Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake

Posted by Lori:
I may have found my absolute favorite dessert (not that I needed to!), which can vary in many different tastes and flavors. It's a cake and a cheesecake - all in one. Actually, all in one GIGANTIC dessert!

I first heard about cake cheesecake from my sister, Kimberly. She had eaten a piece of red velvet cake cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. A few weeks later when I had the opportunity to be near one of the restaurants myself, I stopped by and picked up a piece to go. Have you ever been to The Cheesecake Factory? The prices are expensive, but the food is very good and the cheesecake? Well, it's amazing!

I had been thinking about trying to duplicate the cake cheesecake for some time, when I happened to find a special Cheesecake cookbook at Sam's Club. It's called Junior's Cheesecake and there is a special section just for cake cheesecakes. I look forward to trying several of them. There wasn't an actual recipe for the red velvet variety, but I used the recipes that were listed as a guide. My first attempt at this cake cheesecake was very successful, even though it didn't look perfect (it was leaning a bit!). The taste, however, was great! It's time consuming, but well worth the extra effort for an impressive dessert.  I served it Sunday for a Mother's Day when we invited my parents, my husband's parents, and other relatives over for lunch after church.

For this recipe, I began with a red velvet cake mix, just to make it easier. I think a homemade cake would make this great dessert even better and will be sure to try it next time.

For Cake Layers:
1 Red Velvet cake mix, baked as directed in 2, 9-inch round pans
(Note: Make sure to grease and flour pans well. You might even cut a circle of waxed paper for the bottom of the pan to help with the release of the cake.)

Allow cakes to cool slightly after baking. Remove from pan and continue to allow them to cool on wire racks.

For Cheesecake Layer:
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese (not low or reduced fat), at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the bottom and sides of one 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform pan with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides.

Place one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy for several minues, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping down the bowl after each. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each. Beat in the cream just until blended. Be careful not to overmix.

Gently spoon the batter into the foil-wrapped springform pan. Place the pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. (I recommend using an old or disposable pan because the wet aluminum foil will discolor your pan.)  Bake the cake at 350 degrees until the edges are light golden tan, about 1 1/4 hours. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and cool in the pan for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap (still in the pan) and refrigerate until it's completely cold, about 4 hours (I put mine in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours to speed up the process.

For the icing:
(Note: This makes too much icing, but this was the recipe listed in the book for another cake cheesecake of the same size. You could half it and still have plenty.)
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese (not low or reduced fat, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
6 cups sifted powdered sugar (I needed 8 cups. May depend on the temperature of your room. My kitchen was HOT from cooking all day!)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a medium bowl with the mixer on high speed. Add the powdered sugar, then the vanilla, beating until smooth. With the mixer running, gradufally add the cream and beat until the frosting looks whipped and creamy. Add a little more cream if necessary until it's easy to spread.

To assemble cake cheesecake:
Place one red velvet cake circle on desired cake plate. Spread a generous layer of cream cheese icing on the top of the red velvet cake layer. Remove springform ring. Warm the bottom of the pan on a low burner for 30 seconds, just long enough to melt the butter that was used to grease the pan. Now, slide a metal spatula between the bottom of the pan and the cheesecake (releasing the vacuum), then lift and slide the cake onto the red velvet/cream cheese iced layer. Top cheesecake with another generous layer of icing.

Finish the layers with the remaining red velvet circle. Now, ice the entire cake with the cream cheese icing. (Although my three layer were all the same size, they didn't appear to be. The cheesecake layer seemed bigger. I used a lot of icing around the outside to even it up.

At The Cheesecake Factory, their red velvet cake cheesecake was heavily coated with a layer of white chocolate shavings all around the outside edge.  I don't care for white's too sweet for me, but I did want it decorated.  So, with the remaining cream cheese icing, I decided to decorate the cake with some red icing swirly designs. To do this, I added 2 containers of red Wilton cake decorating gel and about 1/3 cup of cocoa powder. The cocoa powder gave it a chocolate flavor - just like red velvet cake - plus made the red a deeper, richer color that also matched the cake.

Refrigerate cake cheesecake overnight for best flavor. In fact, after three days, I think the cheesecake is even better! I can't make one again for a long time because I've eaten way too much of it myself.

I'm not saying that I could charge $8-$9 per piece like The Cheesecake Factory is able to do, but I will say that this dessert is worth a whole lot because of the time involved in making it - plus the abundance of ingredients.  It would even be more so that way with a homemade red velvet cake recipe.   It's safe to say that this dessert makes a perfect and extra-special holiday or birthday dessert.

My next one to try? Either German Chocolate Cake Cheesecake OR Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake!

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Wa Wa Waughs said...

Ohhhhh! Wow! I've never been a red velvet fan, but I think I would definitely like this!!!

Side note: I think maybe we ate at Junior's in NYC! Do they have a store there?

Lori said...

Yes, it is in NYC. Was it good or do you remember? This cheesecake is probably the best I've ever made and the cheesecake part (creamy/smooth) is just as good as Cheesecake Factory. I'm looking forward to using it in other recipes, such as my fav...turtle!

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