Mascarpone swirl brownies — fudgy brownies with velvety smooth mascarpone swirls. Rich, decadent, chocolatey and very easy to make.
(Looking for mascarpone desserts? Try these New York-style no-bake mini cheesecakes. Made with mascarpone cheese, cream cheese and whipped cream, every bite is wickedly good. These mascarpone cookies are always a hit too!)
What is mascarpone cheese?
Mascarpone, also called Italian cream cheese, is a creamy, velvety smooth, luxuriously spreadable cheese made from cow’s milk.
It has a slightly sweet flavour and almost buttery consistency. This is due to its high milkfat or butterfat content — up to 75%.
Tiramisu is probably one of the – if not the – most popular mascarpone recipes (try this eggless tiramisu recipe for an easy, delicious, egg-free version) but mascarpone is used in a variety of ways, like in these recipes:
- Grilled Peaches with Mascarpone Cream & Bourbon Salted Caramel Sauce
- No-Bake Raspberry White Chocolate Tart
I also love adding mascarpone to brownies. They give fudgy brownies an added richness and creaminess, and those swirls make for pretty treats perfect for gifts, potlucks, bake sales and more.
Let’s get to it.
Why you’ll love these mascarpone swirl brownies
If you’re already a classic brownie fan, you’ll love these mascarpone swirl brownies because:
- They’re just as easy to do. You have that extra step of making the mascarpone mixture but it takes no time at all and totally worth it.
- These brownies are not your everyday brownies — make them when you need a special treat, to cheer someone up, at Christmastime, when bake sale season comes up, at potlucks where you want to steal everyone’s thunder (which, at least for me, is every potluck lol).
- They freeze well too. So you can make a batch when you have the time and thaw them when you need them.
How to make chocolate mascarpone brownies
Baking chocolate mascarpone brownies is quick and easy and the ingredients are easy to find.
For the mascarpone cheese mixture, you’ll need:
- Mascarpone cheese
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
And for the brownie batter:
- Dutch processed, unsweetened cocoa powder
- Baking soda
- Unsalted butter
- Espresso or strong coffee
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Whole eggs
- All purpose flour
You don’t need special tools when making mascarpone cheesecake brownies, although I use my electric mixer to beat the mascarpone mixture.
Other than that, all you’ll need are:
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Whisks and spatulas
- 9×13 inch baking pan
Mascarpone swirl brownies recipe
1 PREHEAT. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan then line with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. Grease the parchment paper as well. Set side.
2 BEAT. Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat mascarpone cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Scrape the sides of your bowl.
3 EGG. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue to beat until incorporated. Set aside.
For the brownie batter, it’s important not to over mix so I always whisk and stir by hand.
4 DRY INGREDIENTS. In a large bowl, whisk cocoa powder and baking soda until combined.
5 BUTTER. Add melted butter to your chocolate mixture and whisk until thick and smooth.
6 COFFEE. Add espresso and continue whisking until smooth and incorporated. At this point, it would seem like the espresso doesn’t want to incorporate into the batter. Keep whisking and it will come together.
7 WHISK. Add the rest of your ingredients (except the flour) and whisk until fully incorporated.
8 FLOUR. Finally, add flour and gently fold until just combined. Do not over mix.
9 CHOCOLATE. Transfer your brownie batter into your prepared pan and spread evenly.
10 MASCARPONE. Top with your mascarpone mixture and try to spread around.
11 SWIRL. Run a knife through the batter to create swirls and help further even out the cheese throughout the pan.
12 TAP. Gently tap the pan on your counter a few times to help the batter settle in.
13 BAKE. Bake the brownies for 30-45 minutes or until it starts to brown at the edges but the centre still feels a little jiggly (but not soupy). You want a toothpick inserted in the middle to come out with minimal but slightly moist crumbs.
14 COOL. Take out of the oven and allow to cool on the counter. Then chill 2-3 hours (or overnight) until the brownies are set. You can serve the brownies chilled or at room temperature.
Baking tips and recipe FAQs
What is the difference between mascarpone and cream cheese?
These two cheeses are similar but have notable differences:
|Texture and Consistency
|Mascarpone is creamy and smooth. American cream cheese is firmer and typically sold in bricks that you usually need to soften or bring down to room temperature before using in baking recipes.
|Cream cheese is tangier than mascarpone, which is milder and has a slightly sweet flavour.
|Mascarpone cheese can contain as much as 75% butterfat vs. cream cheese, which ranges from 33 to 40%.
