I found this yummy recipe featured on Recipe Girl. I first tried Red Velvet Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory, it has been my favorite cheesecake flavor ever since, along with Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple, Cookie Dough & Chocolate Mousse. I was searching for recipes, and I found this one to be the best and most appropriate because it was the easiest to understand for all levels of experience.
RED VELVET CHEESECAKE
17 regular-sized Oreo cookies, crushed finely (or 1½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs)
¼ cup butter, melted
1 Tbs granulated sugar
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbs unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
Two 1-ounce bottles red food coloring
One 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
heavy duty foil
1. Prepare crust: Stir together Oreo crumbs, melted butter, and 1 Tbsp. 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.
*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.