Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake

I first came across this cake – although, perhaps monster would be a better description? – at the Cheesecake Factory in Kansas City, Missouri.

Three of my closest girlfriends and I had spent the day driving (okay, I napped) to Kansas City, screaming our lungs out at Schlitterbahn Waterpark, and doing some pre-dinner shopping at the plaza. Basically, we were four really hungry girls on a mission: dessert first. As we started to peruse the cheesecake section of the menu, we came across a picture of this cake. I think I may have screamed.

The Cheesecake Factory’s version of this cake consists of two layers of their original cheesecake on top of two layers of red velvet cake . . . so I guess my cake is short one cheesecake layer. I would say sorry, but I can’t bring myself to apologize for this level of genius. Although, really, the genius belongs to Recipe Girl, who came up with a brilliant recipe for the cake.

I only modified this a tiny bit, substituting greek yogurt for sour cream (still delicious), and unsweetened applesauce for almost half of the oil. Props to my excellent baking buddy Lauren for noticing the monstrous amount of oil, prompting me to run to the fridge for my unsweetened applesauce stockpile.

Oh, also, if you happen to accidentally leave the eggs out of the cheesecake (not that this happened to me)? I have it on pretty good authority that it will still be delicious. But don’t try that at home!

Lauren and I actually made this cake for our friend Allen’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Allen!), and I think it was pretty well received. Not that it really mattered to us. We decided early on that birthdays are just an excuse to bake our favorite cakes, so . . . I didn’t even check if Allen liked red velvet cake. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Speaking of happy occasions, though, my friend Kat – the same one who toured Paris with me, and was on the Kansas City Cheesecake Factory trip – just got engaged yesterday! Congratulations!!!! So I think this cake is pretty much the best luck in the world. And who can say no to that?

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Pumpkin Spiderweb Cheesecake

Since Halloween is an occasion traditionally associated with food (and yes, candy totally qualifies!), I – for once – don’t feel totally crazy about my food rants today. Such as the fact that I most definitely went trick-or-treating senior year of high school…after I told my parents I was going to study for the SAT IIs. Whoops? And then things seriously went south after my mom found a huge bag of candy in my closet. I really need to improve my hiding skills. And lying skills (maybe not?).

Or, the fact that Chipotle used to give out free burritos if you dressed up like a burrito on Halloween! I am convinced that if Chipotle had reserved the free burritos for those completely wrapped in tinfoil (like me – with green tissue paper for lettuce!), the free burrito deal would still be alive. Alas, it was not meant to be.

Thankfully, there are many more ways to get your food fix in on Halloween. And since amazing Halloween recipes (like this…or this!) have been popping up on all over the place, I decided it was time to give it a try. Unfortunately, my dessert decorating skills (as opposed to my dessert eating skills) are a bit below par. I generally try to dress up my desserts with sprinkles, cover mistakes with frosting, or, in severely desperate cases, drizzle melted chocolate on top as a distraction.

Um yeah sorry about all those finger marks…

When I came upon this picture of spiderweb cheesecake, however, I thought it looked pretty doable. What I didn’t factor into the picture was my running out of chocolate chips! Like, completely out. Which, considering the amount of chocolate chips I buy and the number of chocolate chip bags in the pantry only two weeks ago, is absolutely ridiculous.

So, I used a glaze…to initially good, and later abysmal (like when it started running all over my cheesecake) effects. That is why, though I used a glaze, I recommend using ganache, like Martha Stewart (the best) did.

I used my Mom’s recipe for cheesecake, which is a long-time family favorite that pops up every Thanksgiving! She actually got the recipe from her friend Anita (if you’re reading this, thank you for introducing this cheesecake into my life!). Trust me, it’s absolutely delicious. Continue reading