Happy Valentine’s day to everyone! I am not going to lie, even though I am so lucky and blessed to have the most amazing Valentine ever (aka my husband)…I am not a big subscriber to Valentines Day in general. Not necessarily a cynic, just am one of those who consider it a “holiday” for the card company to make money. I was going to go into more detail on my thoughts on Valentines Day and if you are going to say I love you or send flowers, do it spontaneously (which Doug does!) However, I just got a sweet email from my Valentine and got a little mushy inside so I’ll just stop there because I guess I do give into it a little!!
Anyways! Moving right along into my baking venture. This cake was my first big baking experiment with my new Kitchen Aid last year and it was a hit! In my search of food blogs, I came across this recipehere at Erin’s Food Files, and ask you can see, she even featured the one I made for 4th of July last year! So after making it a couple times, I decided to tweak her recipe a little and make the cheesecake into a Vanilla bean one. I have to say, I made the right choice! I love anything vanilla, and this just made it perfect!! (and yes, I know…her decorating skills are far superior to mine!)
To start off, I introduce you to my beautiful red Kitchen Aid mixer. Sorry, I am not one of those people who names my inanimate objects…I have a hard enough time with my pack rat ways as it is. The attachment beater pictured here is a life saver, it saves time on constantly stopping and scraping down the sides! In case you are interested, I found it on amazon here.
A couple of quick pictures regarding my step by step process of making this cake. This cake is a two day process, and it is not super easy, but I promise you anyone can do it!! For the Vanilla bean cheesecake, you are going to need some vanilla bean seeds. See below how I split it lengthwise, then very carefully scrapped the seeds out. Be careful, they are tiny and sticky but they mix in nicely.
Once all of the cheesecake ingredients are blended together (fairly easy process), you are going to want to ensure that you have the cake pan lined up like this. You will have parchment paper inside the circular pan, foil around the bottom and lay it in a baking pan that you fill halfway with boiling water. This helps cook the cheesecake evenly and it turns out perfectly creamy!
I was going to spare you the picture of all of the ingredients this time, but decided to include it for the Red Velvet cake for one reason. I highly recommend using cake flour if you are baking a cake. I used to use all-purpose flour for everything, but cake flour is just so fine and it makes the cake so light and fluffy!!
Beautiful end result after mixing, I love the color red! Every time I make this I get asked how I make the layers so even. Well, this time I was very concise and weighed my batter in a different bowl on my kitchen scale, and then weighed it while pouring it into the pans to ensure I had the same amount in each!
When your cakes come out of the oven, cool them for 5 minutes in the pans, then invert onto a plate then cooling rack and let cool completely. Be very careful doing this, they can fall apart in your hands if you aren’t, trust me…I know. Once they are cooled, you can level them out on the top so they stack up nicely.
One more small trick for you, when assembling the cakes, I pipe a small layer of frosting around the outsides of each layer. This helps when putting the next layer on for it to set evenly, and it also aides in frosting.
You have to put 2 layers of the frosting on, as you can see the first layer is primarily acting as a “crumb catcher”. Once you have done the first layer, let the cake set in the fridge for 30 minutes before putting the next layer on.
Decorate the top as you would like, for Valentines day purposes, I did red sprinkles!
Recipe Adapted from Erin’s Food Files
- For the cheesecake:
- 1 1/4 lb bar cream cheese (20 oz), room temp
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise with seeds scraped (use the seeds)
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- For the cake:
- 2 1/2 c. cake flour
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 TBSP cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 2 TBSP (1 oz.) red food coloring
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
- For the frosting:
- 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 12 oz. butter, softened
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 c. confectioners' sugar
- Whatever topping suits your fancy- chocolate shavings, sugar sprinkles...you name it.
- For cheesecake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Set a large pot of water to boil. Using an mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Lastly, beat in sour cream.
- Cut parchment paper in a circle and line the bottom of the cheesecake pan (I use the same size cake pan as I am using for my red velvet cakes to make sure they are all the same size). Wrap bottom half of pan in foil. Pour in filling; place in a roasting or baking pan. Pour in boiling water to come halfway up side of cheesecake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is just set in center, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from water; let cool 20 minutes. Run a paring knife around edge; let cool completely. Cover; chill overnight, then wrap entire pan in plastic wrap and freeze.
- For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Make sure not to over mix, you will have a bunch of air bubbles in the cake.
- Divide batter evenly between 2 greased and floured 9" round cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely, then level.
- Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5–10 minutes.
- Place bottom layer on cake stand, pipe a circle of icing on bottom layer of cake. Remove cheesecake from freezer, unwrap, and remove from metal bottom, then peel off parchment paper. Place cheesecake layer on top of the bottom layer of the red velvet cake, another circle of icing. Place top layer of cake on top of the cheesecake, and coat with a generous layer of the cream cheese frosting to act as the crumb coat.
- Be careful not to get any red velvet crumbs in the bowl of frosting! Refrigerate approximately 30 minutes, then frost with as much of the remaining frosting as necessary. Top with your choice of topping, then refrigerate until ready to serve.