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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Sometimes, red velvet cakes are known more for their brilliant coloring than they are for their flavor because it is easier to simply make the cake look fancy than put together a great recipe. Flavor is unquestionably the most important thing for a baked good to have, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a “wow” factor on top of that. These Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies definitely have an impressive look and a delicious combination of flavors to back it up.

Red velvet cake usually has a hint of both cocoa and buttermilk flavors to it and gets most of its color from the addition of red food coloring. For these brownies, I opted to leave out the buttermilk to keep a fudgy, brownie-like texture and add just enough food coloring to give these normally chocolate-colored brownies a deep red hue. The brownie batter is made with dark chocolate and you definitely get a much bigger chocolate hit from these than you might from a slice of red velvet cake. That said, the chocolate flavor is less intense than it is for some other brownie recipes – for instance, I usually add cocoa powder into my brownies as well – so you still get a little lightness to that chocolate flavor in a nod to the cake. The brownie itself is very fudgy and tender.

Red velvet cake is also usually topped off with a cream cheese frosting. It adds a contrasting color to the deep red cake and a lot of flavor. That cream cheese frosting appears here has a cream cheese swirl that is baked right into a cheesecake layer right on top of the brownie batter. The cheesecake is creamy and rich tasting, a great contrast to the brownie base. Take the time to swirl the cream cheese mixture into the brownie batter with a butter knife, rather than just simply pouring it on top, to get the best look from your finished brownies.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Batter should be red. If a brighter red is desired, add an additional 1/2 tsp food coloring. Add flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. 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.
Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Makes 16 large brownies or 24 smaller brownies


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  • Marylou
    December 18, 2011

    I can’t believe I’m the only person who read this recipe and wondered what you meant by “dark” chocolate. Unsweetened? Semisweet? Bittersweet? I know there’s not much difference between the last 2 but there’s a big difference between those and unsweetened.

  • Nicole
    January 15, 2012

    Marylou – You can use semisweet or bittersweet chocolate in this recipe. There are also many types of baking bars and chocolate chips that are labeled “dark chocolate” in grocery stores. This typically refers to any chocolate with a cacao percentage over 60% and any of these will work.

    If you are using unsweetened chocolate, add in an extra tablespoon of sugar to make up for the bitterness of that type of chocolate. I recommend sticking with semisweet, bittersweet or another 60% + chocolate.


  • Rachel
    February 12, 2012

    Currently cooking in the oven bit of a pain cone ring the recipe into British measurements and doubling the amount but hopefully worth it

  • Hilda
    March 18, 2012

    Made these yesterday – too cakey, not chocolatey enough. Are you sure only 2 oz of chocolate is right?
    They look gorgeous, but I would not make again without tweaking to make denser and more chocolate.

  • Misia
    April 30, 2012

    These are SOOO good! We ate it all same evening!

  • Sandra
    September 8, 2012

    I made these today, and they were delicious! I agree with a previous comment that they were not very chocolatey, but they were still good. My best tip woud be double the cheesecake-part!!

  • Barry
    September 9, 2012

    I made these last night and while the flavors were good, the outer edges ended up a little overdone while the middle was a little underdone. Not sure what I did differently. Thoughts?

  • Heather
    November 4, 2012

    I have made these so many times and everyone loves them but do you think they would work in a circle cake pan?

  • Missy
    December 17, 2012

    Anybody ever double these and make them in a 9×13? Just need more than what an 8×8 would make. Thanks!

  • marty
    January 21, 2013

    I cut with heart-shaped cookie cutters for Valentine’s Day but saved and served the left-overs in sundae cups topped with cherry pie filling and whipped cream later! Yum!

  • Cierra
    February 5, 2013

    Can someone please tell me if the dark chocolate has to be sweetened? Because I just bought bakers chocolate.

  • Mari
    March 4, 2013

    Great recipe! (I found off of Pinterest.) I’ve made several times, to rave reviews! I add an egg yolk and 1/4 of cocoa powder for a more dense texture/chocolate flavor in the brownie, and do half sour cream, half cream cheese for the cheesecake to make that lighter (my own personal preference, I do that for all cheesecake recipes.) Thank you so much for sharing it!

  • Jill
    April 2, 2013

    I posted these on my blog, Foodtastic Mom, in honor of Opening Day (I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, home of the Reds). They are so yummy… and I agree with you, taste is just as important, if not more, than how they look.
    Thank you so much for the recipe!

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