A hint of cocoa powder, rich cream cheese, and white chocolate combine to make a decadent and incredibly rich cheesecake.
Treat your someone special with a Red Velvet and White Chocolate Cheesecake. Top with bourbons cherries for a next level garnish.
More than candy hearts
Is there a candy that is more associated with a holiday than conversation candy hearts on Valentine's Day? Certainly, heart-shaped boxes of bonbons are everywhere. But the box of pastel-colored hearts, each printed with a coy saying, is immediately recognized and associated with February 14. I remember classmates picking out the heart with the perfect saying to innocently share with a crush.
Every year, Sweethearts determines a theme and adds a few new sayings, some that reflect the current vernacular. This year the little boxes will include hearts with encouraging words. Reflecting on the current state in which we find ourselves, you may see "Chin up" or "Way 2 Go".
However, maybe you are craving something a little more - a dessert that is perfect for a special occasion or a special someone.
I think just the name gives a red velvet cake a certain appeal. There is the textural reference of velvet, the rich and opulent fabric. The color must be a striking red, almost a little rusty. Cocoa powder gives that subtle hint of chocolate. Some people who are not chocolate lovers, which I don't understand, enjoy red velvet cake.
This Red Velvet and White Chocolate Cheesecake recipe is a combination of the best qualities of the cake. The texture of the cheesecake is smooth and rich, similar to a New York-style cake. It has a slight cocoa flavor in the batter and a definite chocolate flavor in the buttery crust. And if that wasn't enough, there is a ribbon of white chocolate throughout the cheesecake. The full, sweet flavor from the white chocolate is a perfect partner with the intense red velvet batter.
Cheesecake hints and tips
The first step in making a cheesecake is to let the cream cheese soften and come to room temperature. I take it out of the refrigerator about an hour prior. Your cheesecake will be much smoother if you take this step.
Keep scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure that all the cream cheese is being mixed with the other ingredients. You may find a lump of cream cheese on the bottom of the bowl hiding.
Preparing the pan is crucial. I wrap a springform pan in aluminum foil three times. Bake the cheesecake in the oven in a bain marine, a water bath. This helps to regulate the oven temperature at which the cake gently bakes. Wrapping the pan in foil helps to seal out the water. Three times - sounds excessive but it is my experience three layers help.
The enemy of cheesecake is air. If you whip the batter too long and incorporate too much air, the cheesecake will crack. Also, it is helpful to let the cake slowly cool to lessen the possibility of cracks. I let the cheesecake stay in the oven for an hour after I turn off the heat, with a wooden spoon keeping the door ajar.
One of my favorite crusts, it is easy to make and has a great chocolate flavor. Mix the graham cracker crumbs with sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. This is to make sure the cocoa powder is thoroughly mixed in. Add the melted butter with a spatula and keep mixing with the dry ingredients until everything is coated.
I find it helpful to use the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten the crust into a consistent layer. It will bake evenly then and be ready in 10 minutes. While the crust is baking, melt the white chocolate and set it aside to cool.
As I mentioned, air is the enemy. Add the softened cream cheese to a mixing bowl and use a slow speed to start the batter. After adding the sugar and cornstarch, you may notice the cream cheese starts to loosen up. Don't be tempted to increase the speed of the mixer. You will only be adding air to the batter.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl with the rubber spatula after each addition. Stop mixing as soon as the egg is incorporated. Now it is time to flavor the cheesecake. Remove one cup of the batter into a small bowl. Mix the cooled white chocolate into the cup of cheesecake batter. Set it aside while preparing the rest of the batter.
Add the cocoa powder to the remaining batter in the mixing bowl and use a slow speed to incorporate. Once the cocoa powder is mixed, add 1 tablespoon of red food coloring. I use gels which I believe give more brilliant color. But if you have liquid food coloring, just add more than 1 tablespoon to get a bright color in the batter.
It's like finger painting. Combine the two batters in a marbled pattern. I do the process in two layers so that the white chocolate is combined throughout the cheesecake.
Add half of the red velvet batter to the prepared pan. Then swirl half of the reserved white chocolate batter on top. Using a skewer, incorporate the white chocolate in a random pattern without overmixing.
