If you follow me on Instagram (hollynotarange), you know that I spent my weekend in the kitchen. My favorite place to be!
I don’t know if I have mentioned it on here before, but I actually have my own baking company. (VERY small!- and I just do stuff in my personal kitchen) I don’t advertise, everything is by word of mouth. The way I actually got started was just by sending food into Craig’s work. Whenever we had leftover sweets, I would send them along with him just so that they weren’t in the house. Whenever there are sweets here I found them hard to resist, so I’d rather get them out!
Anyways, a couple of years ago Craig’s group asked if they could just pay me to bake a bunch of stuff for their Christmas party, that way they didn’t have to worry about making or buying anything. Once I did that, I had people ask me if I had a company and if I did if they could order stuff from me. It made me so happy to hear that my baked goods were getting rave reviews and that people want to hire me to bake for them. SIGN ME UP!!
…and so that is the story of how ‘Hollywood Sweets’ came to be!
(the black lines are personal information, they don’t actually look like that )
Craig is the one who thought of a name for my business, and he also coined the tag line ‘sweet treats for your sweet tooth.’ Quite a creative husband that I have. I ordered some business cards and he gave them to people at his office that asked for my information, and I’ll leave them on community billboards occasionally just to see if I can also get some business that way.
On Friday I got a call requesting baked goods- she wanted something with red velvet (but not an actual red velvet cake) & something chocolate. So I got to work thinking of different recipes, and options for her to choose from.
She ended up going with Red Velvet Cheesecake & Salted Caramel Brownies.
I got the cheesecake recipe from Food Network, and then decided to make a cream cheese frosting for the top.
Red Velvet Cheesecake
(recipe from here)
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies (I used Chocolate Teddy Grahams)
5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
For the filling:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon red food coloring
Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the cookie crumbs, melted butter, sugar and salt in a bowl. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake until set, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Beat the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Transfer 2 cups batter to a bowl; stir in the cocoa powder and food coloring. Pour the red batter into the crust, then pour the white batter on top. Using a spoon, pull some of the red batter up from the bottom of the cake and swirl. Bake until the edges are set but the center is still wobbly, about 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Turn off the oven but keep the cake inside to cool, 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan (don’t remove the springform side), then transfer to a rack to cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before slicing.
Once the cake was completely cooled (I let in cool in the refrigerator over night), I decided to frost it. It was for a birthday, and I hated that it cracked. (Even though a lot of commenters said the same thing happened to them- they said thankfully it doesn’t effect the taste )
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 of a block)
4 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat the cream cheese & butter together in a mixing bowl- I put it on medium high speed and let it mix for about 2 minutes. After two minutes, turn the mixer down to low & mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once combined, beat in the vanilla. I then just let it mix on high for about a minute so that it was nice & fluffy.
I took half of the frosting & added about one teaspoon red food coloring to it and left the other half the original color. (white)
I put both frostings in sandwich size ziplock bags, and snipped the corners to create pastry bags. Then I got to frosting- I did one ring of white, then one ring of red- alternating until the cake was covered.
I took a knife & ran it through the frosting- about 1/2 inch apart in horizontal lines. I ran it through one way, and then through the other way (hopefully that makes sense) to create a swirled pattern.
I have to admit, I tried a tiny bit of the cream cheese filling, I always like to make sure things taste ok before I sell them. I do NOT even like cheesecake, at all, but obviously I could tell if it tasted bad. You guys, the filling in this is BEYOND delicious! I mean it was the PERFECT filling, in my opinion, not too cheesy or dense, but fluffy and subtle. I cannot wait to make just a standard cheesecake with this filling, my sister (who is OBSESSED with cheesecake) will LOVE it.
As for the Salted Caramel Brownies, I used a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen.
One thing I learned is that making homemade caramel is HARD. …and frustrating! I don’t know if there is another recipe that I could follow when making it that makes it a bit easier, but I was this close to throwing in the towel on these.
I was able to use about half of the caramel I made (the other half had chunks of sugar in it- which happened AFTER I had melted the sugar), but one thing I can tell you is that homemade caramel is 1000 times better than store bought.
I don’t normally like caramel, or things with caramel, but I had to try a piece of this just to make sure it was edible. Oh my goodness it was SO good- so creamy & just melts in your mouth. I suppose all of that time making it was worth it!
These brownies were actually for an engagement party, so I got to work decorating.
I couldn’t find my pastry bag for the life of me, so the letters came out a bit thicker than I wanted, but you gotta do what ya gotta do!
The little heart brownies were double chocolate brownies, just to add some variety.
Now we have leftover brownies, from the pan that I was cutting the hearts out of, and we have officially overdosed on them. Every time we walk near the kitchen we find a reason to go in to have a little piece of one.
Oh and while I was taking pictures of the food my little kitchen assistant could not get to the plates fast enough!
I have NEVER seen Gabriella crawl so fast. Speedy Gonzales!
She was mesmerized by the cheesecake. She kept trying to stick her little hand in there, but I quickly pulled her away.
Guess it’s a good thing I have a long run planned this morning after a weekend of sweets!
Do you like cheesecake? If so, what kind? If not, favorite type of cake?
Are you as in love with everything salted caramel like me?? (And it’s funny because I don’t like caramel. I have issues )