Red Velvet Cheesecake

This recipe has been featured in a post on The Recipe Girl blog with many more photographs: Red Velvet Cheesecake.

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Red Velvet Cheesecake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 40 min

Cook Time: 1 hr, 25 min

I sampled a piece, and I have committed every single, creamy, decadent bite to my taste memory. I'll tell you with great confidence that I think this cheesecake is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

Ingredients:

CRUST:
17 oreo cookies, crushed finely
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 Tablespoon granulated white sugar

CHEESECAKE:
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
2 ounces red food coloring (two 1-ounce bottles)

FROSTING:
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
heavy duty foil

Directions:

1. Prepare crust: Stir together Oreo crumbs, melted butter, and 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar; press mixture into bottom of 9-inch springform pan.

2. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare water bath: Fill large roasting pan (big enough for springform pan to fit into) with about 1 inch of water. Place in oven and allow to preheat along with the oven.

3. Prepare filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar at medium-low speed with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Add eggs and remaining cheesecake ingredients, mixing on low speed just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared crust.

4. Take out two sheets of heavy duty foil and layer them on top of one another. Place springform pan on top of the foil and wrap the foil gently around the pan and up the sides. Make sure that there are no tears or holes and that the foil comes all the way up around all sides of the cake. Carefully place the foil-protected pan into the water bath in the preheated oven.

5. Bake for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300°F. Bake for an additional 75 minutes or until the center is firm. Turn oven off. Let cheesecake stand in oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven. Carefully remove cheesecake from water bath and place on wire rack. Run a thin knife around the outer edge of the cheesecake. Cool on rack for a couple of hours, until the cheesecake becomes close to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours (or overnight). Remove sides of springform pan.

6. Prepare frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating until smooth. Spread evenly on top of cheesecake. Garnish, if desired.

Tips:

*You may sub 1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs for the crushed oreos.
*You may choose to bake the cheesecake instead with no water bath. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 300 and bake for an additional 75 minutes. Let cheesecake stand in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven; cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. (Baking without a water bath - you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake).
*Some readers have indicated that there is far too much frosting for this recipe. I personally like a lot of frosting, so you can see a thick layer of frosting in the photograph. If you're not big on frosting, you can leave it off entirely or cut the frosting recipe in half.

Source: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted from Southern Living)