Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake Layer Cake
Many things in life are a hassle: doctor’s appointments, any kind of encounter with government or corporate bureaucracy, opening plastic packaging. Making a cake shouldn’t fall into that category.
I don’t need it to be fast – or easy. Just not frustrating or aggravating. Many culinary tasks have a learning curve – boning a duck, stuffing a sausage, even chopping an onion. You won’t (or at least I didn’t) get it right the first time – but by the forth, you’re relaxed and confident. No more tears.
Not so much with me and cakes. It’s not the baking – but the decorating. I’ve been making cakes for a long time, and I still find the assembly process to be hit or miss – mostly miss. I have a reputation among my friends for giant, freaky looking, leaning cakes. Every now and then, I produce a winner, but it’s almost always a triumph of taste over presentation.
Usually, I’m okay with that. As I’ve said before, I really am all about flavor.
But in the back of my mind, I still have a vision for a perfect cake – a birthday cake, maybe a wedding cake. I want to be the person my friends and family think of for cakes that have a wow factor for flavor and visual elegance.
It’s a work in progress. I’ve learned to split layers, level cakes, cut them round, and to use a crumb coat for every frosting. I finally bought a decent pastry bag. I’m ready to admit that I really do care.
January is a month with three important birthdays in my small world. And this year I was determined to make a least one attractive cake. I’ve had a chocolate cake with beets in mind ever since I read Nigel Slater’s recipe for one in Tender. I’ve been researching Red Velvet cake too – which was probably all about red food coloring from the beginning. But I’m not, so the beets seem like a good solution.
And then I found this cake on Une-Deux Senses. Funny too, because I’m actually not a white chocolate fan, but the combination of white chocolate cheesecake and dark chocolate cake layers really rang my bell. I’ve made my adaptation twice now – and it came out beautifully both times. I didn’t need to cover it with nuts to hide the imperfections, or make any excuses for it.
It’s really a no hassle assembly job; the baked cake layers aren’t high enough to need a split – it’s a dense, rich cake, the white chocolate frosting is one of the easiest I’ve ever worked with, and the cheesecake layer ties it all together, without any fuss or stress. And of course, the color scheme is a natural for Valentines’ Day – as long as you plan to feed a crowd.