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After revealing three dishes in my Valentine’s Day menu yesterday, I left the best for last. Dessert. And it doesn’t get any more sinful than this one.

Everybody loves a good red velvet cake. But since it’s for Valentine’s Day, I wanted to give this popular dessert an added layer of indulgence. Now I’ve been fantasizing about The Cheesecake Factory’s red velvet cheesecake since my last US trip and a few weeks ago, I happened to come across Erin’s food blog, which was perfect timing! I had found the recipe for the perfect Red Velvet Cheesecake.

So I decided to set aside my recipes for red velvet cake and cheesecake and just followed Erin’s recipe. I did, however, tweak a few ingredients by using more commonly available Indian substitutes. The final product was pretty impressive and I want to thank Erin for such a detailed post on her Lincoln’s Red Velvet Cheesecake.

However, during a trial run, I realized that the red velvet cake had turned bitter, even though I was careful to use a very good brand of food colouring – Wilton. To fix this, the next time I made it, I used beetroot puree and about half a bottle of Wilton’s Christmas Red food colouring. It solved the bitterness problem, I got the perfect colour and also the taste was bang on!

Red Velvet Cheesecake

This recipe is divided into four parts: Red Velvet Cake, Cheesecake, Cream cheese frosting and the final assembly.

Ingredients for the cheesecake:

Bar cream cheese, room temperature (I’ve mentioned the substitute below) – 566 gm

 – 3/4 cup

Lemon zest, finely grated – 1/2 tsp

Fresh lemon juice -
1/2 Tbsp

Coarse salt – 1/4 tsp

Eggs – 2

Sour cream (I used equal parts of Greek yogurt and Amul cream) – ½ cup

Ingredients for the cake:

All-purpose flour – 2½ cup

Sugar -
 1 1/2 cup

Baking soda – 1 tsp

Cocoa powder -
1 Tbsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Eggs -

Vegetable oil -
1 1/2 cup

Buttermilk -
1 cup

Beetroot – 2

Red food coloring
- ½ – 1 Tbsp

Water warm – 3 tsp

Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp

White distilled vinegar – 1 tsp

Ingredients for the frosting:

Cream cheese, softened
 – 340 gm

Butter, softened – 
340 gm

Vanilla extract – 1 1/2 tsp or Vanilla essence – ½ tsp

Confectioners’ sugar -3 ½ cup

Method for the cheesecake:

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade.

2. Set a kettle of water to boil.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy.

4. Beat in lemon zest and juice, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream.

5. Line the inside of the pan with aluminium foil with about 1-2 inches of foil hanging out of the pan.

6. Pour in the filling; place in a roasting pan. Pour in boiling water until it fills the pan halfway. Bake until just set in center; that’s for about 45 – 50 minutes.

7. Remove the pan from water and let it cool for 20 minutes. Chill overnight.

8. Pull the cake out with the help of the aluminum foil and wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in the airtight box and freeze.

Real Reviews: Cream Cheese substitute for Red Velvet Cheesecake

Substitute for cream cheese:

You can substitute cream cheese using a combination of curd cheese, cottage cheese and cream cheese of the brand Kiri or Laughing Cow.

Curd cheese can be made by hanging the curd for about 2-3 days in a refrigerator till it gives away all the water.

Method for the cake:

1. Wrap the beetroots in aluminum foil and bake at 175 degrees Centigrade for 45 min to 1 hour till soft. Make a puree of it and sieve. This step can be done a day prior and stored.

2. Preheat the oven at 175 degrees Centigrade.

3. In a large bowl, mix the sieved beetroot, eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and vinegar. Beat with an electric mixer for about 3 min on high speed.

4. Now mix the colour in warm water and add to this mixture. Water helps the colour to mix uniformly in the batter and is the best way to avoid adding any extra colour. Start with ½ Tbsp. of colour, give a good mix and see if the desired red velvet colour has been achieved or not. Add more colour only if required.

5. Add the dry ingredients and beat until well-combined.

6. Divide the batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 9″ round cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.

7. Let the cakes cool for five minutes. Then invert each onto a plate and invert again onto a cooling rack. Let the cakes cool completely, then level.


Method for frosting:

1. For the frosting, I used 100gm of cottage cheese, 140gm of curd cheese and 100gm of Laughing Cow Cream Cheese or kiri cheese. You can also use a combination of cottage cheese and cream cheese only.

2. Beat the cheese, butter and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined.

3. Add sugar and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, or for 5–7 minutes. Taste to adjust the sweetness.

Real Reviews: Red Velvet Cheesecake

The assembly of the cake:

1. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on the cake stand or turn table. Place the bottom layer first.

2. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, unwrap, and remove from the metal bottom, then peel off the parchment paper.

3. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the bottom layer of the red velvet cake. If the cheesecake is wider than the cake and it is necessary to trim it, wait approximately 10 minutes for the cheesecake to soften, then trim it with a knife.

4. Place the top layer of the cake on top of the cheesecake and coat with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting to act as the crumb coat. Be careful not to get any red velvet crumbs in the bowl of frosting!

5. Refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes, then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as necessary.

6. Top with shaved white chocolate and/or shaved dark chocolate.

7. Refrigerate until ready to serve. This cake doesn’t have to stay in the fridge until IMMEDIATELY before serving, so don’t worry if you have a 30 minute gap between taking it out of the refrigerator and serving…