Saturday, June 22, 2013

Red Velvet Strawberry Cheesecake

This is Part II of my Red Velvet Cake post - the trial run for the birthday cake.  Because, you know, these things take practice after all, and I had a from-scratch recipe in my head for red velvet cake, but needed to be sure it would work in reality.  Having spent too many stressful hours trying to fix cake baking and decorating disasters at the last minute, I have resolved to do more preparation and practice in advance so that I know what to expect with every recipe.

The cake baked beautifully, and I was happy.  It was moist and tender, with a lovely soft texture and slightly tangyness from the buttermilk.  And with that gorgeous red color, it's hard not to be happy just looking at it.

With my practice cake finished and cooled, I debated frosting it, but decided against another buttercream-covered cake, so instead I thought it would be fantastic layered with cheesecake, especially since red velvet cake is usually paired with cream cheese frosting.

If you read my recent post for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake, then you might remember that I've recently made a few cheesecakes that don't require baking, which I love, since I'm not fond of baking cheesecakes.  So this is another version of that egg-less cheesecake filling, with a little gelatin to ensure it sets up.

After the cake had cooled, and I crumbled it up into a vivid pile of moist red crumbs, I made the cheesecake filling, simple, slightly sweet, with vanilla and fresh strawberries.  Then I layered the cake crumbs and the cheesecake filling in a spring-form pan and left it in the refrigerator to finish setting up before cutting a piece.

I love the beautiful, dramatic red and white layers, and the cake, already soft, absorbed more moisture from the cheesecake so every delicate bite was creamy and smooth.

One Year Ago:    Root Beer Chocolate Cake with Root Beer Float Ice Cream
Two Years AgoGrilled Peach and Veggie Skewers

Red Velvet Strawberry Cheesecake
printable recipe

Red Velvet Layers:
  • 1 Red Velvet Cake, baked and completely cooled - cake only, no frosting (Since you'll just be crumbling the cake, there's no need to bake it in 3 pans for a layer cake; I baked mine in a 9x13 pan, for about 30-35 minutes until done.)
Strawberry Cheesecake Filling:
  • 2 cups diced fresh strawberries (cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream, divided
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (increase as desired for a sweeter filling)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

Note: Instead of baking the cake in a 9x13 pan and crumbling it for the cake layers (like I did), you could also bake it in two 10-inch round pans, and then follow the instructions for assembly below, just using the whole cake layers instead of cake crumbs to layer between the cream cheese filling.  Either method will work, it's just a matter of if you prefer the cake layers to be crumbled or not.

Red Velvet Layers:
Working in batches, crumble the cake into crumbs in your food processor and transfer to a bowl.  The crumbs should be moist enough to hold together when you press them between your fingers.  Cover the bowl of crumbs with plastic wrap to keep them moist while you make the filling.

Strawberry Cheesecake Filling:
In a bowl, toss the strawberries with the granulated sugar.  Set aside to macerate (let the juices flow) for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small microwaveable bowl, combine 1/2 cup cream with the gelatin.  Let sit for 5 minutes, then microwave on high for 15-30 seconds to dissolve the gelatin.  Set aside.

Pour the remaining 1 cup cream, vanilla and powdered sugar into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whip for several minutes just until soft peaks form.  Add the cream cheese and whip for several more minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until very smooth and creamy (if you over-whip the cream and you think it's too thick, add a small amount of milk to loosen it up).  Add the gelatin mixture and beat for another minute until well combined.  Fold in the strawberries.

Scoop half the cake crumbs into a 10-inch spring form pan with removable sides.  Press the crumbs firmly against the bottom of the pan.  Spread half the cheesecake filling over the crumbs.  Scoop the other half of the crumbs (reserving a few tablespoons) over the filling and gently press into an even layer.  Spread the rest of the cheesecake filling over the crumbs.  Sprinkle the reserved crumbs over the top of the filling to decorate; if you like, you could pipe whipped cream, or even cream cheese frosting over the top, but I kept it simple.

Refrigerate until set, about 3-4 hours, or overnight.

To serve, run a sharp knife around the sides of the pan, then remove the sides and set the cake on a serving plate.

Yields 15-20 servings.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen