Red Velvet Cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake

A few weeks ago I learned a very important lesson all over again: be careful what you ask for. In my newly wedded blissful ignorance I asked my husband of four months what he’d like me to make for his birthday dinner on December 11. Everything from scratch, of course. He laid out the menu in no time and then to top it all off requested the Red Velvet Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory (which we had tried for the first time a couple months beforehand). Umm, ok, no problem.

The next day I formed a plan of attack. First step: find picture of the cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. From there I determined the order of layers, what went between them and the cosmetic enhancements needed. Second step: the recipes. I recalled seeing a recent episode of “Throw Down with Bobby Flay” on the Food Network Channel in which he competed in a red velvet cake contest and although I can’t remember if he won, I knew his recipe had to be good. So, I had my Red Velvet recipe. I didn’t change a thing except I used a whole bottle (1 oz.) of red food coloring for that really deep, brilliant red color and I baked it in two, 9-in. pans greased and lined with parchment paper.

For the cheesecake I went to allrecipes.com and found one that had great reviews. It turned out amazing! I honestly can’t wait to make it again the next time I want a good cherry cheesecake. Third step: assembly. This made me fairly nervous because I really haven’t made a ton of cakes and I don’t ever remember making a layered cake, so I was a bit concerned. But I gave myself a little pep talk, whipped up a simple cream cheese frosting and began construction. To my utter amazement everything sliced up and transferred fairly easily.

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Each layer got a slather of frosting and when all stacked, received a crumb coat and then into the freezer it went to firm up. Final step: cream cheese frosting and a layer of shaved white chocolate applied to the sides of the cake to beautify it. End result–a very pretty cake/cheesecake that tasted even better than it looked! Oh, and in Jeremy’s words it was “better than the one from the cheesecake factory”. I think he was under the influence of a very rich birthday dinner and a large amount of sugar at this point. Hah. But it was darn good.

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New Year’s Eve Dessert Bar

This past Thursday night I had the opportunity to donate my baking skills to a New Year’s Eve benefit for a very good cause (more on that in a bit). Since I had about two and a half days to pull everything together, I basically went into super-adrenaline mode and baked like a mad woman from sun-up till waayyyy after sundown ignoring any and all distractions including my computer, my phone (hopefully I still have friends) and my very, very sick husband. Poor husband. Lucky for me he didn’t mind passing out on the sofa every night while I was up to my elbows in sugar and flour. By the time Thursday rolled around, I thought I might not get everything done and was literally frosting things up to the minute I had to go set-up. But I triumphed! And I must say, I think it turned out quite lovely and tasty. I even managed to color coordinate with the event–black and white!

Dessert BarCupcakes

The menu was vast and varied and included these delicious selections (Oh, and did I mention everything made was “mini”? That adds time exponentially!): Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Soft Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chai Cheesecakes, Chocolate Dipped Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Pops, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate and Oreo Buttercream, Raspberry Fudge Tassies with Almond Buttercream, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow “Stars”, Chocolate Covered Cherries and Cappuccino Truffles. Whew!

Sugar Cookies

Overall, the dessert buffet and the benefit was a success! All proceeds from the night when to a great organization, Pearl Alliance, dedicated to freeing young women and children that are enslaved in the human trafficking industry. It’s hard to believe that a horrible injustice such as this one even exists in the world we live in today–it not only exists, but is thriving. Check out their website for more information and see what you can do to help!

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