Whether you want to start or end the holiday season with a bang, this is the cake recipe for you! This Red and Green Velvet Cheesecake with Cream Cheese Icing started as an experiment but ended up being such a tasty surprise.
Cheesecake for the WIN
The inspiration for this cake actually began this summer. I planned to make a tasty treat for the 4th of July. Usually, I opt for a cobbler or a frozen dessert, but I wanted something more decadent this year. My vision was to create a patriotic, red, white, and blue velvet cake. However, I wanted the center to have a wow factor. The big question was how I could extend the cream cheese frosting flavor and texture in a way that would make an already delicious cake better? I know! Make the middle layer cheesecake!
I am a huge fan of dessert, but I am also very conscious of how much sugar I add to my sweets. The mark of a good dessert is not measured by sweetness alone. Many other factors contribute, like textures, temperature, flavors, salt, fat, etc. In this recipe, you will notice the cheesecake is not overly sweet, and this is on purpose. I feel the cheesecake’s slight tartness balances the sweetness from the other layers and gives the palette a cool, creamy surprise.
Christmas In July?
You will also notice this recipe calls for butter-flavored Crisco. If you have ever baked with butter-flavored Crisco, you know it is soooo good and adds tons of flavor to cookies and cakes. However, this shortening is as yellow as the sun. In my excitement, haste, and ultimately my desire for more flavor, I used butter flavored Crisco to make the velvet cake layers of this dessert. So imagine my surprise, dismay, and finally, my elation at the irony of my cake batter when I added the blue gel coloring to my yellow cake batter. It was Christmas in July! I quickly shifted gears and set up a completely different shoot. If you do decide to make this cake for the 4th of July, use regular Crisco and blue gel coloring. I love a recipe versatile enough to span every holiday. I even see Valentine’s, St. Paddy’s Day, etc. This cake is great for any occasion.
This cake does require quite a few steps but I promise you it is easier to make than you think. Having the right tools are stakeholders in an easygoing experience. Check out my Cake Tools below and stock up everything you need to make baking fun.
1 1/2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese (room temperature!)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
Cream Cheese Frosting
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter softened
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease three 8 inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Set one aside for the cheesecake layer.
In a large mixing bowl, add sifted flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In another large mixing bowl, cream Crisco and sugar using a hand or stand mixer until smooth.
To sugar mixture, add eggs (one at a time), then vanilla, milk, and vinegar.
Reduce mixing speed while slowly incorporating dry ingredients into the wet mixture until smooth.
Divide the batter between the two mixing bowls and add one of the gel food colorings to each bowl. Fold color into batter until fully incorporated.
Bake cakes for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the pan's edges to help them release.
Finally, Invert pans on wire racks and let them cool completely.
Place a large roasting pan or ovenproof skillet in the oven, lower the oven to 325 degrees, and then boil 4 cups of water.
If using a springform pan, wrap outside of pan with foil to prevent water seeping.
In a large mixing bowl, cream eggs and sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Then add room temperature cream cheese and sour cream. Mix until smooth.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Gently twist/shake the pan to release any air bubbles. Place the cake pan in a roasting pan or skillet and pour boiling water into the roasting pan about 1-2 inches high.
Bake cheesecake for 30-40 minutes. A done cheesecake should have a little wobble.
Turn off the oven, crack the oven door and let cheesecake cool to room temperature to prevent cracking.
Once cool, place in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
In a large mixing bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth (avoid over-mixing).
Remove parchment paper from the green cake and place the layer on a cake stand or plate.
Remove cheesecake from the freezer. REMEMBER TO REMOVE PARCHMENT PAPER from the bottom and then place it on top of the green layer.
Place the red layer on top.
Apply a crumb coat to the entire cake making sure to wipe your spatula between each dip into the frosting.
Once fully covered, place in the fridge for 30-40 minutes to let frosting set.
Add a second layer of frosting. Start at the top of the cake and work your way down the sides. The crumb coat will protect your outer layer from colorful crumbs creeping into your visible frosting.
Place frosted cake in the fridge for 30-40 minutes before serving.
Garnish cake with white chocolate chips, shavings, or shards. KEEP REFRIGERATED!