Since the holidays have come and gone, I have been in love with red velvet. It’s been running through my head all day-everyday. Red velvet cookies, red velvet cupcakes, red velvet brownies. It never stops. The thing is, once I taste a little bit of red velvet, I need another taste. It’s that bad.
When mom mentioned Red Velvet Cheesecake, I was pretty scared I wasn’t going to like it since I’m not crazy for cheesecake, but I was also willing to try it. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. Red velvet cake layered with cheesecake and lots of cream cheese icing? Count me in.
Red Velvet Cake
For the red velvet cake, we just used a normal cake mix, but we spruced it up using real butter, milk instead of water, and an extra egg. Easy and delicious, right? We baked both the cake and the cheesecake in a springform pan so they would be the same size in the end.
If you’d like a from-scratch red velvet cake, click here.
How do you cook a cheesecake in a water bath?
To make a nice cheesecake, you want to bake it in a hot water bath. Since this is my first time I’ve ever baked a cake in a hot water bath, I’ll explain how we did it. It wasn’t as complicated as I thought, it’s just a little intimidating when the directions of the recipe are longer than usual.
Alright, here we go:
Wrap the outside sides and edges of a springform pan with aluminum foil twice. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan. Place the springform pan into a larger rectangle or circle pan. Pour some boiling water into the empty pan so that it surrounds the springform pan and covers the pan about halfway up the sides. Bake your cake at 350 degrees until the sides are firm but the middle still jiggles a little bit, which is usually about 45 to 55 minutes. See? Nothing to it. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and try it. I’m telling you, our cheesecake ended up nice and smooth, baking it in a nice, warm bath.
Cream Cheese Frosting
The frosting on top will bring the whole red velvet cheesecake together. It’s a traditional cream cheese frosting that we use on everything from snack cakes to 2 layer cakes to even cinnamon rolls.
The key to making this frosting is to have the cream cheese and butter at room temperature. This will help the frosting be smooth and creamy.
How to Store Cheesecake
You will store this cake in the refrigerator because of the cheesecake center. If you completely cover the outside of the cake with frosting, the frosting will seal the cake to keep it fresh. You won’t need to cover the cake until you’ve cut it.
How to Decorate Red Velvet Cake
Give this red velvet cheesecake a classy look with chopped pecans and cake crumbles on top.
This cheesecake is best made a day in advance. Although it didn’t last long at our house, we found it tasted better the longer it sat in the fridge! You’ve gotta love a dessert like that!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the dry cake mix, eggs, butter and milk. Mix on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Spray two 10 1/4" cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and then flour the pans. (If your cake pans are not the same size as your springform pan, you can use the springform pan to bake your cake layers so the layers come out to be the same size). Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the from the pans and turn them onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you'd like to top your cheesecake with red velvet cake crumbles as I did, you can cut just the very top of the cake off (the part that has domed slightly). You won't need very much cut off and no one will know the difference!
Once they cool completely, you can wrap the layers in plastic wrap and freeze them so the cake is easy to assemble and ice. This is optional, but something we like to do!
For the Cheesecake:
In a stand mixer bowl using the beater blade, beat together the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until completely smooth, which will be about 3 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or so after each egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly mixed.
Spray a 10 1/4" springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap the sides and bottom of the pan in two layers of aluminum foil. Pour the batter into the springform pan. Place the springform pan into a larger pan. Boil 1-2 quarters of water. Pour the boiling water into the larger pan until the water comes about halfway up the side of the foil covered springform pan.
Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for about 45-55 minutes. The edges should be set, but the middle will still jiggle a bit. Turn the oven off, but leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed for 1 hour.
When the cheesecake is done baking, remove the cheesecake from the water bath and place the springform pan on a cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Then put the cheesecake in the refrigerator and allow it to chill for at least 4-6 hours.
Assemble the Cake:
After the cheesecake has cooled, assemble the cake. Place a red velvet cake layer on a plate. If you'd like, level the cakes with a large serrated knife. We didn't feel this was necessary, since our layers were fairly even. Then place the cheesecake layer on top of the cake. Top the cheesecake with the second cake layer.
For the Frosting:
Using an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar, ½ a cup at at time, until it is thoroughly mixed. Add the vanilla and beat the frosting on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, cover the sides and top of the cake in frosting. Top with pecans if desired.
Refrigerate the cake overnight, then store the cake in the refrigerator.
If your pans are bigger or smaller than 10 1/4", you will need to adjust the baking times. The hot water bath is not necessary, but makes a nice cheesecake with no cracks.This recipe takes a long time because of refrigeration and baking, but is not a lot of hands on time. I like that you can make the layers ahead of time, and put the cake together later. It's nice for when you need a dessert that can be made a day or two in advance!