To Dan’s credit he filled just about every minute of my birthday weekend with activity so I didn’t have a chance to make myself a cake then (but we ate so much other delicious food I didn’t miss it!). And the next two weekends after that were dominated by work so cooking was pretty much out of the question. So when I found myself with a free hour last night after I finished packing my suitcase, I decided to take advantage of it and finally make a belated birthday cake. I’ve been wanting to make an authentic red velvet cake (i.e., one that does not include a red velvet cake mix) of some kind for a while now and when I saw this recipe for Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies I knew I had to try it. I was suprised at how easily it came together (less than forty-five minutes to get it into the oven) and that made me skeptical of the end result. Tasty homemade desserts rarely come without difficulty. Fortunately the brownies were delicious! Not only did I like them, but Dan asked for seconds so he definitely enjoyed them too. Next time I think I’ll bake the brownie batter by itself (OK, maybe 50% more to make them a bit thicker) and then top it with some cream cheese frosting. That’s going to make a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert, come to think of it! It’s not too early to plan for that, is it?
1/2 c butter
2 oz dark chocolate (I used dark chocolate chips)
1 1/3 c sugar, divided
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 tsp red food coloring
2/3 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together (1 minute on HIGH worked for me). Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 c sugar, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Add the flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into a lightly greased 8″ or 9″ square, lightly greased baking pan and spread into an even layer.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar (1/3 c), remaining egg, and remaining vanilla extract (1 tsp) until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter (the cheesecake mixture pretty much completely covered the brownie mixture in my 8″ pan). Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned. Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.