Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Ah Valentine's Day. It's fair to say this is a holiday that is not really that important to either of us. However, it is one of the few days out of the year where the man is okay with going out for a nice dinner, so I jump all over that opportunity! To save some money and have an excuse to bake, this year I wanted to make a fancy dessert to enjoy at home, and nothing seemed more festive than red velvet.

Cheesecake has always intimidated me, but it turns out it is fairly simple. It is a bit time consuming, with the baking, cooling, chilling etc but I am proud to say that this turned out really well for me. This cheesecake is very rich, and a little piece goes a long way. Because there are so many other cheesecake flavors I want to try now, I'm not sure if I will make this again, but it's worth it at least once!

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Source: Annie's Eats, adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar

For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
2 (1 oz.) bottles red food coloring

For the topping:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. To make the crust, combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a small bowl. Mix together with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-low speed for 1 minute. Add eggs, unsweetened cocoa powder, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and food coloring. Mix on low speed just until fully combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the center is firm. Turn off the oven, prop the door open slightly, and let the cheesecake stand 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven; cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3o minutes. Run a thin knife around the outside edge of the cake to separate from the pan. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

To make the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Remove sides of springform. Garnish if desired.

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