Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mrs. McCartney's Red Velvet Cheesecake

One afternoon, I was chatting with a few of the kindergarten teachers at Em's school and we got on the topic of Red Velvet.  She mentioned that her cousin makes an awesome Red Velvet Cheesecake. I asked her to track down the recipe, and she did!  It was so yummy and beautiful!  This cheesecake would be a great addition to a Christmas dessert table, and you could make it a day or two ahead.  You will also need a 9" springform pan to make this fabulous dessert. Here is the recipe with a few minor adjustments and a couple tips:

For the crust: 
1-1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 Tablespoons sugar

For the cheesecake:
3 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, gently beaten
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa*
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 (1 oz bottles of red food coloring) *

For the icing: 
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Crust:  Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and the sugar. Use a glass to press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9" springform pan. Set aside.

For the Cheesecake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat the 3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese and 1-1/2 cups of sugar with a mixer on medium-low for 1 minute. Add eggs and remaining ingredients on low until combined. Pour into crust.

Bake at 325 for 10 minutes, then REDUCE the temperature to 300 degrees, and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until center is firm. Run knife along outer edge of cheesecake. Turn oven off. Put cheesecake back in the oven and let it sit in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Icing: Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth,  gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cooled cheesecake. Remove sides of pan and serve.

*Callie's Notes:  I used 2 Tablespoons of regular unsweetened cocoa, and 1 Tablespoon of the Hershey's Dark unsweetened cocoa.  I am pretty sure you can use whatever cocoa you have, but I wanted to amp the chocolate favor a bit.

The BEST place I have found to buy red food coloring is Smart and Final.  I bought this 16 ounce bottle for around $4!  That is what you would normally pay for one teeny bottle at the grocery store.  For this recipe, you need 2 ounces, which equals 1/4 of a cup of the coloring.  It looks like this:
Happy Baking!