Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Taking Red Velvet to A New Level: Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cheesecake Filling and Mascarpone Frosting
When my friend Yanni called me the other day (more like a few weeks ago :P) and asked if I would be able to make a birthday cake for two of her bible study group friends, I couldn't say no (I don't think I'd ever could). She specifically asked for a red velvet cake, which was making me paused for a second there as I wouldn't expect her to pick that cake. Red Velvet Cake is a type of American cake and I was never a fan of a dense (although it's moist) cake, with loads of food coloring added, encased in painfully sweet cream cheese frosting. If you read my blog regularly, you would know that I'm all about soft, spongy and light cake that won't make you feel sick after eating it, but more like a palate cleanser. Nothing against American cakes though as I really think it can be good as long as it is not super sweet (blame my Asian heritage :D).
So I asked her if she would be okay if I put some twist on the cake, meaning that it won't be the traditional red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but something lighter and hopefully better :). She gave me all the freedom to twist it all I want (thanks Yanny, you're the best!) since her bible study group is a dessert lover, they will gobble anything as long as it tastes good :).
As soon as she said ok, my mind started to work hard trying to come up with something good. I googled red velvet cake and see what other people had came up with. While most of them made it with the traditional cream cheese frosting, I found one or two people that were trying to replicate "Stefanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake" from Cheesecake Factory. I have never had it before but the idea sounds really intriguing. Imagine a cheesecake layer sandwiched in the middle of two moist red velvet cake. So I took the idea and tried to come up with my own twist, but still not taking all of the traditional elements of red velvet cake. I wanted to incorporate white chocolate, cream cheese, mascarpone, and heavy cream instead of butter for the frosting, but it sounds like there's a lot going on in one cake. But I made it anyway :D and finally came up with red velvet cake with white chocolate cheesecake filling in the middle and frosted with a combination of cream cheese and mascarpone frosting lightened with whipped cream.
This would be the second time I'm making red velvet cake and after a few days of research of the history and quite a few different recipes, I decided to recreate "Cakeman Raven" RVC recipe. I actually watched the episode where I think it was a throwdown and he won. I made the RVC the first time using the same recipe actually, but it wasn't what I expected since it turned out to be a salty RVC. Yes, I totally forgot to put the sugar in :P and everything ended up in a trash. But from what I have remembered, the textured was actually pretty good, not too dense and moist. I baked the white chocolate cheesecake first and after cooling in the fridge overnight, I transferred it to the freezer so that it would be easier to unmold (I used regular cake pan to bake the cheesecake in).
Since it was pretty cold lately, the frosting firmed up quickly. The cream cheese won't soften as much as during summer time and even after I microwaved it and beat it for a few minutes, it was still cold and it makes it harder for me to fold the whipped cream in. The end textured looked like a firm cream cheese frosting which makes it easier to frost as it's not runny. I thought I would need a cake ring to hold it in place until the frosting firmed up in the fridge overnight, but no need. I covered the sides with white chocolate shavings and topped it with white chocolate curls. It's my first time that I was successful in making white chocolate curls (thanks to winter weather :D). I used my marble board to do it although you can also use the back of a sheet pan. I didn't even have to refrigerate it, I just let it sit at room temperature (which as about 60-63F in my kitchen that morning) until I felt it was the right texture. It needs some trial and error for you to determine the right consistency or temperature of the chocolate to be curled up. I can't wait to do this with dark chocolate when I'm making something chocolaty.
I added red maraschino cherry to add some color to it. The idea was to make it christmas-themed. The white chocolate was supposed to represent the snow, and the red cherry was just a christmas color and to make the whole thing popped. I don't know if I executed correctly though :). I really don't know what the inside looked like as I forgot to ask Yanni to take a picture of it. But I have some red velvet cake left and some cheesecake filling that are now sitting peacefully in the fridge. I'm just waiting for the right time to make it :).