Friday, 25 October 2013

Munching on a cheesecake

So far, this week has been unusually good to me so as I tap away this week it’s with a big smile on my face.  Recently I’ve taken to posting my blog on a Friday, I like Friday and I like writing my blog, so it seemed like the obvious thing to do. So to mark the end of this happy week I thought it would be nice to create something that would make another happy; I’m selfless like that. Yep this is all about them; absolutely nothing to do with all the brownie points it’s going to earn me…..

I’ve only been there once but I found my trip to the Cheesecake Factory completely overwhelming. Faced with a normal size menu I struggle to reach a decision, but this menu was more like the short novel I wrote back when I was 13 (not a success, might I add). How does anyone choose???. You can’t just pick one thing. It’s impossible. Instead, in a fit of wanton food lust you indulge and reach your entire weeks calorie limit in one sitting. I can imagine my menu browsing habit of repeating most items listed, lead by “ohhh, look they’ve got…” was pretty annoying for my dining compadre. Don’t get me wrong though, I very much enjoyed my Cheesecake Factory experience and plan to rush back next time I’m stateside.

So anyway, I needed to recreate their red velvet cheesecake for a friend who swore it was the best thing he’d ever eaten. A quick Google search provided me with an image but one small problem, I’d never actually tried it. According to their website I needed to aim for:

“Moist layers of Red Velvet Cake and our original Cheesecake covered with our special Cheesecake Factory cream cheese frosting.”

I had a few issues with this sentence. The word moist should be banned when referring to food; it makes me want to be sick in my mouth. Secondly, I get why they would capitalize ‘Cheesecake Factory’ but why red velvet? Why the word cheesecake when not used as the restaurants name? Lastly their “special frosting’ sounds a bit dubious to me…but anyway, that’s not the issue here. I needed to get to work. Quickly. This was going to take a long time. I knew how to make red velvet cake, I’d made vanilla cheesecake so often that I could probably make it in my sleep and cream cheese frosting, pah, no problemo! Alas, it was time to put my apron where my mouth was (not literally).

So, how did it turn out? Well you’d have to ask the aforementioned friend for an honest answer but I’d go with pretty damn well. Try the recipe for yourself and if anyone has tasted the original I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have a great weekend.

*Warning, this serves a LOT of people. Make sure you have a gang of friends and family around to share with. Also watch this while you eat, instant smiles all around. 

For the cheesecake filling:

900g full fat soft cheese
250g caster sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla paste
3 tbsp plain flour
3 very large eggs
300ml pot sour cream

For the red velvet cakes:

      250g plain flour
      2 tbsp cocoa
      2 tsp baking powder
      1/2 tsp of soda
      100g butter, softened
      200g caster sugar
      1 tbsp red food colouring
      1 tsp vanilla paste
      2 large eggs
      175ml buttermilk
      1 tsp white wine vinegar

For the “special frosting”:

250g full fat soft cheese, at room temperature
4 tsp vanilla paste
100g unsalted butter, at room temp
600g icing sugar

1 Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas 3. Grease and line 4 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. Use an extra strip for the two cheesecake tins to help to get them out. (I know you may be thinking, I don’t have 4 tins, well you have 2 options, make two at a time or go to poundland, where guess what, they’re only 1 measly pound each.)

2 Make the cheesecake layer first. Put all the ingredients in a really big bowl, then beat with electric mixers until smooth. Pour into the two prepared tins, then bake on the lower shelf of the oven (if you’re doing the cakes at the same time) Or in the middle if not. Set your timer for an hour.

3 Meanwhile, put the flour, cocoa, bicarb and baking power in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk and vinegar into a jug. Beat the soft butter and sugar with electric mixers until pale and fluffy, add the vanilla and food colouring and beat in. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredients until smooth, then add an egg, beat until smooth, 1/3 dry…you guessed it, until smooth, the final egg, beat until smooth then add the last of the dry stuff, beat again. Pour in the vinegary milk and beat again until you have a mixture that looks like it belongs to red nose day, lovely.

4 Divide between tins, bake on the middle shelf, above the cheesecakes, for 22-25 minutes, they should feel firm and springy, and when a toothpick is inserted it will come out clean.

5 Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then loosen by running a cutlery knife around the edge and cool completely on a wire rack. Let the cheesecakes cool in the turned off oven for 20 minutes, then remove, cool and chill for a couple of hours, until cold.

6 Beat the butter, soft cheese and sifted icing sugar for the frosting until smooth.


If you need to level off the red velvet cakes with a serrated knife so both the base and the tops are flat. Place on a serving plate, spread with a thin layer of frosting, then top with cheesecake, frosting, red velvet, frosting, cheesecake then using a pallet knife cover the whole thing in frosting. Chill until ready to serve.

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