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What Is Red Velvet Cheesecake?

By Megan Shoop
Updated May 17, 2024
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Red velvet cheesecake may be one of two things: a cheesecake flavored with traditional red velvet cake ingredients, or a layer cake with alternating layers of cheesecake and traditional red velvet cake. Which version the cook chooses is largely dependent on how decadent he or she wants the recipe to be. The layered combination is usually richer and denser than the cheesecake alone because the slices in the layered version are usually larger and it is a combination of two desserts. Bakers may also play with cheesecake flavors, crust types, and frostings to create a red velvet cheesecake that fits their tastes perfectly.

Those who are interested in creating a red velvet cheesecake with no actual cake in it should typically research the flavors that go into a traditional red velvet cake. Vinegar, buttermilk, and cocoa are all ingredients that should be incorporated into an ordinary cheesecake recipe. Red food coloring is also usually added to give the cheesecake the typical red velvet look. Most modern red velvet cakes also contain red food coloring, though the original recipes got their coloring from oxidized chocolate. It may be difficult to find such chocolate, so having the coloring on hand is typically a good idea.

The crust is another thing to consider when making a red velvet cheesecake. Some cooks enjoy using a traditional graham cracker crust, but people who want an extra shot of chocolate can opt for a chocolate cookie crust instead. This may also give the cheesecake more visual appeal as a smooth, ruby red cheesecake on top of a black cookie crust often makes a beautiful centerpiece. Once baked, the red velvet cheesecake may be coated with a light layer of cheesecake frosting. This may add too much richness for some cooks, however, so the frosting is optional.

Whether or not frosting is added, many people enjoy decorating red velvet cheesecake with mint leaves and berries. Raspberries, strawberry slices, cherry halves, or even cranberry puree are all good choices. Many people find a little fruit and mint very refreshing with the sweetness of the cheesecake itself.

Another way to assemble red velvet cheesecake involves making a plain cheesecake and freezing it. While the cheesecake chills, the baker typically makes one or two layers of traditional red velvet cake. After the cake has cooled, the cook usually stacks the cake and frozen cheesecake together, frosting them with either cream cheese or vanilla icing. Many people top this very rich dessert with a light drizzle of white chocolate ganache or white chocolate shavings.

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