Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
Enjoy a decadent and beautiful dessert this Valentine’s Day! Red velvet cheesecake brownies are fudgy, creamy and delicious. They make the perfect treat for your partner, but these bars would also be popular at a Galentine’s Day party with your girl friends!
I love pairing two desserts into one. You might even consider this three desserts in one! You have homemade brownies, cheesecake and red velvet combined into one delicious treat. The cheesecake swirl on top of these red velvet brownies creates a stunning marbled effect that tastes as good as it looks!
Why this recipe works
It’s an easy recipe that combines three desserts into one! The flavor and texture combination is something your tastebuds will love. The brownies are soft and chewy while the cheesecake is rich and moist. This recipe also makes the perfect Valentine’s Day treat.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter that is melted and slightly cooled.
- Cocoa powder: Unsweetened cocoa powder is best for baking. I prefer the Ghirardelli brand.
- Red food coloring: I prefer gel food coloring. It’s more concentrated so you need less, but liquid food coloring may also be used.
- White vinegar: This acidic ingredient leavens the batter and reacts with the cocoa powder to enhance the red color. It also helps preserve the red color after the brownies have baked.
- Cream cheese: Block style cream cheese is best for baking. It is thicker with less air, which makes a creamy, rich cheesecake topping.
If you prefer not to use food coloring, you can omit it and have regular brownies swirled with cheesecake topping. You can also use a different color, such as green for St. Patricks’ Day!
If cheesecake isn’t your favorite, then you can skip the cheesecake topping and make plain red velvet brownies (baking time will be 20 to 25 minutes). Feel free to mix in 1/2 cup white chocolate chips or nuts to the batter for extra flavor. You can also top them with cream cheese frosting or buttercream frosting.
This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13 pan. Baking time will be the same!
How to make red velvet cheesecake brownies
- Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- Combine wet ingredients. Whisk together melted butter and sugar until shiny. Add eggs and whisk vigorously until frothy.
- Mix in red food gel, white distilled vinegar and vanilla until incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix just until combined. Set aside ¼ cup batter. Pour remaining batter in 8×8 baking pan.
- Make the cheesecake topping. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add egg yolk, sugar and vanilla. Mix until combined.
- Transfer cheesecake mixture to pan. Spread into an even layer.
- Drop spoonfuls of reserved batter on top. Use a knife to swirl the batter into the cream cheese layer.
- Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting and serving.
Use a kitchen scale for accurate measuring. If you don’t have a scale, spoon your flour into a measuring cup and level it with a knife (don’t pack it into the cup). Do the same for the cocoa powder.
Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature. It makes it much easier to mix and guarantees and creamy texture. Use block style if you can (it’s thicker and has less air in it).
Let the brownies cool completely before cutting and serving. I find it helpful to wipe the knife after each cut so the bars have a clean edges. Cheesecake brownies are good to serve at room temperature for 2 hours, but you can also serve them chilled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, after they have completely cooled, wrap the bars in plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.
Yes, however the red color may not be as vibrant.
I have not tried this, but it should work! Whisk in the powder with the dry ingredients.
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Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
- ½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring, or 2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
Cream Cheese Swirl
- 1 cup (226 g or 8 oz) block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, either by hand or using an electric mixer, whisk together melted butter and sugar until well combined and shiny. Add eggs and whisk vigorously until frothy. Add food gel, white distilled vinegar and vanilla, and mix until incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just until combined (don’t overmix).
- Set aside ¼ cup batter. Pour remaining batter in prepared baking pan. Spread evenly.
- For the cream cheese topping, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add egg, sugar and vanilla. Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
- Drop dollops of cream cheese mixture onto prepared brownie batter. Spread into an even layer. Drop spoonfuls of reserved batter on top. Use a knife to swirl the batter into the cream cheese layer.
- Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before cutting and serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Inspired by allrecipes.