Can cream cheese be substituted for mascarpone?
There are ingredients that are great substitutes for mascarpone depending on the recipe (e.g. clotted cream).
For these mascarpone cheese brownies, yes you can use cream cheese. Just expect a slight difference in sweetness and texture.
What can I substitute for coffee?
Coffee makes chocolate flavour stand out more but if you prefer to not have it in your brownies, you can substitute with the same amount of water.
How to make chewy and fudgy brownies
In my experience, these things make brownies chewy and fudgy:
- Brown sugar. In this recipe, there’s ½ cup packed brown sugar and I’ve found that adding it helps create that sticky, fudgy texture.
- Bake time. Remember it’s better to under-bake than over-bake brownies. Use the baking time in this recipe (or any brownie recipe) as a guide and then start testing your brownies about 10 minutes before the end, or just when they start pulling away from the sides of your pan.
The tester or toothpick you insert in the centre must not come out clean. What you want are bits of crumbs (not wet batter) sticking to it. The brownies will continue to cook as they cool.
It also helps not to over mix your brownie batter once you’ve added the flour.
How to store brownies
Brownies with mascarpone cheese will keep in the fridge for up to a week but the best way to store them is to freeze them.
Cut the thoroughly cooled brownies into individual pieces, wrap each one in plastic wrap (wrap them snugly), then with foil. Place each one in a freezer safe container or Ziploc bag.
When you’re ready to eat or serve them, just bring them out and thaw at room temperature. They’re good slightly chilled too.
Mascarpone swirl brownies stored in the freezer will keep for 1-2 months.
Do you have other brownie recipes?
I love baking brownies! They’re one of the easiest things to make. Try these other brownie recipes and see which one is your favourite:
- Ube brownies are your favourite chewy and fudgy brownies but packed with the ube flavour you love. Made with real ube halaya, sprinkled with white chocolate chips, so good.
- Fudgy walnut brownies are your classic brownies — crusty and shiny on top, chewy in the centre, and bursting with chocolate chip and walnuts in every bite.
- These salted caramel cream cheese brownies, on the other hand, are all your favourite things in one decadent, luxurious bite.
- Try this matcha brownies recipe for chocolate brownies infused and complemented with bold, earthy matcha flavour.
Try chocolate mascarpone brownies next time you’re craving for an extra special chocolatey treat. Enjoy!
Mascarpone Swirl Brownies
Mascarpone Cheese Mixture
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan then line with parchment paper with a slight overhang on each side. Grease the parchment paper as well. Set aside.
Mascarpone Cheese Mixture
- Using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat mascarpone cheese and ½ cup sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Scrape the sides of your bowl.
- Add the egg and 1 tsp vanilla extract and continue to beat until incorporated. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk ¾ cup cocoa powder and ½ tsp baking soda until combined.
- Add ⅔ cup melted butter to your chocolate mixture and whisk until thick and smooth.
- Add ½ cup espresso and continue whisking until smooth and incorporated. At this point, it would seem like the espresso doesn't want to incorporate into the batter. Keep whisking and it will come together.
- Add the rest of your ingredients (except the flour) and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Finally, add 1⅓ cups flour and gently fold until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Transfer your brownie batter into your prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Top with your mascarpone mixture and try to spread around
- Run a knife through the batter to create swirls and help further even out the cheese throughout the pan.
- Gently tap the pan on your counter a few times to help the batter settle in.
- Bake the brownies for 30-45 minutes or until it's starting to brown at the edges but the centre still feels a little jiggly (but not soupy). You want a toothpick inserted in the middle to come out with minimal but slightly moist crumbs.
- Take out of the oven and allow to cool on the counter. Then chill 2-3 hours (or overnight) until the brownies are set. You can serve the brownies chilled or at room temperature.
- The yield depends on how big or small you slice your brownies. These are very rich so a little goes a long way.
- I’ve found that not all mascarpone are the same. Some are milder than others. When making your mascarpone mixture, taste it before adding the egg and decide if you need to add more sugar. Do so a teaspoon at a time; don’t add more than ¼ cup.
- Remember that it’s better to under-bake than over-bake brownies. They will continue to cook as they cool in the pan.
- See post for lots of baking tips and FAQs.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make chocolate brownies with mascarpone cream? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.