FOR THE CAKE LAYER
1 box of vanilla cake mix, plus the ingredients ordered in the box
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER
3 (8-oz.) blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 c. of granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 c. sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
FOR THE PUDDING LAYER
1 box of instant vanilla pudding
1 1/2 c. of whole milk
2 c. Chocolate chips
1 c. of heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 9″ pan with cooking spray. Prepare cake mix according to package directions and pour approximately half of the dough into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes.
Make the cheesecake mixture: In a large bowl using a hand blender, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add the eggs and beat until combined, then add the sour cream and vanilla.
Pour the cream cheese over the cooled cake and bake until the cheesecake moves slightly in the center, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. (Cheesecakes tend to break if a water bath is not used. If you don’t want to use one, bake according to the instructions. If you want to use a water bath, wrap the outside of the pan twice in aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet. Place it on the oven rack and pour enough boiling water to reach the middle of the pan. Bake according to the instructions). Turn off the oven heat, rest the oven door and let the cheesecake cool in the oven, 1 hour. Remove the foil and refrigerate the cheesecake until it is completely cold, at least 4 hours and overnight.
If not using a water bath: Remove the baking pan from the oven and run a knife inside the pan to release the cheesecake. Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack, then refrigerate until completely cold, at least 4 hours and overnight.
Making the pudding: In a medium bowl, combine the pudding mixture with the milk. Beat until thickened, about 3 minutes. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Ganache: Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl, heat-proof, and set aside. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the bubbles begin to break the surface around the edges of the pan, turn off the heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 5 minutes before whipping until smooth.
Spread the pudding over the cheesecake in an even layer. Cover with ganache. Place in the refrigerator to harden, 30 minutes to one hour.