Red Velvet Cheesecake

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When I was having dinner (and a wonderful time) with my oldest son, Andrew, a couple of weeks ago in St. Louis, we were discussing where to have dinner the following night…(see a familial pattern?)…and Andrew started talking about an amazing cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory he had had the other day, which was their Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake. As he was carrying on describing the intricacies and anatomy of a slice of it, I quickly realized that unbeknownst to him, this was the very same cheesecake that my daughter, AmyRae, was raving to me about just a couple of months earlier. Now Cheesecake Factory has a zillion different flavors of cheesecake, so for them both to be singling out this particular one, was my first clue that there was somethin’ goin’ on here. It so happened that Amy would also be in town and joining us for dinner that next night in question, so… guess where we went? That’s right. The Cheesecake Factory. So that night, the three of us unashamedly rushed through our wonderful entrees so we could get to what really mattered…dessert. When that Red Velvet Cheesecake came out, it was everything they said it would be and more. They were absolutely right…it was fabulous. Insanely divine. And that’s when it happened. The silent challenge. I would have predicted a verbal taunting coming, but I didn’t expect this. Nope…not one customary, “I bet you can’t make this!” or even a “Don’t even think about it, Mom. You could never...”  They think I don’t know, but I am not one to disregard being on the receiving end of “the looks” when I get them either. You know, the sympathetic and understanding compassionate kind of look that says…  “It’s okay, Mom, we don’t expect you to be able to make this one. It’s a lot bigger than who you are, so no worries… we won’t even go there“.  What they don’t know is… I’m on to them.

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I have to apologize because I started to show you step by step pictures, but then when it came to assembling the whole thing, I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to take any shots! So I’ll give you what I have….

Slice off the dome of the red velvet cake, saving the domed part for fill-ins during assembly if need be. Make sure to get the edges even with the rest of the top or you’ll end up with “wings” like I did, as you can see in the picture above (sigh).

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Slice the cake in half horizontally. Using toothpicks as your guide helps make it easier…

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Bake your cheesecake batter split between two 9-inch springform pans…

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And that’s where I left off! But assembly is fun and a snap and all in the following recipe…

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RED VELVET CHEESECAKE

The first step in creating the striking Red Velvet Cheesecake is to make the plain New York Style Cheesecake Recipe, but just the batter (no crust) (recipe follows) and split between two pans. Then chill it completely before assembling.

Cheesecake Filling:

4 packages (8 ounce each) cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 Tbsp vanilla

2 large eggs

2 egg whites

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pan of hot water in bottom of oven.

Prepare 2 9-inch springform pans with foil and butter or spray inside of pan.

In a mixing bowl on medium speed, beat cream cheese until smooth ~ about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides.

Add sugar and cornstarch and beat again, scraping a few times. The mixture should be smooth.

Add vanilla, eggs and egg whites 2 at a time. Beat until creamy.

Slowly add the cream and beat only enough so there are no lumps and the filling is nice and fluffy. Scrape as needed.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. (I cooked mine at 325 degrees on convection and it was done in about 25 minutes, so watch carefully! ~Julie)

They will firm up during cooling. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Red Velvet Cake Recipe

The second step in making The Cheesecake Factory’s Red Velvet Cheesecake is making the cake layers. Mix one batch of Red Velvet Cake Recipe batter (recipe follows) according to directions.

Red Velvet Cake 

3/4 cup buttermilk

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons dark Dutch process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon red food coloring, or 1/8 teaspoon of Wilton red gel cake color

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or butter one 9-inch round cake pan.

In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk and vanilla, and set aside.

Blend flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together in another bowl, and set aside.

Cream the sugar and oil together on medium – high speed in a large bowl fitted with a whisk attachment. Add one egg at a time and whisk. Add vinegar and food coloring or gel, and beat the batter well.

With mixer on low – medium speed, add half the flour and cocoa mixture to the batter, alternating with the buttermilk, and scraping as needed between additions. Mix until batter is nice and smooth with no lumps.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean. Cool cake layer 10-15 minutes before loosening, then remove from the pan, cool completely and chill for a few hours. Carefully slice through the red velvet cake layer horizontally, making sure to cut into two evenly sized layers. Freeze cake layers for at least four hours or overnight. Meanwhile, make the buttercream frosting and cover unrefrigerated until ready to use.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe  (I made buttercream specifically for Andrew’s benefit, but you can use a cream cheese frosting as well, which is what TCF does. ~Julie)

1/2 pound solid shortening (1 cup)

1/2 pound butter, room temperature (1 cup or 2 sticks)

4 Tablespoons marshmallow creme

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (powdered sugar)

2 Tablespoon water as needed

Cream shortening, butter and marshmallow fluff together using a high speed mixer fitted with a beater attachment. Add vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy.

Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating after each addition until smooth.

Add water a little at a time until the frosting is of spreading consistency. Add more water if necessary. Frosting should be totally smooth with no lumps.

Assembling the Red Velvet Cheesecake

Carefully remove chilled NY Style Cheesecake layers from springform pans. Place one Red Velvet Cake layer on a pretty serving plate, and spread with a very small dab of frosting for the “glue”. Top with one cheesecake layer, and another dab of frosting. Repeat with remaining Red Velvet Cake layer, frosting, then top with the last cheesecake layer. Chill the cake while getting the frosting ready.

Place 1 cup of Buttercream Frosting in a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Frost the Red Velvet Cheesecake with an offset spatula, smoothing top and sides, being careful not to rip the cake up resulting in crumbs in the frosting. Using the filled pastry bag, pipe a border of frosting all around the edge of the cake top. If desired, pipe 12-16 equally spaced rosettes on top.

Chill Red Velvet Cheesecake until time to plate and serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Yields 12-16 slices.

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