Red Velvet Cheesecake

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! Winking smile

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!

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(the black lines are personal information, they don’t actually look like that Winking smile )

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. Smile 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.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake
(recipe from here)

Ingredients:

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

    Directions

    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.

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    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 Smile )

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    Ingredients:

    4 oz. cream cheese (1/2 of a block)
    4 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    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.

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    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.

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    ^love how you can see the layers- with the chocolate crust, cream cheese filling & then frosting.

    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.

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    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. Winking smile 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.

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    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! Winking smile 

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    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!

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    I have NEVER seen Gabriella crawl so fast. Speedy Gonzales!

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    She was mesmerized by the cheesecake. She kept trying to stick her little hand in there, but I quickly pulled her away. Smile

    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 Winking smile)

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    Four Layer Thin Mint Cake

    Good Morning!!

    Well, I hate to say it, but I don’t have much of a post today. But I have a GOOD excuse. Last night was spent making THIS cake:
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    THIN MINT CAKE. Yes, you read that correctly. Thin mints…in a cake. Heaven on earth? Perhaps.

    I followed this recipe exactly (even added the 1/2 of a banana, as it called for), the only thing I change was that I used vegetable oil, instead of EVOO.

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    Then I used a basic recipe (in my Betty Crocker cookbook) for chocolate frosting.
    -3 cups powdered sugar
    -1/3 cup butter, softened
    -1/3 cup baking cocoa powder
    -1 tsp. vanilla
    -3-4 tbsp. milk (will just depend on consistency- add more if needed, but start small)
    Mix them all together.
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    And for the green frosting, which is mint frosting, I used this recipe. I just changed a few things to make it ‘minty.’
    -4 cups powdered sugar
    -1/2 cup shortening
    -3 tbsp. milk
    -1 tsp. vanilla
    -1 tbsp. peppermint extract
    Combine all ingredients in mixer on lowest setting for 30 seconds. Switch to medium high and mix for 2-5 minutes.

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    To make it green, I just added food coloring, probably about half of one of those little containers. (the ones that you buy in a 4 pack, you just squeeze drops out)

    I just love that green color!
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    Both frostings were Craig approved. Especially the mint. I had to keep him away.

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    Once the cakes cooled (I used 2 8×8 pans), I sliced them in half using a bread knife & then layered the frosting.

    Now it’s time for the star of the show. Well, one of them 😉
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    OH YES. MINT OREOS. These things are like little wafers. You CAN’T eat just one. Or two. Or even three. Just try to, I dare you. It’s near impossible. They taste like Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. You see the whole reason that I even bought these was because I could NOT for the life of me find Girl Scouts selling cookies this weekend. Can you believe it???? The ONE time I want to buy cookies, and they are no where to be found. I searched all of the Publix near me. No luck. I gave up & bought these. & I’m not sad about that choice 😉

    On top of the mint frosting, I added crumbled Mint Oreos.
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    Imagine that. A layer of cake, chocolate frosting, more cake, mint icing & then crumbled mint Oreos. Sorry if you are now drooling on your keyboard.

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    I just continued the layers one more time & then frosted the sides of the cake.
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    I just BARELY had enough frosting to do the sides..that’s why it kind of tapers off towards the end. But don’t worry, I fixed it.
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    I just cut the cookies in half & placed them around the edges. Easy fix!

    I then topped off the cake with even more Oreo crumbles. I mean, why not?! 😉
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    (please don’t’ make fun of my bright red cake carrier. I had no other option. So instead you get the ugly red background 🙂 )

    It’s too bad that I can’t show you this inside of the cake. I just KNOW it looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Four layers of pure deliciousness.
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    Why can’t I show you the inside? Well that’s because it’s actually for my boss. (he’s a HUGE Thin Mint fan) Today is his birthday! (seems like I always have birthdays going around, huh?! 😉 )  So I can’t really just take a bit out of it. I don’t think he would appreciate that. Although he would probably just laugh. It’s something that I would totally do….just because I always love doing pranks around the office. Yep, I’m a joy to work with 😉

    I’ll report back with the reviews of the cake, as well as a picture from the inside. I have a feeling that they are REALLY going to like it.

    A Guilt Free Dessert Recipe

    **Edited to add: Sorry if you saw/ received this post yesterday afternoon. It was not supposed to publish until this morning.**

    I don’t know about you, but I’m always trying to find recipes for ‘healthier’ desserts. I don’t want them to be too healthy (like an apple for dessert?! NO WAY jose!), because what’s the fun in that!? 😉 But I also don’t want to eat a huge piece of rich pie every night. I need something in between. I want something that can satisfy my sweet tooth, yet not cause me to regret eating it.

    I happen to be browsing the internet for a chocolate chip cookie recipe when Katie’s ‘World’s Healthiest Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.’ I mean how could you go wrong with the WORLD’s healthiest?!?

    I thought I would give it a try, but because I was feeling lazy & didn’t want to make individual cookies, I just doubled the recipe & made chocolate chip cookie bars.

    I did change the recipe a bit, but it is based off of Katie’s recipe that you can find here! I added some chia seeds & flax seeds to the mix, because well I love the additional texture & the added health benefits. (& you can’t taste them, so why not add them in?!)

    Guilt Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
    (Recipe adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)

    • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda (not baking powder)
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, depending on your preference
    • 1/4 cup + 1T brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
    • 1 tbsp. flax seeds (whole or ground)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2T vegetable oil (or pre-melted margarine)
    • 1/3 to 1/2 cup nondairy milk, as needed (if it is too dry, you will need to add milk)

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Mix your dry ingredients, then add in wet.
    3. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan.
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    (you can probably see the little chia seeds in there!)
    4. Bake 22- 25 minutes.
    5. Let cool, then cut into 9- 12 pieces.
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    Now because I was making this recipe to kind of ‘test out’ on Craig, I decided to ‘spice’ it up a bit. I added a tiny bit of chocolate sauce, and then about a teaspoon of melted peanut butter as a topping. I figured this could totally fool him, since he always turns his nose up to ‘healthier’ desserts.
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    MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. He had no idea! I think the only thing that might of lead him to believe it was ‘healthier’ was the addition of chia & flax seeds..since most desserts don’t really have a crunch to them. 🙂
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    I made this for Valentine’s day dessert, since we ‘celebrated’ our Valentine’s on Saturday night. It was the perfect ending to our at home Valentine’s night! 🙂 (Oh & I made this recipe for dinner with spaghetti squash for me & angel hair pasta for Craig…SO GOOD- highly recommended!)

    The best part about this recipe is that YES, it tastes DELICIOUS & it satisfies that little sweet tooth. (or big sweet tooth 😉 ) But you also do NOT have to feel guilty after eating it. You might think it’s high in calories, since it tastes decadent, but it’s NOT! Winning.

    Another thing that I loved about this recipe is that I didn’t just use any old chocolate chips. I used Dark Chocolate Morsels from Nestle.
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    I love those little things!! I had to try my best to keep my hand out of the bag while I was baking these bars. 🙂

    I think these bars would also be delicious with peanut butter added INTO the dough before baking. I might just have to try that next time.

    Enjoy your day!!

    What is your favorite ‘healthier’ dessert?? (feel free to link away 🙂 )