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Sunday December 14, 2008

Cheesecakes for Christmas: Red Velvet Cheesecake

RedVelvet Cheesecake by Catherine Lau

Beetroot sponge

  • 335g superfine cake flour (also known as high-ratio or low-protein flour)
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt
  • 4 Grade A eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 335ml vegetable oil, warmed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla flavouring
  • 120ml beetroot juice from 1 large beetroot mixed with
  • 2 teaspoons bright red colouring (optional)
  • 250ml buttermilk (or 230ml milk mixed with 20ml lemon juice, left to stand for 10 minutes)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cream cheese filling

  • 450ml whipping cream, chilled
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 500g cream cheese at room temperature, chopped
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
  • 45ml water mixed with 7g gelatine powder (or 10g for a firmer filling), dissolved in a double boiler for 10 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons Irish cream or Jamaican dark rum cocoa powder, for dusting

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease, line with parchment, and grease again 3 round 25x2.5cm (10”x1”) cake pans.

To prepare beetroot sponge: Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together. Whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is thick and creamy, slowly adding the warm oil, vanilla and beetroot juice. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed, alternating with the buttermilk or milk-and-lemon juice mixture in three batches. Scrape the sides of the bowl during mixing so that mixture is well-combined.

Mix bicarbonate of soda and vinegar in a small bowl, then add to the mixture with the mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Divide the cake mixture evenly among the baking pans and place in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 160°C and bake for 15 minutes until cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 20 minutes; remove and cool cakes completely. Slice the top crust off to level (if necessary), and trim about 1cm around the edge (so that it will leave a gap round the pan when assembled into the 25x8cm or 10x3” pan).

To prepare cream cheese filling: Whisk the whipping cream and icing sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.

Beat cream cheese on medium speed until light and creamy. Add icing sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the gelatine mixture, then fold in the whipped cream and the Irish cream or rum. Divide into three equal portions.

To assemble cake: Place a cake layer in a 25x8cm or 10x3” pan and spread 1 portion of the cheese mixture over it evenly, and down the sides. Place a second layer of sponge on top and spread another portion of cheese mixture on the top and down the sides.

Repeat with the third layer of sponge, spreading the remaining cheese mixture over the cake evenly and down the side using a spatula. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove cake from the refrigerator and set aside for about 10 minutes before loosening the pan; remove pan.

Dust cake with cocoa powder. Cut and serve.

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