Courtesy of Cristina Ferrare.
| February 14, 2017

It’s nearly impossible to resist red velvet cake. Moist, fluffy, and bursting with rich, decadent cocoa, it satisfies any sweet tooth, all while impressing with its ruby-hued shade.

But did you know you can make it taste even better by giving it a chocolaty, creamy makeover?

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Cristina Ferrare, the New York Times best-selling author and host of Hallmark Channel’s Emmy-nominated “Home and Family," believes you should be making (and eating) one of the greatest gifts anyone could hope for around Valentine's Day: a swoon-worthy red velvet cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust.

Unlike other red velvet cakes, which highlight artificial food coloring, Ferrare relies on plant-based red food coloring and simple, accessible ingredients to make this super scrumptious treat.

And the icing on this cake? Sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting, of course.

READ: Making an Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake

Hungry yet? Here’s how to make Ferrare’s red velvet cheesecake for your sweetheart:

Surprise Your Sweetheart With a Red Velvet Cheesecake

Cooking Method: 
Bake
Category: 
Dessert
Level: 
Medium
Yield: 
1 cake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 1½ cups oreo cookie crumbs
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

For the Cake:

  • 3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened to room temp.
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsps. unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup whole buttermilk
  • 2½ tsps. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 2 oz. natural plant-based red food coloring

For the Topping:

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Fresh mint sprigs and cranberries, for garnish

Instructions:

Crust:

  1. Mix oreo cookies (crumbled), sugar and melted butter together and press into a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Cake:

  1. Use an electric mixer or stand mixer: on a medium setting, beat together cream cheese and sugar for 1 minute.
  2. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely, and cocoa, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla extract, vinegar and plant-based food dye. Mix on low speed until fully combined.
  3. Pour cake mix into prepared crust.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for 1 hour, or until center is firm.
  5. Remove cheesecake from oven and let cool, in the pan, on a wire rack for 1 hour.
  6. Once cool, loosen edges from pan by inserting a knife around edge.
  7. Cover and chill 8 hours before topping.

Topping:

  1. Beat 3 oz. cream cheese and ¼ cup softened butter on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Sprinkle in powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  3. Spread over top of cooled cheesecake.
  4. Place cheesecake on a serving plate, remove sides of springform pan, and serve.