Repeat this step with the remaining batter. Now it is time to bake the cheesecake. Have a kettle of hot, steaming water ready. Place the springform pan on a sheet pan or in a roasting pan and on a middle rack in the oven. It is much easier to add the water once the pan is in the oven. Pour the water to surround the cheesecake, up about 1-2 inches if you are using a roasting pan.
Bake the cheesecake for one hour at 325 degrees. When the cheesecake is done, the center may still wiggle a bit. That's ok. It will continue to cook as the cheesecake remains in the oven.
Turn the oven off and prop open the door with a wooden spoon. Leave the cheesecake in the oven cooling off for an hour.
After an hour, take the cake out of the oven, removing it from any remaining water. Let the cake sit and come to room temperature. At that point, put the cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Show you care
There is nothing better than a homemade gift to show you care. Think of a child's handmade card, a grandmother's knitted blanket, or a meal made of favorite foods. A deliciously rich and indulgent dessert is sure to impress.
Whoever you treat this Valentine's Day will appreciate this beautiful Red Velvet and White Chocolate Cheesecake. And definitely treat yourself to a slice!
Candied Bourbon Cherries make a great garnish - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/candied-bourbon-cherries
AnotherValentine's Day special dessert - https://tenpoundcakecompany.com/chocolate-mocha-tart/
Red Velvet and White Chocolate Cheesecake
- 1 9-inch springform pan
- 1 Mixer
- sheet pan or shallow roasting pan
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (3.8 ounces/106 grams)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- pinch salt
- 2 pounds cream cheese, softened (4 - 8 ounce packages)/904 grams)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (8 ounces/229 grams)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch (1 ounce/30 grams)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream (8 ounces/236 ml)
- ½ cup cocoa powder (1.7 ounces/50 grams)
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring (gel)
- 6 ounces white chocolate (161 grams)
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Wrap the springform pan in foil 3 times. I know this sounds excessive. However, I have found this step to be essential in stopping water from leaking through to the crust.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cocoa, and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
- Add the melted butter to the bowl. Using a spatula, combine the butter until the dry ingredients are completely moistened.
- Pour the crust mixture into the springform pan. Pat the crumbs into an even layer in the pan. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to help flatten the crust.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool while you continue to make the cheesecake batter.
- Add the 2 pounds of room temperature cream cheese to a mixing bowl. Using a paddle attachment and at slow speed, mix the cream cheese with one cup of granulated sugar. The cream cheese should start to get creamier. Make sure to occasionally stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula so that everything is fully mixed.
- While the cream cheese is slowly mixing, melt the white chocolate and set it aside to cool.
- After mixing the cream cheese for about 5 minutes, add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to the bowl. The mixture should be very creamy without lumps.
- Add the eggs one at a time, again scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Only mix until each egg is incorporated.
- Pour the cream into the bowl. Only mix until the cream is incorporated, about 2 minutes, then stop.
- Remove one cup of the cheesecake mixture and set aside.
- Add the cocoa powder to the cheesecake batter that remains in the mixing bowl. Combine until the powder is fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
- Add the tablespoon of red food coloring to the batter. I used gel food coloring. If you use liquid food coloring, you may need to add more to get the red tint you want.
- Combine the remaining 1 cup of cheesecake batter with the reserved white chocolate.
- To make sure that the whole cheesecake has a marbleized effect, the batter is added in two stages. Pour half of the red cheesecake batter into the prepared springform pan. Swirl half of the white chocolate batter on top.
- Use a skewer to swirl the two batters together in a random pattern. Just don't mix it so much that you create one colored batter.
- Repeat this step with the remaining halves of the red velvet batter and the white chocolate batter.
- Have a kettle of steaming hot water ready. Place the springform pan on a sheet pan or in a shallow roasting pan on the middle rack in the oven. Pour the hot water into the sheet pan or roasting pan, surrounding the springform pan. If you use a roasting pan, you should add 1-2 inches of water.
- Bake the cheesecake for one hour at 325°.
- At the end of the hour, the middle of the cheesecake may still giggle a little. That is ok since the cheesecake will continue to cook.
- Turn the oven off. Leave the cheesecake in the oven but prop open the door with a wooden spoon. You are letting the cheesecake slowly cool for an hour in the oven. This will help to prevent cracks.
- After an hour, remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature. After about an hour, put the cheesecake in the refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
- Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. Cut into slices.