Friday, January 6, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

I've had a wonderful Christmas break, but Monday it's back to school for my final semester of my master's program. While I don't want to go back, I am ready for this semester to be finished. Fortunately I was able to do a lot of cooking and baking this break, especially for Christmas. My grandparents hosted Christmas dinner a couple weeks ago. My grandma made a delicious beef tenderloin roast that was meltingly tender, like butter. She asked me a couple of days before if I would like to make the dessert and of course I jumped at the chance. Last year we had red velvet cake and everyone loved it, so this year I decided to stick with that theme, but bump it up a notch and make a red velvet cheesecake cake.

I'd seen this idea online in a couple of places and it sounded like a winning combination. Bake a thin layer of cheesecake and sandwich it between two layers of moist and delicious red velvet cake. Frost with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and dig in. It just had to be good, and it was!

I used my favorite red velvet cake and frosting recipes from America's Test Kitchen, and the cheesecake came from 17 and Baking. Although this recipe did take two days and had several different steps, none of it was very difficult. Putting all of the components together the day of our Christmas party was so satisfying. The final product was gorgeous, and more importantly it was delicious. I was surprised to find that I hardly even noticed that the middle layer was cheesecake, it all just melded together seamlessly. Even my dad who says he doesn't like cream cheese or cheesecake loved this cake. So if you're looking for an impressive and delicious dessert for any special occasion, give this idea a try.

The cocoa and food coloring paste

The ingredients all set to go

Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy

Add in the flour mixture, and then the 
food coloring paste

Pour into two round cake pans

And bake

Let cool on a wire rack

Meanwhile, whip together the frosting
(my favorite part!)

Ready to assemble

Start with a layer of cake

Place cheesecake on top
(I froze it for a couple of hours so it would be
easy to work with)

The cheesecake was a little bigger than then 
cake so I had to trim off the excess

Then place the final layer of cake on top

Cover the whole cake with a crumb 
coat of frosting

And then frost it up

Dig in!
(not the most beautiful photo, but I 
just wanted to take a bite;
trust me, you don't need a big slice of this!)

Red Velvet Cake
From: America's Test Kitchen
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda 
  • Pinch salt 
  • 1 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons natural cocoa powder 
  • 2 tablespoons (one 1-ounce bottle) red food coloring 
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar 
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar 
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces, softened 
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • Pinch salt 
FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Mix cocoa with food coloring in small bowl until a smooth paste forms.

With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as necessary. Add one-third of flour mixture and beat on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add half of buttermilk mixture and beat on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl as necessary and repeat with half of remaining flour mixture, remaining buttermilk mixture, and finally remaining flour mixture. Scrape down bowl, add cocoa mixture, and beat on medium speed until completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Using rubber spatula, give batter final stir. Scrape into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes then turn out onto rack to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.

FOR THE FROSTING: With electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

From: 17 and Baking
  • 20 oz full fat cream cheese, at room temperature 
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (5 1/4 oz) 
  • Zest of half a lemon 
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature 
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour 
Grease a 9″ springform pan, and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, and set the pan into a larger pan (for the waterbath.)

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon and beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, making sure they are combined but not overmixing. Add the sour cream. Stir in flour and gently mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan halfway up the cheesecake. The aluminum foil should protect the cheesecake from seeping water. Bake until the cheesecake is just set in the middle, about 40 minutes at 325 degrees. Run a knife around the sides and let the cheesecake cool completely. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.


  1. my grandma's red velvet cake was the birthday cake I requested every year growing up. I love the idea of adding the cheesecake layer. Yours turned out beautifully!

  2. What a wonderful food memory. I'll bet that in your mind nothing will ever beat your grandma's red velvet cake, but this might come in a close second! :)

  3. My mouth dropped open when I saw this one. I'm speechless with delight. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you came by and linked up your cake.

  4. I saw your cake on Lisa's sweets link party and just had to check it out! This looks amazing and I can't wait to try it soon! Yum!

  5. I made this for a potluck at church. And was told by a fellow church member that this was the best cake he had EVER eaten! I can't disagree...