Introduction: Red Velvet Cheesecake Minis
These mini cheesecakes built for two (or one, c'mon, who are we kidding), are possibly one of the best desserts I've ever made. Combining the classic flavors of red velvet (read: chocolate) with the mild tartness of a cheesecake, we add a decadent Oreo crust (read: more chocolate) to create a very simple, but pretty mind-blowing result.
They're easy to make and only take 30 minutes to crank out. So why not make them your go-to party-pleaser as well? Perfect for a romantic dinner, Valentine's Day, birthdays, or, you know, breakfast (guilty). I've tweaked this recipe from a handful of recipes to create just the balance I like, so you can feel confident tweaking as well! And if you can't get your hands on these adorable heart-shaped silicone molds (which you'll be seeing in several more upcoming recipes in the future), I've included separate baking times for cupcake molds, ramekins, or one large cheesecake.
Please try this recipe out, and let me know what you think in the comments. If you post a picture, I'll send you a sticker!
Step 1: Ingredients
Oreo lovers, rejoice. And if you aren't one, I don't think we can be friends. Using full Oreos (or other chocolate sandwich cookies) in this crust creates a superluxe finish, that admittedly, was a bit too much for me. I've adjusted the recipe to my own tastes below, but I say give the full cookie a go, and see if it doesn't blow out all your chocolate pleasure sensors.
- 30 chocolate cookie wafers (or 10 whole Oreo cookies)
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 12 ounces (340g) cream cheese
- 2 ounces sour cream (57g) you may substitute Greek yogurt, but I prefer the tanginess of the sour cream to balance the sweetness of the rest of the cake)
- 4 ounces (100g) sugar
- 2 ounces (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon (5mL) vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoons red food coloring (20mL) (or 1/4 teaspoon red coloring gel)
- 1 egg to bind them all
- 4 ounces (119mL) heavy whipping cream (or double cream)
- 2 Tablespoons (25g) sugar (caster sugar if you have it)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
So here's the shopping list if you need to copy + print:
- Oreos or chocolate wafer cookies
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese (12 oz - probably two packets)
- Heavy Cream
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Vanilla Extract
- Red food coloring
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Step 2: Materials
I've used a special pan for these cheesecakes, because it's almost Valentine's Day, and what's cuter than red heart-shaped sweets? Ok, kittens and baby pandas, sure. But these are pretty neat too. As I mentioned, you can use other pans too, and I've provided some links below to where I procured mine.
If you don't have these things in your kitchen, there are certainly work-arounds. Everything can be done by hand, but will just take longer. And more muscle. I'd say you could skip the gym after that, but really, you're about to eat chocolate cheesecake, so. . .
- These are the molds I used:
Holy crap, look at these I just found! It comes in a variety of sizes, as small as 4":
I don't need this. I don't need this. I don't need this. . . .
- Food processor– this is what I have:
- Stand mixer – I have this one!
- This beater blade would be super helpful in this recipe, but is a nice-to-have, not need-to-have. A rubber or silicone spatula will also work:
- Cookie scoopto portion out the crusts into the molds (optional)
- Ice cream scoop to portion out the filling (optional)
- Baking sheet to set whatever molds you're using on in the oven
Are pictures a fun addition to this list or completely unnecessary? Let me know what you think!
Step 3: Make the Crust
First preheat your oven to 350F(180C). Grease your molds, whatever they may be. I like to use the butter wrapper to do this.
Now let's make that crust.
1. In a food processor, combine cookies and melted butter, and pulse until they form a fine crumb. If large pieces persist, you might just have to take those out and eat them. Baking is not for the faint of heart.
2. Portion crumb mixture into mold cavities with a cookie scoop.
3. Use something with a flat bottom to press down the mixture into the molds. The little cap in the top of the food processor I have worked perfectly! But a shot glass or a small measuring cup would work as well.
4. Place molds on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, up to 10 for the springform pan.
Step 4: Cheesecake Filling
Once the crusts have baked and come out of the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325F(162C).
1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar until smooth.
2. Add the cocoa powder, and mix on low until combined.
3. Add the vanilla and red food coloring, and mix until well blended.
4. Add the egg, and beat on high until mixture is smooth and glossy!
Step 5: Bake Cheesecake
Use an ice cream scoop to portion out the filling into each of the mold cavities. This ensures that each cheesecake will come out to be approximately the same size, and just makes the process a whole lot tidier.
Place the molds back on the baking sheet. At this point I like to give the baking sheet a few solid thumps on the counter to try and get out any air bubbles. I have no idea if this actually does anything or not. It's fun though.
Bake cheesecakes at the following times depending on your molds:
Heart-shaped molds or ramekins: 15-20 minutes
Cupcake tins: 12-18 minutes
6" springform pan: 30-45 minutes
How do I know when my cheesecake is done?
The cheesecakes are done when the edges are set. The cakes should look as though they have puffed a little and are just beginning to darken. The centers will still be soft and jiggly when the pan is lightly jarred or tapped with a spoon. The retained heat will continue to cook the centers while the cheesecakes are cooling, and once cooled and chilled the centers will be firm and perfect.
Step 6: Whipped Cream Frosting
Once the cheesecakes have cooled for at least an hour (I know, right? That's like FOREVER), prepare your topping.
In a large bowl (chilled, if you wanna get fancy), beat together cream, sugar, and vanilla on high until soft peaks form. If you go too far and create something too firm, just add a little more cream and try again.
Use a spatula to transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag or plastic sandwich bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe heart shapes onto the top of your cakes. I then used a knife to smooth the cream, but it's up to you.
If you're not using heart molds, you can just spoon dollops of the whipped cream onto the tops and call it good.
Step 7: Enjoy
I hope you've had a good time making these mini red velvet cheesecakes (or even just looking at the pictures). They keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week, and in the freezer (minus the whipped cream!) for a month! So make up a batch, eat one and freeze the rest if you fancy. Because any day is a day to treat yo self.