These heart-shaped brownies are easy to make and are topped with cheesecake batter and a simple raspberry sauce, but you can use store-bought if preferred. The result is super fudgy! You can make them with all-purpose, whole wheat or gluten-free flour.
The brownie base is my Gluten-free Brownies recipe, BUT! you can use all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour if you don’t need them to be gluten-free.
Whole wheat flour is what was used in the photos. And they definitely don’t come out cardboardy or tasting whole grain.
Each version is just as delicious as the other! I know because I’ve made every variation of this recipe possible for the last 9 years.
They’ve been my go-to recipe anytime I need to bake for someone or an event. And people always want the recipe!
If you have any questions about the brownie base, I recommend checking out the post. I believe I’ve answered every possible question over there. :)
The full recipe, with measurements and directions, is at the bottom of this post. This is just to give you an overview of what you’ll need.
I’ll answer questions about substitutions further down in the post.
If you’d like to use a boxed brownie mix, you can, but I have no idea of the baking time. Whether they’re done or not is kind of hard to gauge with the filling on top, so you’ll just have to dig into them.
How to make them
I’ll let the photos do the talking. These heart-shaped brownies are really easy to make.
It looks like a ton of steps, but that’s because you have a cheesecake topping and homemade raspberry sauce.
Want to use store-bought raspberry sauce? You can save a few minutes with that!
Want to skip the straining part? I really wouldn’t recommend it.
I’ve made the brownies with the seeds still in the sauce and the crunch really ruined them for me. But perhaps that’s just me.
It takes less than a minute and is so worth the effort. You don’t even have to waste them. You can add the seeds to a raspberry smoothie for extra fiber.
Want to use jam? It’s a bit thick, but I think you could water it down a little, and then it’d work fine.
Want to use a different fruit? Go for it! You might need more or less sugar.
And keep in mind that there will likely be blobs of fruit in your sauce unless you smash the fruit with the bottom of a glass or you puree the sauce.
You can make the raspberry sauce 4 days in advance. The cheesecake filling 1 day in advance.
You don’t want to mix up the brownie batter in advance. I do have kits of the dry ingredients ready for occasions when I need last-minute treats. That you can do months ahead of time.
You could likely assemble everything (brownie base + cheesecake + sauce) and refrigerate the pan overnight, but I haven’t tried it, so I can’t 100% say for sure.
Once the brownies are baked, you can refrigerate them for up to 4 days.
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How to store and freeze
They would be perfect for this recipe! Does anyone have them?
In March, I’ll be going to the US for the first time since 2015. I’ll be buying a set then.
Tell me your must-buy goodies! I have $450 worth of paleo snack foods in my Amazon cart right now. 😂 I might need to whittle that down a bit.
Anyhow. If you want to freeze them, wrap the brownies in plastic wrap and then place in a Ziploc bag. They’ll stay good for at least 3 months.
Your flour options for this recipe are:
- A gluten-free baking flour that’s a 1:1 sub for all-purpose flour
- Teff flour
- Buckwheat flour
GF baking flour
Make sure it’s meant as a 1-to-1 sub for all-purpose flour. The one I always use is Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour. It’s the one in the blue bag.
I’ve also used King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour with great success. I just go with Bob’s because it’s a bit cheaper.
Commenters on my original brownie recipe have said that they’ve used the gluten-free flour blends from Pillsbury, Namaste and several others with success.
I don’t think I’ve had any commenters say that they didn’t work out. So it seems to be a pretty flexible recipe!
Up next are two healthier and whole grain options. Teff comes in different varieties like white/ivory or dark. It’s said that the dark kind is earthier tastin. Some might say it tastes like dirt, like buckwheat.
I’ve used both white and dark teff flour in these brownies, and you really can’t detect any difference – all the cocoa powder does a great job of covering up any earthy and healthy flavors!
I think teff isn’t the easiest flour to find, but the dark kind is available on Amazon.
Buckwheat is also awesome in these brownies. You can’t taste it at all if you use light buckwheat.
There is some grittiness if you use dark buckwheat. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out my post on Is Buckwheat Gluten-free?
If you don’t want to use any of those other flours, I have even more options for you. :)
As I said above, I have absolutely zero idea of the baking time if you use a different base. So you’d just have to dig in to check them out!
A vegan version is unfortunately impossible with today’s recipe. I do have these Paleo Vegan Brownies, which were adapted from the same base as today’s recipe, but I’ve never made baked vegan cheesecake topping.
I actually did just that last year for Valentine’s Day for my kid’s kindergarten teachers, as one of the teachers is vegan, and they were all thrilled with them.
By the way, the 3 years of preschool before 1st grade is called kindergarten here in Germany. So on the off chance someone has been wondering why my only child has been in kindergarten for 3 years, that’s why. :)
More heart-shaped desserts for Valentine’s Day
I need to say that the cakes are actually easier than they look. And you just need round 8″ pans for them! No specialty pans.
That’s it! I hope you’ll enjoy these heart-shaped brownies if you try them. :) I’d love to hear what you think below in the comments! Happy Valentine’s Day. ♥♥♥
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 9-12
- 8 ounces (225 grams) cream cheese1, room temp
- 1/3 cup (66 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg (50 grams, out of shell), room temp
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (125 grams) fresh or frozen defrosted raspberries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour or for gluten-free, see notes2
- 3/4 cup (86 grams) cocoa powder (I use Dutch-process), sifted if lumpy
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (196 grams) oil3
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs (50 grams each, out of shell), room temperature
For the cheesecake topping:
- In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together at medium speed and then high speed until well combined.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla on low until well combined.
- Add all raspberry sauce ingredients to a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Simmer for about 5-8 minutes or until thickened and syrupy and it coats the back of a spoon. It shouldn’t be as thick as jam. You’ll get about 1/3 cup.
- Set a food mill or a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the seeds.
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C) and line an 8"×8" (20cmx20cm) pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together coconut oil, sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Once combined, add the eggs one at a time and stir just until combined.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir just until almost no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix!
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Spread the cream cheese topping over the top.
- Dollop spoonfuls of raspberry sauce over the top and use a skewer (or whatever tool you like) to create swirls.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. The brownies will jiggle a bit when you remove them from the oven, but when you see that just the middle is super jiggly, they’re not done yet.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool completely and then chill for 2 hours or until chilled through.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- If you live outside of the US – to make something similar to US cream cheese, for 8 ounces (225 grams) of cream cheese, buy a 300-gram package of European cheese cream (the stuff at Aldi, Lidl, etc. works just as well as Philadelphia), put it in the center of a clean tea towel or cheesecloth, and squeeze out the liquid until you have 225 grams of cream cheese.
- For a gluten-free version, you can use 1 cup (158 grams) teff flour, or 1 cup (125 grams) light buckwheat flour or 1 cup (138 grams) Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-free Baking Flour, or 1 cup (125 grams) King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour (or a similar mix that's meant as a direct sub for all-purpose flour.)
- If using coconut oil, I prefer refined coconut oil over unrefined as refined has zero coconut taste to it. You also need to melt it first. It's what I used in the photos and always use for this brownie base. But I've tested other oils and they also work. Using olive oil would give you a strong olive flavor, so I don't recommend that for these brownies.