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Red Velvet and Strawberry Trifles with Cheesecake Filling
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Red Velvet and Strawberry Trifles with Cheesecake Filling

For the most part, Kyle and I agree on pretty much everything that comes out of our kitchen.  It makes for pretty easy living in this house and loads of fun when I menu plan and decide on what kind of sweets to bake.  The only recent exception to this lovely mutually agreeable relationship is cream cheese frosting.  While I can eat the tangy frosting with a spoon, Kyle can take it or leave it.  And yet I keep making it not because I forget how he feels about it, but because I think I can change his mind with different recipes.  It never works.

Red Velvet and Strawberry Trifles with Cheesecake Filling

So when I made red velvet cupcakes last weekend, I ended up with a few extra frosted cupcakes and a moment of panic about what to do with them since I knew Kyle wasn’t about to bring Valentine’s cupcakes to his construction site at work.  It took me all of about .2 seconds to decide what needed to be done: repurpose them!  I scraped off the frosting (did you really just question what happened to it?), cubed up the cupcakes, sliced some fresh strawberries, and pulled together a no-bake cheesecake filling for some Valentine’s Day trifles.  And when I tell you that we both swooned with the first bite, I’m not kidding.  The silky filling has a touch of lemon that blends perfectly with the strawberries and soaks into the cake layers after a day-long refrigeration, resulting in a decadent and brightly-flavored dessert that would make the perfect ending to any sort of Valentine’s Day celebration.  We were hoping to celebrate this year in our new home but after another delay (?!*$), these trifles will be the perfect way to be celebrate how happy we are together, regardless of the situation.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
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Red Velvet Cupcakes

It’s known far and wide around the interwebs that anything red velvet is humungously popular around Valentine’s day and strangely enough after almost 5 years of blogging, I’ve yet to post a red velvet cake recipe.  So after quite a few reader requests in the past couple of weeks for a great red velvet scratch cake recipe, I decided it was about time to share.  And believe me, it wasn’t like you guys had to twist my arm!  I scoured a few recipes on Pinterest and my favorite blogs and decided on this one since it’s made with both buttermilk and vinegar to boost the tang that is so beloved in red velvet cake.  Topped with a swirled dollop of silky cream cheese frosting, these red velvet cupcakes are an outstanding way to say “I Love You” to the hunnies in your life.  And yes, if you’re thinking about making a layer cake instead of cupcakes, Annie says that it’s a great recipe for that too – just grease three 8-inch pans, divide the batter, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
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Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

For the past three weeks I’ve been craving a yellow butter cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.  This post obviously isn’t about that cake.  It’s about these Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Frosting that I nearly had to wipe the drool off of my keyboard from when I came across the recipe.  A chewy, dense, bright red (and in my opinion, all red velvet should be) brownie topped with a fluffy white chocolate buttercream frosting that actually tastes like the white chocolate I fell in love with as a child.  These are the type of brownies that will make your old Aunt Rhonda kick herself for not thinking to bring to the church picnic before her old rival, Harriett, did just that.  They’ll make people swoon and clamor over each other for seconds.  You’ll watch these babies disappear and will beam with delight.

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I’ve only made one other red velvet recipe in my lifetime and I had forgotten about the destructive power of red food coloring so be prepared to go slowly when it comes time to add it in.  Fortunately, the recipe seems to compress the mess because you’ll stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and some vanilla into a paste that you’ll add to the batter rather than pouring all of the food coloring into a whirling mixer.  That’s a disaster waiting to happen.  The white chocolate frosting is insanely sweet and I almost thought it was too sweet but by the next day, the white chocolate flavor seemed to blossom and the sweetness had diminished just a tad.  Because of this, I highly recommend making the frosting a day or two in advance and sticking it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake the brownies; it will need to come to room temperature and will likely need a good stir before you’ll be able to frost.  Whatever you do though, don’t wait another millisecond to make these.   You’ll be kicking yourself when they show up at your next party and someone else will be doing all the beaming.

[9.2.11 Update] Note: I’ve edited the bake time of the recipe below to better reflect the comments people have left about the brownies being undercooked at 30 minutes.  All ovens vary so use your best judgement and the toothpick test to ensure doneness.

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 65 minutes

Yield: 12 brownies

Ingredients

    For the brownies:
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 oz red food coloring (or a scant 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the white chocolate buttercream frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 oz good-quality white chocolate (not chips), melted - I recommend Callebaut
  • 1 - 2 tbsp heavy cream

Instructions

  1. To make the brownies: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8"x8" baking pan.
  2. In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla into a thick paste until no lumps of cocoa remain. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla. With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color. Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn't anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl. You'll want one uniformly colored (red) batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes. Frost brownies in the pan, cut into 12 bars, and serve, or remove the entire batch from the pan to a cutting board, cut into 12 bars, frost, and serve.
  6. To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time; allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add in heavy cream 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.

Source

source: adapted from How Sweet It Is

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2011/06/red-velvet-brownies-with-white-chocolate-buttercream-frosting/