For the Love of Red Velvet!

Red Velvet. It seems a lot of people go crazy for those two words. My mom being one of them. Mom has always hated chocolate cake, despised it! But, she loves red velvet....? Weird! Really though, red velvet is unlike any other chocolate cake. It's actually a devil's food cake, just with a mild chocolate flavor. Red Velvet cake is very rich, and so moist it almost melts in your mouth, plus who doesn't love that striking red color?

So, Mom's favorite cake is red velvet, but it's her birthday and I don't want to make just any old cake. I want to make a CHEESEcake. A RED VELVET cheesecake. YUMM. This is a genius idea! Remember how I said red velvet cake is so moist it almost melts in your mouth? Well, this cheesecake is definitely no exception! It's sooo creamy and moist, the most moist cheesecake I've ever had. I topped it with a not-too-sweet mascarpone frosting. I wanted something different from the traditional cream cheese frosting, but still as good.

I planned on bringing this cheesecake to Mom's house to give to her, which means there would have to be some for my sisters to share. Except that both of my sisters hate cheesecake. Wait... WHAT?!?! HATE cheesecake!? I'm not sure if we're really even related now. To be sure that my sisters had something sweet to enjoy I made some red velvet cupcakes with buttercream frosting instead of cream cheese (one sister hates cream cheese, period). I injected them twice, some three times, with the frosting. I was also going to make them purty with big frosting swirls, but I started to run out, plus my makeshift pastry bags kept ripping.:(

I must admit that I loved the cupcakes a lot more than the cheesecake. Although the cheesecake was really good with a nice creamy texture, to me the red velvet flavor really didn't compare with the cake. It didn't really scream 'Red velvet!'. The cupcakes on the other hand were delicious! So moist, and velvety. The perfect flavor you'd expect from something named red velvet. And it didn't even matter that I started running out of frosting cause I actually liked them better without it!


Red Velvet CheeseCake-
Recipe from The Recipe Girl
Printable Recipe
makes 1 9-inch cheesecake

1 recipe Chocolate Cookie Crust (below)
3 - 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 - 1-ounce bottles red food coloring, or I used ½ oz. red gel coloring.
Mascarpone frosting (below)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare water bath: Fill a large roasting pan, big enough for springform pan to fit into, with about 1 inch of water. Place in oven and allow to preheat along with the oven.

Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add eggs and remaining ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

Take out two sheets of heavy duty foil and layer them on top of one another. Place springform pan on top of the foil and wrap the foil gently around the pan and up the sides. Make sure that there are no tears or holes and that the foil comes all the way up around all sides of the cake. Carefully place the foil-protected pan into the water bath in the preheated oven.

Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°F. Bake for an additional 75 minutes or until the center is firm. Turn the oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven for 30 minutes. Carefully remove cheesecake from water bath and place on wire rack. Run a thin knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Cool on rack for a couple of hours, until the cheesecake becomes close to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Remove sides of springform pan, top with mascarpone frosting (recipe below) and serve.

Chocolate Cookie Crust-

1½ C. finely crushed chocolate cookies (with or without filling. filling just adds to the sweetness of the crust)
¼ C. melted butter

Combine crushed cookies with melted butter. Press into bottom of 9-inch spring-form pan.


Red Velvet Cupcakes-
Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen Christmas
Printable Recipe
makes 24 cupcakes

2 ounces red food coloring (I used ½ oz. red gel)
3 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners and grease the top side of the pan.

In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and food coloring with a fork, mashing and mixing until it forms a paste. Set aside.

In a another bowl, sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside. Stir the vanilla into the buttermilk; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs, scraping the bowl as needed, fully mixing in each egg. Reduce the speed to low, and add the cocoa paste. Increase to medium speed and beat the batter for about 4 minutes.

Add in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in increments, alternating between each addition, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined. Add the vinegar and sour cream and beat at low speed until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each one about 3/4 full. Bake 17-22 minutes, only until the cupcakes feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake, as the cupcakes will dry out easily.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pans for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from pan to wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.(frosting recipe below)


Mascarpone Frosting-
Recipe from Martha Stewart
makes about 2 cups

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy).

In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

Buttercream Frosting-
Recipe from All Recipes
makes about 7 cups

2 cups shortening
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening until fluffy. Add sugar, and continue creaming until well blended. Add salt, vanilla, and 6 ounces whipping cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add additional 2 ounces whipping cream if necessary. Beat at high speed until frosting is fluffy.

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