Tag Archives: cheesecake

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

27 Jul

One night my husband and I were watching MasterChef, and the challenge was for the contestants to bake 6-layer cakes. Those cakes looked so scrumptious that my husband instantly got the idea that I should bake him a similarly extravagant cake for his upcoming birthday. *Gulp* Yes I love to bake (especially for special occasions like birthdays), but the only layer cakes I’ve ever made paled in comparison to MasterChef standards.

Yet I was up to the challenge. I spent days scouring over recipes for layer cakes. I showed him some of my final picks, but nothing was piquing his interest. That is, until I found this recipe for a red velvet cheesecake layer cake. We immediately knew this was “the one.” A layer of silky white chocolate cheesecake, sandwiched between layers of red velvet cake, all enveloped by a nice thick layer of cream cheesecake frosting? What’s not to crave?!


So I embarked on the somewhat daunting task of baking this cake on Sunday in preparation for his birthday on Monday. It really is a two-day task, since the cheesecake has to chill overnight. It was most certainly the most involved dessert I’ve ever made, but nothing so challenging that your average home cook couldn’t pull it off and impress everyone 🙂

I’ll get to the recipe and my process in a minute, but let me spoil the story for you: It tasted freaking amazing!! The cake was simply decadent. Each of the individual components (e.g. red velvet cakes, cheesecake, frosting) tasted wonderful on their own (I know from all of my “taste testing” along the way), but when you put them all together, you get an entirely new experience.


The Cheesecake Factory
‘s got nothin’ on me 🙂


So here’s how I did it: On Sunday I baked the cheesecake in a 9 inch springform pan. I also baked two red velvet cakes, both in 9 inch cake pans. Side note: When they came out of the oven, I was disappointed because they looked more like mauve velvet cakes than red velvet cakes. But as you can see, they became redder over time (or something).

After the cheesecake cooled, I removed the outer ring of the pan and stuck it in the fridge. When the red velvet cakes had cooled, I leveled them. For lack of a fancy leveling tool, I just used a long knife and it worked fine. The tops had rounded quite a bit in the oven, so I felt like almost 1/4 of each cake came off before I wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them in the frigde too. But that was OK! Because that meant that my husband and I got to eat the scraps 🙂

The next day, after work, I assembled the cake. The first step was to simply stack them. Although all three components were baked in 9 inch pans, the cheesecake layer was sticking out a little bit. So I just chopped off the excess (more scraps!). It looked like this:


I put the cake in the fridge as I made the frosting, which was simple as could be. The cake then got a crumb coat. This was my first time using this technique, and let me tell ya, it makes all the difference! I put a smaller amount of frosting in a separate bowl from the rest of the frosting so I could add the first layer of frosting to the crumby cake, without getting those red crumbs in the rest of my white frosting. It looked like this:


I let the cake with the crumb coat sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes so the frosting could harden a bit. While I was waiting, I made some white chocolate curls from an extra white chocolate bar I had. I didn’t use any fancy techniques…the warmth from my hands softened the chocolate just enough to make curls with the vegetable peeler. The curls went on parchment paper and joined the cake in the fridge to harden.

When the crumb-coated cake was ready, it was the perfect canvas for the rest of the frosting. Thanks to the crumb coat, I could frost the rest of the cake with no fear of crumbs ruining the look! The recipe made A LOT of frosting, so, not wanting it to go to waste, I plopped it all on the cake and smoothed it out the best I could.  Admittedly, it became so rounded at the top that I don’t know why I bothered to level it 🙂 It looked like this:


Then it was time for some decoration. I just sifted a little cocoa powder over the top and then added the white chocolate curls. It looked like this:


So back in the fridge the cake went  while my husband and I went to dinner. The waiter asked us if we wanted dessert. We politely declined and told him about the dessert we had waiting for us at home. I think he wanted to come over to have some, and who could blame him? 🙂


So all-in-all, I think my first foray into layer cakes was a success. As long as you have some time to spare, it’s really not all that bad! And what better way is there to show your appreciation for a loved one on a  special occasion? After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake Layer Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

For the Red Velvet Cakes-

Ingredients:

  •  2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  •  2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  •  1/2 tsp red gel-paste food color
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp distilled white vinegar

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
  • With an electric mixer on med-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix in food color and vanilla.
  • Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisk well after each.
  • Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam), add mixture to the batter and mix on medium speed for 10 seconds.
  • Butter the bottom of two 9-inch pans, and line with parchment paper. Divide the batter equally between the two pans.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Transfer pans to a wire rack. Allow to cool before removing the cake from the pan. Use a knife to level the cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if assembling the next day.

