthy Cherry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies: A Delicious Fusion of Flavor


Everyday Culinary Delights

Calling all dessert lovers! Are you craving a treat that’s both decadent and delightful? Look no further than these Healthy Cherry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies! This recipe combines the rich, fudgy goodness of brownies with a creamy cheesecake layer and bursts of sweet and tart cherries.

These brownies are not only incredibly flavorful, but they’re also surprisingly healthy, boasting high protein content and a lighter calorie count compared to traditional cheesecake brownies.

A History of Deliciousness: The Origins of Cheesecake Brownies

The exact origins of cheesecake brownies are a bit hazy, but they’re believed to be a relatively recent invention in the world of desserts. Likely inspired by the classic combination of chocolate and cheesecake found in desserts like New York-style cheesecake, creative bakers decided to combine these two flavors into a bar form.

The result? A delightful treat that offers the contrasting textures and flavors of cheesecake and brownies in every single bite.

Ready to Bake? What You’ll Need

This recipe is perfect for a weekend baking session and yields enough brownies to share with friends and family (or keep all to yourself, we won’t judge!). Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Mixing bowls (medium and large)
  • Electric mixer (hand mixer or stand mixer)
  • Whisk
  • Rubber spatula
  • 8×8 inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking spray (optional)
  • Knife or toothpick

Yields: Approximately 16 brownies

Cooking Time: 50-55 minutes


For the Brownie Layer:

  • ½ cup chocolate or vanilla protein powder (62g) – Protein powder adds a protein boost and helps to keep these brownies healthier. Whey or casein protein powders work best.
  • ¼ cup oat flour (30g) – Oat flour adds a slightly nutty flavor and heart-healthy fiber. You can also use all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour if needed.
  • ½ cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (40g) – High-quality cocoa powder is essential for rich, fudgy brownies.
  • 2 tablespoons granular sweetener (24g) – This recipe uses Swerve, a zero-calorie sweetener. You can substitute your favorite sweetener of choice, keeping in mind that the calorie count may vary.
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (244g) – Pumpkin puree adds moisture and richness to the brownies without adding excessive fat.
  • 2 tablespoons melted light butter (28g) – Using melted butter ensures even distribution throughout the batter.
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk (30g) – You can use any milk of your choice, such as dairy milk or oat milk.
  • 2 tablespoons melted chocolate chips (30g) – Dark chocolate chips pair beautifully with the cocoa powder, but semi-sweet or milk chocolate work too.

For the Cheesecake Layer:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened (226g) – For best results, use softened cream cheese at room temperature to ensure a smooth cheesecake layer.
  • 2 tablespoons granular sweetener (24g) – Same as above, use your preferred sweetener.
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour (30g) – Flour helps to thicken and stabilize the cheesecake layer.
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream (30g) – Heavy cream adds richness and helps create a creamy texture. You can substitute milk or a dairy-free alternative.
  • 1 large egg – The egg helps to bind the cheesecake layer ingredients together.

For the Cherries:

  • 1 cup no-sugar-added cherry pie filling (255g) – Using a no-sugar-added pie filling keeps the overall sugar content of the brownies lower. You can also use fresh or frozen cherries if desired.

