I’m always interested when someone wants to write a post for my blog. A lot of times, it falls through, so I end up posting their recipe with my pictures and giving them a little shoutout. Leave it to my sister to come through, right? 🙂
Lauren made this amazing red velvet cheesecake at Christmas time, but I thought it would be a fantastic option for Valentine’s Day celebrations, especially if you use her decorating tips!
So, without further ado, I’ll turn it over to my sissy!
Hi everyone! My name is Lauren and I am lucky enough to be one of Amy’s sisters. We come from a family where food has always been important – cooking it, serving it and enjoying it. Our Mom was always famous for her baking which is where we learned it all. I entered a dessert contest where I work over the holidays and it was being judged on taste and presentation. I work for a large company, so I knew I needed to come up with something fantastic. I found a recipe for red velvet cheesecake – I know – AH-mazing. It is a combination of cream cheese and dark cocoa – The taste is all chocolate but you wouldn’t know it from the rich red color of the cake itself. For those of you freaking out about making a cheesecake – NO WORRIES! It was my first time making one, let alone red velvet, and I actually won second place! I even ended up making a second one for our family’s annual Christmas Eve get-together. It was a hit at work and a hit with the family – If I can do it…so can you.
This recipe came from Midwest Living – Don’t ask me, I’m from Connecticut – when I googled holiday recipes, it was the most intriguing one that came up!
A few ideas to keep in mind – I used Ghriardelli dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate, it gives it a richer taste and won’t be as sweet. In my opinion, it tasted better when mixed with the cream cheese mixture. Also, instead of chocolate wafer cookies I used chocolate graham crackers. As far as the food coloring goes – one ounce may not be enough, it wasn’t for me – I wanted to make sure the cake was a vibrant red – considering it was during the Holidays – this recipe would also be a fabulous one to make for Valentine’s day which is just around the corner! My boyfriend is already asking me where his is…..um, isn’t Valentine’s day supposed to be for the ladies!? Anyhoodle….
Click for the recipe and lots of photos!
Red Velvet Cheesecake
1 lb. milk chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 9-oz. pkg. chocolate wafer cookies (40 to 45 cookies)
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 8-oz. carton dairy sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1-oz. bottle red food coloring (2 Tbsp.)
2 egg yolks
Chocolate leaves (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
Fresh raspberries and/or small whole strawberries (optional)
Let’s get to it –
First take the pound of milk chocolate – if it’s not already in pieces, break it into inch-size pieces and melt with the stick of butter in a medium sauce pan. Take that mixture, put it into a bowl and set it off to the side – it will need to cool completely.
Then take the chocolate wafer cookies or chocolate grahams, whichever you prefer and throw them in your food processor, add to it the almonds and brown sugar. Obviously cover the thing, and whip it all up – once it’s finely ground, add the ½ cup of melted butter and whip it again. Transfer this mixture directly to your 10 inch springform pan (must have removable bottom).
Press the crumbs onto the bottom AND up the sides – be sure to leave about ½ inch of space at the top of the pan. Set the pan to the side with your chocolate/butter mixture that is cooling.
Now, for the filling – you will need a VERY large mixing bowl – there will be a lot of filling and you will need the extra room to blend. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, buttermilk, your cooled chocolate/butter mixture and the red food coloring – Beat all of these ingredients together. Add 4 eggs and 2 yolks all at once – continue to beat, on low speed now, just until combined.
Pour the filling into the crust-lined spring form pan – place the spring form pan in a shallow baking pan (a cookie sheet will do fine) and place all on the oven rack. Bake at 350 degrees (F) – The recipe called for an hour baking time but I found that an hour and 15 minutes did well – you should let it cook until about 2 inches of the outside edge appear set – Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes.
Take a small metal spatula or knife and loosen the sides of the cake from the pan – DO NOT REMOVE THE SIDES OF THE PAN YET!!!!! – cool the cake for ANOTHER 30 minutes – NOW, remove the sides of the pan – cool for an hour – cover the cake and chill for at least four hours – I found overnight worked better.
You may have noticed the optional items at the bottom of the ingredient list – you can take a paper doily and sift powdered sugar over it to make a snowflake effect, or you could cut out a heart or hearts from construction paper and do the same for Valentine’s Day – you can also decorate with fresh fruit, nuts, crushed peppermint or chocolate candies. As you can see from the photos – I opted for shredded coconut as snow – I made the Christmas trees with homemade buttercream frosting using a pastry bag and various tips. Get creative!!