Ghoulishly Good: Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Life is full of difficult choices. Picking between the chicken or the pasta on the airplane (they’re both bad). Vodka or gin in your martini (because both at once would be gross). Ordering just one dessert at the restaurant (they’re all awesome). Choosing just one New Kid on the Block as your official celebrity crush (as long as it’s not Joey, because your best friend called dibs on him first).

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

Thankfully, that’s not the case with these Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies. These babies let you have pumpkin cheesecake and fudgey brownies, all in one delicious bite. No choosing. If they gave out Nobel prizes for baking, I’m sure these would be right at the top of the list for giving indecisive people around the world their own dessert.

These gorgeous brownies are just one of 13 super-spooky Halloween-themed sweets and treats created especially created for you by some of the coolest bloggers I know:

Halloween 2013 Collage

(And no, we didn’t actually plan on having 13 recipes… it’s just a total coincidence, which is even more spooky. OooooooOOOOooOOOooh.)

You’ll find links for all the recipes at the bottom of this post, but in the meantime, let’s talk about these brownies for a second, because I’m really proud of the way these turned out.

Pumpkin Brownie Ingredients

The brownie half is dense and fudgey and deeply chocolatey, just like a proper brownie ought to be. The pumpkin layer is subtly spicy and not too sweet, and a Halloween-perfect shade of bright orange.

Each one of these layers would be perfectly good on its own, but once they’re swirled together, they’re doubly delicious (and a whole lot prettier, to boot).

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownie Batter

As for the marbling, I promise it’s not nearly as complicated as it looks. Plus, it’s awfully pretty.

The trick to marbling is basically to know when to stop. You start by randomly spooning on big fat dollops of the two batters into the pan, then you use a sharp knife to swirl them using a wide zig-zag sort of motion – first from side-to-side, then up-and-down. And then you put your knife down and call it a day. Don’t give in to the temptation to keep swirling your knife around, or else you’ll end up with a muddled mess.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

The toughest choice as far as these brownies are concerned?

Deciding between making just the one batch, or using up the whole package of cream cheese and make it a double. (I think we all know the answer to that one, though.)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies


5.0 from 2 reviews
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
It's tough having to choose between fudgey brownies and tangy pumpkin cheesecake, which is why these bars are so awesome - it's like having both at the same time!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16
Brownie Base:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup flour
Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl:
  • ½ package (4 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (fresh, if possible)
Make the Brownie Base:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or greased foil.
  2. In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and scrape into a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt, then beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the flour and mix until just barely combined.
Prepare the Pumpkin Swirl Batter:
  1. In a second mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until combined. Stir in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and set aside.
Assemble the Brownies:
  1. Spread half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking pan. Drop alternating spoonfuls of the pumpkin filling and the remaining brownie batter onto the brownie layer. Run a sharp knife through the batter in a zig zag sort of motion to swirl the brownie batter and pumpkin filling together.
  2. Bake in preheated oven until the edges are set and the middle is still a little wobbly, about 25-30 minutes. Let cool in the pan about 15 minutes, then use the edges of the parchment to lift out the brownies and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. Cut the cooled brownies into squares, and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days (assuming they last that long).


This post is part of the Halloween Holiday Food Blog Party organized by Jen of Jen’s Favourite Cookies.  For more spookily delicious Halloween goodies, check out the rest of the posts:

Butterfinger BarkButterfinger Bark
by Jen’s Favourite Cookies
Pumpkin Rice Krispie TreatsPumpkin Rice Krispie Treats
by Little Red Kitchen 
Chocolate Peanut Butter Halloween Puppy ChowHalloween Puppy Chow
by The Messy Baker
Pumpkin Spice Cookie CupsPumpkin Spice Cookie Cups
by Chocolate Moosey
Chocolate Pumpkin CrepesChocolate Pumpkin Crepes
by Pineapple and Coconut
Pumpkin Pie FudgePumpkin Spice Fudge
by Juanita’s Cocina
HungryReese’s Pretzel Crust Pie
by Hungry Couple
Vampire Delight MartiniVampire’s Delight Martini
by Magnolia Days
Rice Krispies Candy CornRice Krispie Candy Corn
by That Skinny Chick
Chocolate Pumpkin Layer CakeChocolate Pumpkin Cake
by Gotta Get Baked 
Sour Patch KidsHomemade SourPatch Kids
by What Smells So Good
Chocolate Pumpin Spice Mummy CookiesChocolate Pumpkin Cookies
by Created by Diane