Baking Up a Delight: Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preheat and Prep: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). Line your 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray it with nonstick cooking spray for easy removal.
  2. Create the Brownie Batter: In your medium bowl, whisk together the protein powder, oat flour (or your chosen flour), cocoa powder, sweetener, baking powder, and baking soda. Ensure there are no lumps remaining.
  3. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Add the pumpkin puree, melted butter, milk, and melted chocolate chips to the dry ingredients. Use your electric mixer or a strong whisk to combine everything until well incorporated.
  4. Whip Up the Cheesecake Layer: In your large bowl, using your electric mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese until it’s smooth and free of lumps. Gradually add the sweetener and mix until combined. Then, beat in the flour, heavy cream (or milk alternative), and egg one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Assemble and Swirl!: Pour ⅔ of the brownie batter into your prepared baking pan. Use a spatula or greased hands to spread the batter evenly. Carefully dollop the cheesecake batter over the brownie layer, leaving some brownie batter exposed. Pour the cherry pie filling over the cheesecake in dollops, creating gaps for the brownie batter to peek through. Finally, spoon the remaining brownie batter over the top.
  6. Swirling for Perfection: Here comes the fun part! Using a butter knife or toothpick, gently swirl the brownie batter, cheesecake batter, and cherry filling together to create a beautiful marbled effect. Don’t overmix, as you still want some distinct streaks of each layer.
  7. Bake Until Set: Place your pan in the preheated oven and bake for 50-55 minutes. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, but no raw batter. The cheesecake layer may still be slightly jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.
  8. Cool Completely and Set: Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies cool completely at room temperature. Once cool, cover the pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or ideally overnight. This allows the brownies to set fully and the flavors to meld together beautifully.

Tips for Brownie Bliss:

  • Craving Extra Fudgy Brownies? If you prefer your brownies extra fudgy, you can reduce the amount of pumpkin puree to ¾ cup. This will result in a denser brownie with a more intense chocolate flavor.
  • Don’t Overbake! Resist the urge to peek into the oven constantly. Opening the oven door lets out heat and can affect the baking process.
  • Let Those Brownies Chill! While you might be tempted to dig in right away, these brownies truly shine once they’ve been chilled. The cheesecake layer sets up properly, and the flavors have a chance to meld together for the ultimate flavor experience.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

  1. Under-mixing the Batter: Make sure to whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly before adding the wet ingredients. This ensures even distribution of the cocoa powder and prevents clumps in your brownies. Once the wet and dry ingredients are combined, mix until just incorporated. Overmixing can lead to tough brownies.
  2. Using Cold Cream Cheese: For a smooth cheesecake layer, ensure your cream cheese is softened at room temperature before beating it. Cold cream cheese will be lumpy and difficult to incorporate into the batter.
  3. Overbaking: Keep a close eye on your brownies as they bake. The toothpick test is your best friend here. Remember, a little bit of moist brownie crumb is okay, but you don’t want a completely dry toothpick. Overbaking will result in dry, crumbly brownies.
  4. Skipping the Chilling Step: While tempting to devour these brownies warm, be patient! The chilling step allows the cheesecake layer to fully set and the flavors to develop.
  5. Using the Wrong Size Pan: An 8×8 inch baking pan is ideal for this recipe. Using a larger pan will result in thinner brownies that may not bake through evenly.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Can I make this recipe gluten-free? Absolutely! Simply substitute the oat flour for your favorite gluten-free flour blend. Ensure the blend contains xanthan gum or another binding agent for best results.
  2. Can I make this recipe dairy-free? Yes you can! Here’s what you need to do:
  • Use dairy-free cream cheese.
  • Substitute the butter with vegan butter or melted coconut oil.
  • Use dairy-free milk (such as almond milk or oat milk) in both the brownie batter and cheesecake layer.
  • Opt for dairy-free chocolate chips for the brownie batter.
  1. Should I eat these brownies warm or cold? These brownies are delicious both ways! However, for the best texture and flavor experience, we recommend chilling them first. The cheesecake layer will be perfectly set, and the flavors will have had a chance to meld together. If you do prefer them warm, you can microwave them for a few seconds to heat them through.
  2. How long do these brownies stay fresh? Store your leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
  3. Can I freeze these brownies? Yes, you can! Let the brownies cool completely, then slice them and wrap them individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place the wrapped brownies in a freezer-safe container or zip-lock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.

A Delicious Conclusion: Indulge Guilt-Free!

These Healthy Cherry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling guilty. They’re packed with flavor and protein, making them a delicious and satisfying treat. So preheat your oven, gather your ingredients, and get ready to bake up a batch of brownie bliss!

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