For the White Chocolate Cheesecake-

Ingredients:

  •  2 oz white chocolate, chopped
  • 16 oz cream cheese (2 packages), at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream

Preparation:

  •  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Melt the white chocolate per package directions and set aside to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, using an electronic mixer, mix the cream cheese on low speed until creamy. Add the sugar and mix slowly until smooth. On low speed, mix in the flour. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater with a rubber spatula. Add one egg at a time and mix until smooth. Scrape down again. Mix in the vanilla and cream until the mixture is smooth. Using a large spoon, stir in the melted white chocolate until incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into a parchment paper lined 9 inch spring form pan.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the center is set when you shake the pan slightly.
  • Allow to cool before removing outer ring of springform pan. Refrigerate overnight.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting-

Ingredients:

  • 24 oz cream cheese (3 packages), at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups butter (3 sticks), at room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  • Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again.

To Assemble-

  • Remove parchment paper from red velvet cakes, and place the bottom layer on a cake stand. Remove cheesecake from the refrigerator and remove parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the bottom layer of the red velvet cake. If the cheesecake is wider than the cake, trim it with a knife. Place the top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake, and coat with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting to act as a crumb coat. To avoid getting red velvet crumbs in the big bowl of frosting to be used later, add a smaller amount to another bowl and frost the crumb coat from there. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes. As you wait, use a vegetable peeler over parchment paper to make white chocolate curls, and then refrigerate. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and coat with as much frosting as you like. To decorate, sift cocoa powder over the top of the cake and sprinkle the white chocolate curls over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sources-

Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars

19 Mar

As a rule, I love cheesecake…in small doses. It’s delicious, but so dense and rich that I have trouble getting through a whole slice by myself. Also, it’s usually very labor intensive. One time I made an “Almost Famous Pumpkin Cheesecake” from a copycat recipe of this delectable dessert at The Cheesecake Factory. It came out great! Just like the real thing! BUT not until after the long, complicated process involving almost three hours of baking time and EIGHT hours of cooling time! That is much too long to wait to taste the fruits of my labor.

Then along came Nutella Cheesecake Layer Bars. They solve both of my usual problems with cheesecake: 1) they are cut into small, perfect squares with just the right balance of cheesecake, chocolate graham crackers, and nutella, and 2) they are incredibly easy to make, with baking time only around 45 minutes and cooling time 3 hours.  OK, so it’s still hard to wait three hours, but they are totally worth it!

The layers: nutella cheesecake, vanilla cheesecake, and chocolate graham cracker crust

You may have seen this recipe by the Moonlight Baker featured on Foodpress recently. I saw it and immediately wanted to give it a try. My husband says he doesn’t like nutella, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to change his mind. Indeed, the nutella flavor is actually quite subtle. I waited until after he took a bite and said “Oh my GOD…these are good” to tell him that they were made of nutella. Hehe, that was sneaky. But I love changing minds about ingredients through good cooking and baking!

Spread very carefeully to get close-to-perfect layers...if you care about that sort of thing, that is

Nutella Cheesecake  Layer Bars (slightly adapted from recipe by The Moonlight Baker)

Ingredients:

  • 8 Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • ½ Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 16 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup + 1 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ cup Nutella

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Butter an 9 x 9 baking pan and line with parchment paper, making sure that the parchment is well pressed in the corners.  Set aside.
  • In a food processor, pulse chocolate graham crackers until they become crumbs (like bread crumbs).  Add in melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar, and pulse until moistened.  Press graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Bake crust in the center of the oven until set, about 12 minutes.  Set aside and cool.
  • Clean out the food processor.  Add cream cheese, eggs, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup heavy cream, and vanilla extract.  Pulse until smooth.  Put 2/3 of the cream cheese mixture in a bowl and set aside.  Add Nutella and 1 Tbsp. of heavy cream to remaining 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture in the processor.  Pulse until smooth.
  • To assemble, spread the vanilla cheesecake mixture over the cooled graham cracker base, being careful not to disturb the crust.  Pour Nutella cheesecake layer on top of vanilla layer and spread evenly.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center jiggles slightly.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • When ready to serve, lift bars out of the pan by lifting up the parchment paper (it should release easily).  Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Makes 16 bars.

Gotta love hand-held cheesecake!