Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies.

Decadent red velvet brownies swirled with cheesecake.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today was the first time I’ve ever made a red velvet dessert before. Actually, my first time was on Friday. I’ve made these brownies twice in the past 3 days.

Yes, they’re that good.

Truth be told, the first time I’ve ever really loved a red velvet a dessert was last year at my friend’s wedding. Before then, I’ve never really been too impressed. It’s hard to do red velvet just right and it just never really appealed to me before. Red velvet can be an unappetizing brownish red color, too scary looking with a creepy red color, or just taste sort of bland. I’d rather eat my calories in the form of funfetti!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent! sallysbakingaddiction.com

But at my friend’s wedding last year, I was converted.  I was stuffed to the brim with chocolate chip cannolis, king crab legs, and multiple visits to a sushi bar (!!!), that I hardly had any room for a piece of red velvet wedding cake. But I knew I’d regret not tasting it.

Bite after bite, I fell in love. Deep red cake that wasn’t quite chocolate and not quite vanilla, with each crumb enveloped with a thick layer of sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting… it was pure heaven. 🙂

After months and months deciding what kind of homemade red velvet recipe would be my first, I finally settled on a swirly brownie recipe. I found the recipe on the Food Network. Since I’ve never made a red velvet dessert before, it would have been nearly impossible to develop one myself.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent! sallysbakingaddiction.com

For those unfamiliar with red velvet, let me take you through a quick briefing about what this gorgeous little dessert flavor is like. Traditional red velvet desserts aren’t vanilla flavored or chocolate flavored. They are a combination of the two with a slightly tart tang from the buttermilk used in most recipes. Red velvet cake is sort of like a dense buttery vanilla cake with a mild chocolate flavor. And when it’s done right, it’s darn good.

Today’s brownies are basically a fudgy chocolate brownie with lots of buttery vanilla flavors; I wasn’t up for making a lavish red velvet cake just yet. The brownie batter is red, dyed with red food coloring and a touch of white vinegar to make the red stand out against all the cocoa powder. They are beautifully swirled with sweet cream cheese and are quite dense like a typical brownie.

Chocolate, vanilla, and cream cheese swirls… no wonder I’ve made these twice in 3 days!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent! sallysbakingaddiction.com

These brownies are so easy to make and are the perfect recipe for red velvet beginners.  First, melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.  Combine it with white sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, red food coloring, white vinegar, and 2 eggs.  Stir everything together by hand.

You will use 1 full Tablespoon of red food coloring in these brownies. The butter and cocoa powder mixed together are quite a dark brown, so it’s imperative to use quite a bit of liquid or gel food coloring to dye the batter the right shade of red.  White vinegar is used to enhance the red color against all the brown. You’ll smell the vinegar as you add it, but you will not taste it at all. In fact, I even lowered the amount called for in the recipe just to be sure.

I am not a fan of brownish red velvet desserts (so unappetizing!), so I was pleased to see just how vibrant red the batter was in this step.  *Be sure to wash your dishes immediately after mixing the batter together to avoid staining.

Mix in 3/4 cup of flour into the brownie batter. Remember, the more flour used in a brownie recipe, the more cake-like the brownie texture will be. I like to use as little flour as possible because I like my brownies quite dense and fudgy.  If I want a cake-like brownie, I will just eat a piece of chocolate cake!  Lots of melted butter, 2 eggs, and very little flour is a recipe for a successful fudgy brownie.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Next up is the cream cheese swirl. Isn’t it just gorgeous against the red brownie?  Red velvet and cream cheese go hand in hand. Typical red velvet cakes are frosted with tangy, sweet cream cheese frosting.  We’re recreating the same idea with these brownies.

The cream cheese swirl is SO simple to make.  Whip out your hand-held electric mixer and beat one 8-oz package of softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg yolk, and vanilla extract.  Beat everything together until completely smooth.

Pour almost all of the red velvet batter into the baking pan, leaving a few Tablespoons behind.  Dollop with the cream cheese mixture, then scoop the last couple of Tablespoons of brownie batter on top.  Note: I topped the cream cheese mounds with more red velvet brownie batter because I was afraid so much cream cheese on top would brown in the oven. The picture below is before I covered with more red velvet batter FYI!

Swirl it all together with a knife.  Now wasn’t that easy?

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Bake time!  The brownies take about 30 minutes in the oven at 350F.

The hardest part about today’s recipe? Waiting for the brownies to cool before digging in!  Smelling them as they bake and then waiting to eat one is pure torture, I tell ya.

The whole recipe is so easy to throw together, taking about 10 minutes for the entire process before putting them into the oven.  I was actually shocked how little time they took to make and wondered if I did something wrong.  No worries, they are supposed to be easy!  I also love that they make a small batch – only 16 brownies in an 8×8 baking pan.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. Decadent, moist, & indulgent! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Having made these brownies twice in 3 days, one would think I would be all red-velveted out, but that’s certainly not the case. I am now in love with red velvet and can’t wait to make more homemade recipes with this distinctive color and flavor.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make! 

