Yes, Valentine’s Day is coming! I must say that it feels weird to me, since in Brazil Valentine’s Day is celebrated on June 12th, instead of February 14th. June 12th was always special to me, because it’s also my birthday! Most people say “Oh that’s too bad your birthday is on the same day, so you’ll get just one present from your boyfriend”. You couldn’t be more wrong, my friend. I was specifically clear about this subject: the rule is one present for my birthday and another one for Valentine’s Day (I know, poor husband). But this was in the past, I’m not that crazy anymore.
But let’s focus on the recipe! I was reading a great blog, Bless This Mess, and saw this cute and irresistible recipe: a heart-shaped red velvet cheesecake bar. I already said here how much I love cheesy desserts, and this couldn’t be more perfect for Valentine’s Day. I also have to say something about red velvet cakes. I didn’t know this kind of cake; in Brazil we don’t have anything like that. One day I was at the grocery store and saw this beautiful dessert, I couldn’t resist it and decided to give it a try. At home, after dinner, I had a piece of this cake and I was officially in love with it. So yes, this recipe is perfect for me and I was very anxious to try it! It’s beautiful and delicious at the same time.
Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Red Velvet layer:
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil to make it more healthy)
- 4 tablespoons milk, divided
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon red food coloring
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
For the cheesecake layer:
- 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened (I have a confession to make here. I read the recipe wrong and bought just one package of cream cheese. It worked out fine too).
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease with butter or cooking spray a 13×18 jelly roll pan and set aside.
2. In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Mix the ingredients very well.
3. Now, in a small bowl add the eggs, oil, 2 tablespoons of milk, vanilla, food coloring, and white vinegar. Whisk the wet ingredient to combine.
4. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredient and pour the wet ingredients into the center. Mix everything very well, until well combined. The batter will be very thick, almost like cookie dough.
5. Remove about 3/4 of a cup of the batter and put it in a small bowl; set aside. Spread the rest of the batter in the bottom of the jelly roll pan.
6. To make the cheesecake layer, mix the cream cheese and sugar in your stand mixer until well combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Since I don’t have a mixer, I used my blender; worked fine as well. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat another minute until well combined. Spread the cheesecake layer evenly on top of the red velvet layer in the pan.
7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk to the batter that you saved in the small bowl. Use a fork to whisk and combine it well. I put this mixture in a pastry bag and made little hearts (well, I tried at least) on the top of the cheesecake layer. You can also use a ziplock bag, cutting off a little tip of the corner. Be creative and make whatever you want! Next time I’ll do a different design.
Another idea, from the blog Bless This Mess: drop the now thinned batter by small spoonfuls over the cheesecake layer and then use a toothpick to marble the cheesecake and thinned batter together. You just pull the toothpick across the top of the dessert with a bit of a swirling motion. Do this until it is marbled as much as you like.
8. Bake the bars for 30 minutes. Let the bars cool in the pan for 20 minutes before cutting.
And that’s it! It seems like a lot of work, but it really isn’t. It’s very easy to make, just try to control yourself when the smell of the bars starts getting out of the oven, this is truly difficult!
Enjoy and have a great Valentine’s Day!