  1. Donna says

    These look yummy and I plan to make some today. As I was reading the instructions I noticed that the instructions call for vanilla in the cheesecake but there is no vanilla listed in the cheesecake ingredients. So, if any, how much?



    • Isabelle Boucher says

      Good catch, Donna! There should be 1/2 tsp vanilla in the cheesecake batter. I’ve corrected the recipe with this info.
      Hope you enjoy the brownies! They were a big hit at my office. :)

  2. Connie says

    Just made these. I substituted half the brown sugar for some of this ‘truvia’ sweetener that contains stevia. I also added liquid ‘sugar twin’ instead of sugar to the cheesecake part instead of sugar. Both were a little runny, but both tasted delicious. I doubled the recipe and made two 9×12 pans (for 25 mins) which makes for pretty thin brownies so I don’t recommend it. Doubled recipe will only make one 9×12. I used pumpkin that I had frozen and it didn’t look as orange so I just added some food dye. I ended up dolluping the cheesecake bit on top and then swirling, seemed to work great though. First vertical figure eights across, then long sweeping horizontal strokes. They ended up too thin and not moist enough…Here’s a pic:

    • Isabelle Boucher says

      Thanks for the feedback, Connie. Your marbling looks amazing, though! Much prettier than mine.
      I’m thinking the pan size may be the reason they came out a little thin and dry, especially if you didn’t decrease the baking time – the recipe is based on an 8×8 pan, so for a double batch, I agree a single 9×12 is perfect (or two 8×8’s).

  3. says

    See now I’m glad you didn’t call out Joey as your New Kid because he’s mine. I’m your best friend that claimed him. You can have Donnie or Jordan. So let’s talk brownies, how’d you know these are the way I love mine? Dense and fudgey – love.

  4. caro says

    They look fantastic and also taste delicious. Unfortunately the dough for the cheescake was too liquid and also the brownie dough, so I couldn’t get this nice marble picture. In the end I mostly had three layers but the taste was still good. Do you know what I did wrong? Thank you :)

    • Isabelle Boucher says

      I’m so sorry you had trouble with the marbling, Caro. When I tested these at home, the brownie batter was fairly thick, so it helped to keep the marbling in place, even though the cheesecake batter was on the runnier side (the second photo is actually the unbaked batter, to give you an idea of what I mean). I’d love to troubleshoot this for you… did you make any changes or substitutions, by any chance?
      I’m glad that the flavour was good, though, even if they weren’t quite as pretty as you’d hoped!

      • caro says

        I’m from Germany, but I don’t think that the ingredients are that different. I try to add a little bit more flour to the brownie batter next time. Lets see if I get it like you :) But my family loved them ^^

  5. says

    i am SO jealous: i’ve been wanting to work on a pumpkin cheesecake brownie such-and-such for like, forever now. never got around to it. I’m a little happy i didn’t right now, because yours are beautiful, and now i don’t have to do any work myself.
    except for making them and eating them. so there’s that, but i’m willing to sacrifice.

  6. says

    Oh yeeeesssss! I’m loving this chocolate/pumpkin combo, Isabelle. I love that these brownies are dense and fudgy (anything else is NOT a brownie). One should never have to choose between delicious desserts so thank you for making this!

  7. says

    Those are wonderfully swirled brownies and I can only imagine they taste as good as they look. They would not last long at any party, Halloween or otherwise.

  8. says

    I need marbling lessons from you, Isabelle!!! These are just plum gorgeous…and I know they taste as magnificent as they look!


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