Red Velvet Cheesecake


This week Ben and I went over to dinner at our friends’ house, and I offered to bring a dessert.  I felt like cheesecake since it has been quite some time since I have made one.  So I had several flavors in mind that I was thinking of, and I ran them by Ben.  “Red velvet, etc., etc….”  He said, “I think you had me at red velvet.”  The answer was clear.  So I made it, and it was most definitely the right decision.  Red velvet + cheesecake = you can’t go wrong!  It is every bit as good as you might imagine.  You need to go make this, now!  And if not now, then definitely for Valentine’s Day.  I can’t think of a more perfect dessert for such an occasion.  I topped mine with cooca powder using a make-shift stencil I fashioned with a doily and wax paper.  (It lost all detail of the design but the heart still looked pretty cute.)  It would also be great garnished with red decorating sugar, heart-shaped sprinkles, or fresh strawberries.


Making this cheesecake reminded me how simple cheesecakes really are.  I would probably make them much more often if they weren’t so incredibly fattening – but let’s not think about that right now, okay?  😉  I only had a couple small issues with this dessert.  For one thing, the crust was pretty stuck to the springform pan bottom, and ended up looking pretty messy when sliced and served.  Next time I will definitely put a layer of parchment paper underneath to avoid that problem.  Also, the original recipe had a typo regarding the amount of cream cheese in the topping.  At first, it confused me but I figured it out on my own and realized it is just cream cheese frosting – which makes perfect sense, since it is topping red velvet cheesecake.  Duh!  I ended up throwing away about half of the topping because there was far more than I needed.  I have adjusted these things in my version below so hopefully you won’t waste any ingredients.


Red Velvet Cheesecake
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tbsp. sugar

For the cheesecake:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
2 (1 oz.) bottles red food coloring

For the topping:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper.  To make the crust, combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a small bowl.  Mix together with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  To make the filling, beat together the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium-low speed for 1 minute.  Add eggs, unsweetened cocoa powder, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and food coloring.  Mix on low speed just until fully combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 300 degrees F, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the center is firm.  Turn off the oven, prop the door open slightly, and let the cheesecake stand 30 minutes.  Remove the cheesecake from the oven; cool in the pan on a wire rack for 3o minutes.  Run a thin knife around the outside edge of the cake to separate from the pan.  Cover and chill for at least 8 hours.

To make the topping, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth.  Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake.  Remove sides of springform.  Garnish if desired.

Source: adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, originally from Southern Living Christmas Cookbook

36 Responses

  1. Gorgeous dessert! And.. did I see on my FB feed that today is your birthday!? Happy birthday! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful dessert this would make for Valentine’s Day!

  3. Yum! I’ve been waiting very eagerly for this recipe 🙂

  4. What was the typo on the cream cheese frosting?

  5. Peabody,
    The topping called for “1 (3 oz.) package cream cheese” instead of 8 oz. I have actually seen 3 oz. packages before, so I thought at first that might be correct – but then I realized that 3 oz. of cream cheese combined with that quantity of powdered sugar would be incredibly stiff. I got it all figured out in the end, no worries 🙂

  6. That looks so beautiful.

  7. Oh my gosh, my two favorite desserts in one! This looks delicious and so beautiful, great job!

  8. This cake is gorgeous! Love the colours!

  9. That looks all kinds of awesome! A perfect Valentine’s dessert.

  10. That looks amazing and delicious! The heart is so cute!

  11. I’ll bet there were alot of oohs and ahhs when you delivered that one to its willing testers. Beautiful cake.

  12. Looks delicious!

  13. Cheesecake is so delicious. That looks so good.

  14. this looks so amazing, the color is gorgeous!!!!

  15. oooh lala! this looks delish!!

  16. that really does look fantastic… and i bet it tastes even better than it looks…

    now if only i had the will to actually make it.

  17. Fabulous! I love cheesecake and I love red velvet cake so the two like this must be a winner.

  18. This looks SO good and I love the heart stencil. I starred this when I first saw it in Peabody’s blog. Hopefully I get around to making it one of these days.

  19. Beautiful job Annie!

  20. […] Red Velvet Cheesecake This week Ben and I went over to dinner at our friends’ house, and I offered to bring a dessert.  I felt like […] […]

  21. What a beautiful cheesecake. I bet red velvet flavor is great in a cheesecake.

  22. Annie, I feel like such an IDIOT! Of course you should get credit for those changes in the recipe on my blog! Have amended my post. I should really make better notes about my sources when I take down a recipe – I’m learning as I go along. Your version of Peabody’s cheesecake is really great, so thks for reminding me to put your name to it. I did make changes to the method though – used a blender, pre-baked the crust etc.

  23. It’s me again Annie lol. I made this cake for our Easter gathering today…we havent left yet, but I cut out an easter bunny from a magazine, and laid that on the white icing like you did with the heart. It is adorable, I also put a few fuzzy yellow chicks for flare. Will take a pic of it when we get to our destination.
    Thank you again sooooo much for your generosity of sharing you wonderful culinary art of cooking!!

  24. well..there is nowhere to post a pic of the cake, but I will just say, that this cake was amazing. The subtle hint of chocolate, the creamy texture…mmmm wish I had some left over!!
    Hats off to Annie, and if you have a special occasion coming up..this cake is well worth the effort.

  25. oh… wow. my mom’s birthday is valentine’s day… i think this would be the most perfect cake for her ever. i have to find a way to make a heart in the middle, too, because that’s exactly what she’d love!

  26. ooh and i think dutch process cocoa powder would look fabulous on top!!

  27. We started out making this during football season – we’re always looking for great Texas Tech red desserts! It has since become one of our favorites. Thank you for posting it!

    Also – I’ve learned that I can make a half recipe, bake it in a 6″ straight sided glass pyrex bowl, and it’s the perfect amount of dessert for 4-6 people. (I so rarely need an entire 9″ cheesecake!)

  28. Yes Starr, Trust me…this cake is not only very pretty with the things you can do with it…but it is absolutely delicious!! Like Carla..this is a new family fave. I made it at Christmas too…and decorated it accordingly..I always feel so proud now when I serve it. Thanks again to Annie for sharing this recipe with us. :-))

  29. Annie, you have such great dessert options for Valentines day, I can’t pick!! This one looks great. But the 9 inch is probably too big for our family of 3. Looks like one of your posters did halve the recipe. Do you think I can do that and use my 5 inch springform? Would baking times be the same? Thank you!!

    • Hi Ariana,
      Unfortunately I have absolutely no advice about halving cheesecake recipes. I am pretty intimidated by it because it is not as simple as with cake, just using a toothpick test to know if it is done or not. I’m sure you could use your 5-inch pan, and I’m sure the baking time would need to be altered, but I don’t know how different the time will be. Sorry! This is on my list of things to figure out in the kitchen. I would make cheesecake a lot more often if I knew the answer!

  30. I have this in the oven right now 🙂 Thanks for the recipe Annie!

  31. I made it only I used a French Icing recipe & topped it with red colored coconut. this is what my Mom always used on her Red Velvet cakes. Really , really wonderful!

  32. Hi Annie! I was wondering, did you need to put the cheesecake in a water bath? Cause I’m trying it right now and the time finish and all but its still wet.

    • No, a water bath is not necessary.

      • Thanks! Unfortunately I put it in one already cause my brother-in-law makes his cheesecake that way. I’ll keep that in mind the next time. Oh well have to wait it out. Thanks again. 🙂

      • I’ve made cheesecakes both with and without water baths, and they have always turned out fine both ways. I just do whatever each particular recipe indicates.

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