Cream Cheese Brownies; and May’s Cookbook Club Roundup

Hi friends! How are you on this rare beautiful sunny morning? Boyfriend & I were up early to get down the seafront for a walk before the weather changed its mind. It was so lovely! We were back home, caffeinated, and ready to start the day – all before 9am! It was the perfect kick-start to my morning, and now I’m hyped to share this post with you! May’s Cookbook Club Roundup, and my favourite recipe from the whole bunch: Nigella’s Cream Cheese Brownies. It was a tough call to decide what recipe was my absolute favourite, and Boyfriend voted for a different recipe than I did, so it was hard. Ultimately it came down to this: out of all the recipes I made, these brownies are the one I’d make again – like, right now. And I think that’s a pretty good sign, no?

Details, links, thoughts, and the cream cheese brownie recipe below!

Cookbook Club, May 2021: How it Went

I’m so happy I started this cookbook club! It really got me so excited to use the three chosen books, and to focus in on them. I always try to use my books whenever possible – rather than looking up a recipe on the internet etc. – but this made me really zone in on these specific ones. Over the course of the month, I tried to make as much as possible from each book, without going mad just for the sake of the club. Overall, I’m very pleased with everything that I made – we didn’t come across a single disappointing recipe!

Of course, due to the sweet nature of my blog, the odds were skewed towards the winning recipe coming from Nigella – but I’m not mad about it. My favourite savory recipe was probably the buttery pesto – it’s definitely a recipe I’ll be revisiting throughout the summer.

In case you missed it: there are a ton of links and resources in my Cookbook Club, May 2021 post. Below is a roundup of everything we made from over the course of the month. Most of the links are to the exact same recipe, but in some cases – mostly from LA Cult Recipes – the recipes were unavailable online and I’ve linked to something similar. Enjoy!

May’s Cookbook Club Roundup

Back Pocket Pasta

• Buttery Basil Pesto with Linguine: this pesto is INSANE. It’s literally the best we’ve ever tasted: half butter half EVOO, a revelation! Will 100% be making again.

• Venetian Spritz: I hardly needed a recipe for this – but I’m never not looking for an excuse to Spritz.

• Quick Sausage Sugo: very, very delicious. We love the Italian sausages from Hicks, and they worked a treat in this sugo.

• Sicilian Escarole & Sausage: I have no idea what escarole is, so I made this with broccoli and loved! Anything with sausage is basically a win.

• Campanelle with Broccoli Rabe & Chorizo: again, I used tenderstem broccoli here, and we devoured it. Simple yet satisfying.

How to be a Domestic Goddess

• (Key) Lime Pie: my first ever Key Lime Pie! Who knew it was so delicious!? Insanely light and airy.

• Cream Cheese Brownies: the winning recipe. Scroll down for more info!

Schnecken: criminally good. They’re basically cinnamon buns baked on top of a buttery-maple-syrup-pecan mixture that’s inverted after baking. It’s just as gooey and sticky as you’re imagining, if not more. Boyfriend’s favourite!

• Gateau Breton: French! butter! cake! I had a baking tin malfunction during this bake and even still this was incredible! A very close second to the brownies!

Los Angeles Cult Recipes

• Original Tommy’s Chili Cheeseburger: chili, on top of a burger, laden with sauces and alllll the trimmings. So! Good! Heart attack inducing – but worth it.

• Tacos Delta Tacos Al Pastor: this marinade is so good and smoky! Our pork was perfectly tender and flavorful.

• Grilled Cheese with Tomatoes: basic, but satisfying. Especially great with an aged cheddar!

• Bacon Chili Hot Dogs: gluttonously good. We went for sausages with a mix of beef & pork instead of wrapping a beef sausage with bacon, and topped it off with leftover chili from the above cheeseburger – with cheese and onions and fries; oh my!

• BBQ Chicken Pizza: Astorino’s recipe is similar to this, except he uses a tomato base sauce and then drizzles BBQ over the top. Saucy-licious!

• Thai Chicken Pizza: the most unusual pizza topping ever – in a good way. I especially loved the crunch of the fresh carrots & spring onions on top!

And there we have it: May’s Cookbook Club Roundup! I hope you find a recipe to take away with you – and I really hope it’s the buttery pesto, the gateau Breton, or the Thai chicken pizza.

All the information you need to make the Cream Cheese Brownies of your dreams below!

Why you should make Nigella’s Cream Cheese Brownies

Here’s why I think you should make these cream cheese brownies, aside from the fact that they’re cream! cheese! brownies!

• they’re so luxurious! I’ve always been intrigued by the thought of adding cream cheese to brownies and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do it earlier! The cream cheese adds an air of luxury to the brownies that’s like: yes, I have extra fat and I’m owning it!

• the cream cheese adds depth of flavour and a lovely salty/sweet bite to the brownies – they’re almost umami-ey.

• they’re super fudgy! I am definitely on team fudgy brownie vs team cakey brownie, and these brownies meet my high standards. Fudgy brownies have a higher proportion of fat to flour, and that’s why they taste so delicious!

• they’re like a cheesecake brownie, but without the extra effort. Normally, a cheesecake brownie requires beating sugar/eggs to the cream cheese – but Nigella is not about that lifestyle. The only extra effort you have to make for these brownies is slicing the cream cheese as thin as possible.

• they’re so easy to make! Literally: less than 10 minutes prep time, and 20-25 minutes in the oven. A dream!

I just know you’re going to love them – we sure did!

Happy baking! xo

5 from 2 votes

Cream Cheese Brownies

Deliciously fudgy brownies with a hidden layer of cream cheese in their centre.
P R E P10 minutes
C O O K25 minutes
T O T A L35 minutes
Yield: 9 brownies
Author: Passionate Baker


  • 125 g dark chocolate
  • 125 g salted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 200 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 200 g cream cheese, cold


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C, and grease + line a 9-inch brownie tin with parchment paper. Prepare the cream cheese by cutting it into thin slices – we're not looking for perfection here – and returning it to the fridge for now.
  • In a medium pot, melt the chocolate and butter together over a medium-low heat. Nigella doesn't bother with a bain-marie, so I followed her lead and nothing terrible happened. When melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl, use a whisk to lightly beat together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture in a slow steady stream, whisking all the while.
  • Measure the flour directly into the bowl, and whisk until no lumps of flour remain.
  • Pour half of the batter – by eye is fine – into the prepared brownie tin, spread the sliced cream cheese evenly over the top of it, and then cover the cream cheese with the remaining batter. Use a spatula to spread the top batter around, ensuring the cream cheese is covered.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is papery but a skewer inserted into the centre comes out "still-sticky". Cool in the tin for 10-minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice and enjoy!


Did you make this recipe? I’d love to know! Please leave a comment & a rating below, or tag me on Instagram @imvcki. Thank you so much for supporting Passionate Baker!

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2 thoughts on “Cream Cheese Brownies; and May’s Cookbook Club Roundup”

  • 5 stars
    I love Nigella! Her HTBADG cookbook is one of my most used and most loved! I am intrigued by the pasta book you mentioned. Many thanks, Christina.

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