It’s my birthday! Well, not actually today, but I’m counting May as my birthday month. If you combine it with Mother’s Day, I get to celebrate all month, right? I know my family would buy me a birthday cake if I wanted them to. . . . but I’m not wild about “store-bought” cake. In fact, I’m not a huge cake fan so if I like a cake it has to be special. This cake is special. It takes a little more time in the kitchen than some desserts, but I think it’s worth it for a special occasion (and what could be more special than MY birthday?!?)
I found the original recipe on http://www.food.com posted by Realtor by day, Chef by night. She has since revised it a few times and of course I’ve made a few changes. I usually make the cheesecake part ahead of time and stick it in the freezer until I’m ready to bake the cake. This cuts the preparation time down which helps a lot because this recipe is not a quick throw-together-and-serve recipe. This recipe is a LOT of cake. So make it when you have a big group or do what I do: I freeze individual slices for us to enjoy later. It freezes well and then you don’t get tired of it . . . like that’s possible.
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese until it is nice and smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for about two minutes. Add eggs and mix well after each egg, then mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Set aside while you prepare the baking pan. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a spring-form pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan and carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan, filling up the pan surrounding the cheesecake. There should be about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake the cheesecake for 55 minutes. Be very careful when you open the oven as there may be a burst of steam. Once you’ve cooled the cheesecake you can place the pan into the freezer and let it freeze completely. You can do this several hours ahead of time or even a few days ahead of time.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder – I use Hershey’s
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature Why? The eggs will disperse more evenly into the batter, making for even cooking and a lighter texture (because the eggs trap air). To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, soak them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes.
1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 cup – 1/2 stick of butter, softened (optional, but I like the taste and the moistness it adds)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round metal baking pans – I usually spray with nonstick spray and then shake the flour to cover. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Use an electric mixer on medium-low speed and beat for 1 minute until blended. Scrape sides and then beat on high-speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans and then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.
4 cups powdered sugar – I sift this to remove lumps
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 Tablespoon clear vanilla extract (I use regular if I don’t have clear, icing just isn’t as white!)
In a large bowl, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smoother and creamy. I add more powdered sugar if I want it a bit thicker – sometimes I use an electric mixer and sometimes I don’t.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer into the center of your cake plate. Remove your cheesecake from the freezer – make sure to remove all parchment paper when you take it out of the pan – and add to the first cake layer. Place the second layer on top of cheesecake. (sometimes I put frosting between the layers)
Frost the cake. I always frost the top of the cake first and just ease the frosting down the side of the cake. Keep this cake refrigerated. You can also freeze as-is. It thaws pretty quickly.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake