You know I'm always up for a good story. And I don't mean to discourage you right off the bat, but this recipe isn't for baking haters. I made this cake one year for Joel's birthday in March, but I thought it would be appropriate to share for Valentine's Day!
It took me 2 days to make! Now I must also let you know, #1 I had never made a cheesecake (and there are much simpler ways by today's fun kitchen tools), and #2 I had never exactly made a red velvet cake from scratch. So this was a feat for me. This was when I first really started into scratch made desserts and food. I've always loved to cook and bake, but scratch-made was certainly a new kind of awesome for me. I hope you love this delicious and delectable sweet treat.
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs (cream and all – it’ll disappear when you crush them up!)
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
pinch of salt
3/4 cups heavy cream
10 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used half semisweet and half bittersweet chocolate chips)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
1 ounce red food coloring
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Decorative Toppings (optional):
2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
white chocolate for drizzling
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom and the sides of an 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easier to lift the cake out of the pan when it’s done. Cream shortening, sugar, and eggs. Make a paste of the cocoa and coloring and add to the shortening mixture. Add salt and vanilla. Add buttermilk alternately with the flour, beginning and ending with flour. Mix vinegar and soda right before using and add to mixture by folding in. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely, cover in wax paper, and freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.
Make the cheesecake: To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides).
Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Pour 1 – 1.5 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust. Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended. Beat in the flour. Add in the vanilla and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.
Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust. Place the springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set (it’ll sink as it cools).
Assemble topping: Whip room temperature ganache to create a fluffy texture perfect for piping. In a separate bowl, mix together cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar to make a small amount of cream cheese frosting for decorating.
Assemble the cheesecake: Wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the springform. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Here, you can schmear some ganache on the cheesecake to help the red velvet cake adhere. I didn’t, but it’s a good idea. Then place your red velvet cake layer on top of cheesecake (right side up). If for some reason you seem that your cake layer will stick up beyond your crust, you can use a long serrated knife to reduce its width (freezing it first makes it easier to cut). Decorate top of cake with drizzled white chocolate, piped cream cheese frosting, whipped ganache, and strawberries.
Recipe Courtesy of: Willow Bird Baking