Red Velvet Cheesecake
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon sugar
For the cheesecake:
3-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole buttermilk (I could only find 1% lowfat in our store that day)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 - 1 oz. bottles of red food coloring (I used 1 - 1 oz. bottle of Wilton's red no-taste icing color from Michael's)
For the topping:
1-8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. To make the crust, combine the Oreo crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a small bowl. Mix together with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan. I wasn't really sure if you can buy Oreo crumbs in a package - if that even exists - but our store didn't have any, so I bought regular Oreo's, opened them up and scraped out the cream filling, then crushed the cookies into crumbs by pulsing in my mini food processor.
3. Beat 3-8 ounce packages cream cheese and 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute. Add eggs and next 5 ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. I mixed all the ingredients with an electric hand mixer until incorporated, then I stirred in the food coloring by hand with a silicone spatula to avoid splattering red droplets all over the counter and myself. Pour batter into prepared crust.
4. Bake for 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 300F, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until center is firm. Turn oven off, and prop the door open slightly. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven; cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Run knife along out edge of cheesecake. Cover and chill 8 hours.
5. Beat 1-8 ounce package cream cheese and 1/4 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth; gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly over top of cheesecake.
For the decoration, I lightly placed heart-shaped cookie cutters on the frosting and then sprinkled mini-chocolate chips inside, pressing them down gently. I then carefully removed the cookie cutters.
I didn't remove the sides of the springform pan until after this cake was transported home the next day. I served the cake, still resting on the bottom of the springform, on a silver platter.
One quick side note: What do you see here?
Supposedly, women are able to spot the word "Lift" easily, while men find this difficult, tending to see black splotches. I'm not sure if it's related, but my mom, aunt, sister, and I all saw 3 hearts on the cake, while my dad and husband both saw a ghost face :)