Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cakes, Desserts

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Adapted from Southern Living December 2016

Another Christmas, full of love, laughter and fun, has come and gone but not without my making a delicious dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner. This year choosing a dessert proved quite difficult. I had several suggestions but no one agreed on any single dessert. Though simple, I had thought of making a red velvet cake because it seemed like a Christmas-y dessert. However some thought that wasn’t very dessert-y, that it was more appropriate for an afternoon tea. I went with my mother and sister-in-law to the supermarket and the former offered if I wanted to get a Southern Living magazine. I accepted and started looking through the marvelous cakes once I got home. The decision was pretty unanimous in the end.

Cheesecake Layers

Ingredients:

  • 4½ 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cups sour cream
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 4½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1-ounce bottles liquid red food coloring
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (162.8C) . Line the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round pans with aluminum foil and allow 2 to 3 inches to extend over the sides. Lightly grease the foil.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until completely combined, about one minute.
  3. Add the eggs, sour cream, buttermilk, cocoa, red food coloring, vanilla and vinegar, beating on low speed until fully combined (do not overbeat).
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven at 325F for ten minutes. Reduce the heat to 300F (148.9C) and continue baking until center is slightly jiggly, about 1 hour and 5 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake layers stand in the oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cheesecake layers from the oven and cool in the pans for 1 hour. Cover and chill for 8 hours or overnight.

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Vanilla Cake Layer

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (4 ounces, 113 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg whites

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (162.8C). Grease one 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.
  2. Beat the butter with a stand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  3. Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Beat the egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the batter. Gradually fold in remaining egg whites.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 33 to 36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 32-ounce package of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy, about five minutes.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating on low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy.

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Assembling the Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 red velvet cheesecake layers (recipe above)
  • 1 vanilla cake layer (recipe above)
  • Cream cheese frosting (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Lift the cheesecake layers from their pans, using the foil sides as handles.
  2. Place 1 cheesecake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate. Place the vanilla cake layer on top of the cheesecake layer. Top the vanilla cake layer with the remaining cheesecake layer, bottom side up.
  3. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake to seal in crumbs and chill the cake for 20 minutes.
  4. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

 

Comments: This cake was a big success. The combination of red velvet cocoa, light vanilla cake and sweet cream cheese frosting was just right. I also garnished the cake with white chocolate curls. What I did was soften a white chocolate baking bar by heating it in the microwave at 50% power for 10-15 seconds. I then used a vegetable peeler to shave the chocolate and make the curls. I also sprinkled some gold sugar to give the cake a touch of color. Like all cake recipes, you get a lot of frosting when following the instructions but having more is better than having less and some people may prefer more frosting than others. Here are some general baking tips that may prove useful to you. While I was making the cheesecake layers, I ran out of sour cream. When I had looked at the package to see how much it had, I converted tablespoons to cups incorrectly and ended up buying less sour cream than I needed. However, I did have plain Greek yogurt in my fridge; plain yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream. I also did not buy buttermilk to make this cake; instead I measured 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and then added milk to it to create the ¾ cups I needed.

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Casamiento

Vegan

casamiento

Adapted from Meat-Free Monday Everywhere

A few days ago it was surprisingly and unusually cold in Houston. I wanted something to “warm my soul” for dinner that included beans. I had originally thought of making a chili but as I started scrolling through my recipes, I came across this recipe in the digital international cookbook by Meat-Free Mondays, the British organization started by Paul McCartney and his daughters. This recipe is originally from Honduras and the name means “marriage” in Spanish. The story that goes along with the dish is that the beans symbolize men and the rice symbolize women; when they marry, they turn the same color, “they become one.”

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1½ tablespoons oil (coconut oil recommended)
  • 1 can beans, drained (I used a mix of kidney, black and pinto beans)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I used 1 bag of Minute’s multi-grain medley)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley or cilantro
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the onions, the oil, cumin and pepper. Cook over medium heat until fragrant, about five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Stir in the beans, reduce heat to simmer and cover for five more minutes.
  3. Add rice and parsley or cilantro and combine. Make sure that the rice and beans “marry.” Once combined, let it cook on low heat for about five minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for five minutes before serving.

 

Comments: This was an incredibly easy and delicious meal. My sister-in-law fried plantain slices, which went very well with the casamiento. The original recipe also suggests using tortillas. The original recipe also suggests using coconut oil (I used vegetable oil), two cups of cooked kidney or black beans (instead of canned), white rice and two tablespoons of green peppers. I am sure that the green peppers go very well with this but I did not want to cut open a pepper for just two tablespoons. I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

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