Monday, September 14, 2009

Red Velvet Cake with a Cheesecake Layer

My parents and brothers were coming over to see our house for the first time since the wedding, so I had to impress them by whipping up a great meal and a tasty dessert, along with a clean house. They loved the red velvet cake with the cream cheese layer, and here is the recipe. It does contain many parts and took a good amount of time to put it all together.

Red Velvet Cake

1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces of red food coloring
2 heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

**Buttermilk tip: use one cup of wholemilk and 1 tbsp of fresh squeezed limejuice, and then wait 15 mins for it to curdle. Or if you have 2 cups of heavy cream, throw it in your Kitchenaid mixer on the highest setting for a few minutes. First it will become whipped cream, then it will get beaten and seperated into one cup of buttermilk, and a huge hunk of fresh butter! This is what I did.

Cream shortening, sugar and eggs until very fluffy. Make a paste of the red food coloring and cocoa and add to the first mixture. Add alternately, the buttermilk and cake flour. Then add salt and vanilla. Mix together the vinegar and baking soda and fold into your batter mixture. Bake in 2 layer pans (I used 9″, generously greased the bottoms and sides with butter and lined the bottoms with parchment paper.) at 350 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto racks and peel off the paper liners. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours, then wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Refrigeration is crucial to the assembly process.

Junior's Famous Cheesecake (filling part only)

You need this to make the cheesecake layer, but I did not make the sponge cake part because I was using it as a middle layer in the red velvet cake. Therefore I am leaving out the part on how to make the spongecake bottom.

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese (the regular variety not light cream cheese), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions for the Cream Cheese Filling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and generously butter a 9-inch springform pan. Make the batter for the sponge cake as the recipe directs Evenly spread the batter on the bottom of the pan, and bake just until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool (do not remove it from the pan).

2. While the cake cools, make the cream cheese filling: Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 mintues, then beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.

3. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the sugar, then beat in the vanilla and heavy cream. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the bating only until completely blended (just like they do at Junior's). Be careful not to overmix the batter.

4. Gently spoon the cheese filling on top of the baked sponge cake layer. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan.Bake the cheesecake until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour.

5. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it's completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springform pan.6. Slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate. If any cake is left over, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Makes Enough for One 8-Inch Cake, About 2 1/2 Inches High

MISSION: Red Velvet Cheesecake Assembly

When you are ready to assemble the cake, take the cheesecake from the freezer and allow it to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes while you make the frosting. I have heard the cream cheese frosting recipe from Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook is great, and you would need to double it for this recipe. This is the part where I cheated and used 2 cans of cream cheese frosting.

To assemble:
Choose the best of the 2 cake layers and carefully cut it in half to form 2 half layers. Place one of these half layers (cut side down) on a cake plate. Spread with frosting. (Gently crumble the other full layer to be used to decorate the finished cake.)P

lace the cheesecake, top side down, on top of the frosted red velvet cake layer and spread with frosting. (A Junior’s tip for removing the frozen cheesecake from the pan helped me tremendously! They recommend warming the bottom of the pan by setting it on a hot, wet towel long enough to melt the butter used to grease the pan. Remove the pan ring. Gently insert a long narrow spatula between the bottom of the cake and the pan bottom, moving it slowly in a circle. Then lift up the edge of the cake with the spatula, oh-so-gently, just enough to release the vacuum between the bottom of the cake and the pan.)

Top with the remaining half cake layer, cut side down. Ice the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Decorate the sides and top edge of the cake with the cake crumbles. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve (it takes this cake about 2 hours in the refrigerator to thaw enough to easily slice.)

Use a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one, to cut it. If there’s any cake leftover, cover it and refrigerate.

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