I know red velvet cake is just a chocolate cake with food coloring in it, but there’s something about it that never fails to disappoint. Similarly, these red velvet cheesecake brownies are absolute show stoppers. The creamy cheesecake topping combined with the fudgy chocolate brownie makes for a dessert you absolutely need second helpings of.
Tips for making red velvet cheesecake brownies
Use high-quality ingredients — Because these red velvet cheesecake brownies are so easy to make, it’s important that you’re using the best quality ingredients possible. Choose a dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cacao, and buy real vanilla extract if it’s within your budget. These seemingly small details can be game changers when baking!
Use unsalted butter — As a rule of thumb, you should always use unsalted butter whenever you’re making a baked good (unless the recipe specifies salted, of course). You almost always have to add a pinch of salt into a cookie or cake recipe to help bring out the flavors of whatever you’re making, but if you use salted butter the salty/sweet balance might get messed up.
Bake until the cheesecake layer is set — I’m all about under baking brownies to make them super fudgy, but with these red velvet cheesecake brownies you should really bake them until the cheesecake layer on top is fully set. If you don’t, these brownies might not slice properly and I honestly don’t know how under baking them would affect the taste.
How to store red velvet cheesecake brownies
I recommend keeping these homemade brownies in the fridge since they have the cheesecake layer on top. They should keep fairly fresh for 4 to 5 days if kept in an airtight container. If the brownies get a little stale, heat them up in the microwave and top them with a scoop of ice cream. No one will notice if they’re a little dry this way! Oh, and these brownies would taste especially amazing drizzled with fudge sauce, I’m just saying.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Batter should be red. If a brighter red is desired, add an additional 1/2 tsp food coloring.
Add flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Next, prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled. Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.