Red Velvet Cheesecake.

I love Red Velvet. I love Cheesecake. I love baking. It’s perfect.

I made this for my roommates for Valentine’s Day and they loved it. Here is the recipe, along with the pictures of my process and some changes I have made. The recipe comes from Willow Bird Baking and the link to the original recipe is here.

http://willowbirdbaking.com/2011/01/24/red-velvet-cheesecake/

Ingredients

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking and adapted by Erica Ellis
Yield: 16 pieces, or 8 is you want bigger slices

Crust Ingredients:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs

(I used chocolate teddy grahms so I didn’t have to separate all the cookies)

5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients:
3/4 cups heavy cream
10 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped  (I did chocolate chips)

Cake Ingredients:
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (extract works)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 ounce red food coloring (yes, that whole 1 once bottle!)

Filling Ingredients:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Decorative Toppings (optional):
2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

So here we go. (I have put in the instructions with my photos and changes throughout)

Directions:
Note on cheesecake making: Cheesecakes are simple and super customizable. New to cheesecake making? Watch my (Willow Bird Baking’s) 6 minute Cheesecake Video Tutorial for visual assistance!

Note on scheduling: This cake is easily separated into two days of preparation, and can be prepared ahead of time. On day one, prepare the red velvet cake, cool it, and freeze it. On day two, prepare the cheesecake. You can then assemble and decorate right away, or leave this for day three.

(I baked both on day one and assembled on day two)

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and the sides of an 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easier to lift the cake out of the pan when it’s done. Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs.

Make a paste of the cocoa and coloring and add to the shortening mixture.

It does actually take that whole bottle!

"Paste" made from food coloring and cocoa powder. Just like making chocolate milk as a kid, it is hard to get all the puffs of cocoa mixed in.

Add salt and vanilla. Add buttermilk alternately with the flour, beginning and ending with flour.

I was so afraid this would stain all my bowls, luckily it did not.

Thickest cake batter ever

Mix vinegar and soda right before using and add to mixture by folding in.

About to make a science fair volcano

Pour batter into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

It was hard to get this in the pan because of the parchment paper and the cake ended up not being very smooth. And it is so thick it doesn't really "pour" into the pan.

The finished cake

The parchment paper does make it easy to remove

Cool completely, cover in wax paper, and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.

Make the cheesecake: To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides).

I crushed mine with the flat edge of a knife

cookie crumb crust

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes.

Beginnings of the ganache

Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed.

Pour 1 – 1.5 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust. Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended.

This was almost impossible to do without a mixer

Beat in the flour. Add in the vanilla and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

I ended up doing it mostly by hand... literally

Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust.

Cheesecake ready to bake

Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.

Assemble topping: Whip room temperature ganache to create a fluffy texture perfect for piping. In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar to make a small amount of cream cheese frosting for decorating.

Assemble the cheesecake: Wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the springform. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Here, you can schmear some ganache on the cheesecake to help the red velvet cake adhere. I didn’t, but it’s a good idea. Then place your red velvet cake layer on top of cheesecake (right side up). Decorate top of cake with drizzled white chocolate, piped cream cheese frosting, whipped ganache, and strawberries. (Mine had no strawberries or white chocolate)

Finished, decorated dessert!

There you have it! The best of both all worlds in one pan. Well, in multiple pans but brought together into one! I cut mine into 16 pieces because the cake is so tall and so rich but you can do 8 if you like. I am sure there is a way to make a lower fat or lower calorie one by using such cream cheeses and such but I went all out for this baby. :)

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