The ultimate Valentine’s Day dessert. Creamy New York style cheesecake sandwiched between rich, red velvet cake bathed in sweet cream cheese frosting.
Red Velvet Cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature – plus more for cake pans¹
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1-ounce bottle red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 ½ cup all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 cup full fat buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
Crustless New York Cheesecake
- 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- small amount of butter to grease the pan
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, cold
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened but still cool
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
Optional Chocolate Ganache Drip
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- red and/or pink food gel colors
Red Velvet Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
- In a standing mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium speed for 20 seconds after each addition. Incorporate the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and red food coloring until a thick liquid forms. Blend into the butter, sugar, and eggs.
- Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mixing well. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. Mix in the vinegar before repeating with remaining ingredients. Mix on medium speed for 1 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
New York Cheesecake
- Grease the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Pre heat the oven to 350°F. Set aside an additional pan for a water bath.
- In a large bowl, beat 1 package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and all the cornstarch on low speed until combined – about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the next package of cream cheese. Beat on medium-low until smooth and creamy, scrape down the sides and repeat until all the cream cheese is incorporated.
- On medium speed, add the remaining sugar and vanilla extract. Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and beat for 30 to 45 seconds on medium speed until mixture appears light and airy, but don’t over mix.
- Pour batter in the spring form pan over the parchment paper liner. Place the spring form pan in a shallow pan and fill the outside pan half way up the springform pan with hot water. Bake the cheesecake until golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the center just barely giggles and the outside springs to the touch.
- Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and transfer to a wire rack to cool (still in the springform pan). Once cool completely, refrigerate overnight in the springform pan.
- To remove from the pan, run a hot knife along the outside. Carefully unlatch the springform pan and remove the sides. Don’t forget to peel off the parchment paper while building the cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat the butter until pale yellow on medium speed. Add one package of cream cheese and beat on medium speed for 1 full minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl before adding the final package of cream cheese. Beat until mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Mix in the vanilla. Add in confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time, stopping the mixer to add it in and then gradually building up to medium speed until incorporated. Frosting will be thick, but not as stiff as a traditional buttercream frosting.
Assembling the Cake
- Trim the red velvet cake layers so they are even. Lightly spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the bottom tier of red velvet. This is more to keep the two layers together when serving the cake than for taste or aesthetics.
- Carefully layer the cheesecake on top of the bottom red velvet layer. Repeat the thin layer of cream cheese frosting followed by the final layer of red velvet cake. (Don’t forget to peel the parchment paper off the cheesecake!)
- Frost the cake using the remaining cream cheese frosting. If your red velvet cake is giving off a lot of crumbs as you frost, you can use a small amount of frosting for a thin ‘crumb coat,’ refrigerate, then finish with the remaining frosting. This will trap any red velvet crumbs in the crumb coat so they don’t appear in the final coat of frosting. You should have a small amount of frosting left for a few pipped garnished on top of the cake.
- Optional Chocolate Ganache Drip: Refrigerate the frosted cake while you prepare the ganache.
- Set aside chocolate in a heat proof bowl and bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 3-5 minutes. Stir until combined. Add in red or pink food color, or divide between two bowls for both colors.
- Let chocolate ganache cool for 10-15 minutes before dripping over the cake. The easiest way to do this is to transfer the ganache to a plastic piping bag and cut a small tip. Gently pour puddles of ganache near the edge, letting them cascade down the sides. Fill in the top of the cake with the remaining ganache. Top with your favorite sprinkles or serve as is.
¹My favorite for greasing and flouring cake pans is baking goop – equal parts vegetable oil, shortening and flour whisked together until smooth then brushed onto the pans.