Food & Drink

Behold the holiday ‘cheesecaken’

A white and dark chocolate layered cheesecake with peppermint bark at DeVivo Bros. in Keller.
A white and dark chocolate layered cheesecake with peppermint bark at DeVivo Bros. in Keller. Star-Telegram

If you spent any time on social media over Thanksgiving weekend, you probably saw stories and recipes for “piecaken,” the pie-inside-a-cake monstrosity that has become a dessert phenomenon. (The name is a play on the savory “turducken,” the chicken-duck-turkey mashup.)

Allow us to introduce the Christmas “cheesecaken.” There’s an entire peppermint cheesecake layered right inside this fluffy chocolate cake, then iced with peppermint buttercream frosting.

“I’ve never really been a fan of peppermint on its own,” says cake creator John DeVivo, who, along with his brother, Ralph, owns the popular Keller cafe DeVivo Bros. Eatery. “But when it’s mixed with chocolate and cream, it offers a softer flavor that’s delicious and smooth.”

Use a variety of peppermint candies to get creative with seasonal decorating. Just try not to look at the calorie count.

For more Christmas cake recipes, check out the December issue of Indulge luxury magazine or click here.

Take one home

A slice sells for $5.50, and a whole cake sells for $45 at DeVivo Bros. Eatery.

Chocolate layer cake with peppermint bark cheesecake

Serves 16-18

Chocolate cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  •  1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use butter or baking spray to grease two 9-inch cake pans and lightly dust with flour.

2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk to combine or, using a paddle attachment, stir until well-combined.

3. Add milk, canola oil, eggs and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well-combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.

4. Distribute cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.


Peppermint bark cheesecake:

  • 1  1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  •  1/2 cup crumbled peppermint bark
  •  1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter.

2. Mix together sugar and flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Place cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the sugar mixture and beat until incorporated. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, as needed.

3. With the mixer on low, add vanilla and then slowly pour in cream; mix until just combined. Add egg yolk, then whole eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate completely before adding the next. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle, as needed. Fold in the peppermint bark and chocolate chips by hand with a spatula.

4. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and bake until the edges of the cake are browned and the center is barely set, about 45 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour.

5. Place cheesecake on a cooling rack. Cover with a baking sheet and let cool until the pan is lukewarm to the touch, about 1  1/2 hours. Remove the baking sheet, loosely cover the cheesecake, and refrigerate. Run a knife around the inner edge of the pan and remove the sides when ready to assemble the cakes.


Peppermint buttercream frosting:

  •  3/4 pound cream cheese
  •  1/2 pound butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  •  1/2 heaping cup powdered sugar
  • 1  1/4 cups crushed peppermints

Whip the cream cheese and butter with a paddle attachment until there are no lumps. Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until combined. Using a spatula, fold in crushed peppermints.


Layer cheesecake between chocolate cakes. Ice with buttercream frosting and decorate with more peppermints, if desired.

Nutritional analysis per serving, based on 16: 860 calories, 52 grams fat, 92 grams carbohydrates, 11 grams protein, 202 milligrams cholesterol, 704 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber, 53 percent of calories from fat.

DeVivo Bros. Eatery, 750 S. Main St., Suite 165, Keller, 817-431-6890,

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