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Chewy, moist, decadent red velvet brownies swirled with cheesecake.

Ingredients:

Red Velvet Brownies

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid or gel red food coloring
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)

Cheesecake Swirl

  • 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Make the brownie layer first. In a small bowl, beat the 2 eggs together. Set aside. Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar. Mix each of those ingredients into the batter in that order. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan, leaving about 3-4 Tablespoons for the top.

Make the cheesecake swirl. With a hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl until completely smooth - about 1 minute. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter. Cover with the last few Tablespoons of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern.

Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover brownies and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

*To double the recipe for a large batch, simply double all the ingredients and bake in a 9x13 pan for around 45 minutes - give or take. Same oven temperature.

Adapted from Food Network, with a few changes.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

 

A few similar brownie/bar recipe you’ll just love:

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Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies by sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

Caramel Snickers 7 Layer Bars

Snickers 7 Layer Bars-2

 

Triple Chocolate Pretzel Brownies

Double Fudge Pretzel Brownies

 

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

 

See more brownie & bar recipes.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

 

 

363 comments

  1. I loved these oh my god! my only issue was that they came out pretty mushy and not really like the photo. still edible, and great, but it fell apart very liquidy in my guests hands. (they still loved it though) I think it might be because of the flour. I put the exact measurements but I dont think it was enough. any way to make it better?

  2. Is it alright if I make the batter/cream cheese, and let it chill in the fridge for a while before baking? I have two events to go to, have to bring food to the second one, and not a lot of time in between them. I’d like to be able to make the batter before event #1, then come home and pop them in the oven.

  3. This recipe was perfect and they were a hit! It does come out mushy but you have to make sure they cool COMPLETELY and they will harden and take their shape before you start cutting into these beauties. Thanks so much for sharing this Sally!

  4. Hi Sally! I’d Like to know how do you cut them so perfectly! I have tried with every kind of knife but the brownie always sticks to the knife and makes a mess 

    • Maria, maybe they are a little underbaked still? Despite the cheesecake filling, they should still be a little easy to cut with a super sharp knife.

  5. Hi Sally!

    My brownie mixture was very thick, but the cheesecake mixture wasn’t almost the opposite.  Can you think of anything I can do to get them a bit more even?

    Cheers!

    • Dan, did you use brick style cream cheese– like the kind you unwrap? That should make the cream cheese mixture super thick.

      • While it wasn’t fashioned into a brick, the cream cheese I used wasn’t the spreadable kind.  Maybe I shouldn’t cheap out and use Philly next time.

  6. Hi Sally,
    Just wanted to let you know that I made these this weekend as a Valentine’s treat, and they turned out great. The food coloring I bought didn’t come out quite to 1 T but it was enough and they were a great shade of red. The only thing I did was add some semi sweet chocolate chunks to the red velvet batter. Other than that I followed the instructions to a T, and they got rave reviews! Thanks for another great recipe; your blog is becoming my go-to. 🙂

  7. Hi Sally, thank you for this recipe. I am wondering if you have any tips for perfecting the swirl aspect? I don’t like how much cheesecake was on top of my brownies, they did not come out looking as beautiful as yours.  Would reducing the amount of cheese topping help? Thanks!

    • Try saving some red velvet brownie batter and pouring it on top of some of the cheesecake layer. That way, there won’t be as much cheesecake exposed after you swirl.

  8. I cut into these a little too soon and while they were still warm and I was disappointed at the cheesecake layer because it was mushy and overall didn’t taste very appetizing…

    But after putting them in the fridge overnight, they taste so much better! I guess I forgot these aren’t your typical gooey chocolate brownies that you can eat fresh out of the oven… The cheesecake component has to be set and cold and taste great when they are! Thanks for sharing Sally. 🙂

  9. Hi, is it possible to substitute cream cheese to white chocolate? If I do, is it too much sweet? 

  10. Hi Sally, my brownies turned out to be really fudgy/paste-like and it wasn’t cake-like at all. I thought it wasn’t done and put it back in the oven a few times, a total of about 25 minutes extra. It was still very soft, more like fudge than brownie(though it tasted really awesome). Is that how the texture is supposed to be? 

    Also, does it matter if you put your baking tin on a tray or a grill rack in the oven? I have been using the tray, but I’m wondering if that means less heat gets to the batter so it can’t bake properly. 

    • I always, always recommend a grill rack. And it sounds like your brownies were underbaked. I know the texture you’re referring too– almost too wet-like, right? They’re underbaked.

  11. Hey Sally! I have made this recipe about 5 times and people LOVE it. I am about to make it again tonight but I have a couple questions for you. 1) my cheesecake swirl always ends up a little yellow from the egg yolk and a little browned from the oven, any advice? Thank you!! 🙂 

  12. I made these for an event at the high school and they were fabulous!  This recipe is a keeper.  I’ll be using it over and over and over.  They came out perfect.

  13. Can i leave out the vinegar?  Or can i use something else in its place 

  14. Hi! Can I use unsalted white butter for this recipe?

  15. I’m just wondering why you didn’t use baking soda in this recipe. 

  16. Hi! I have never made a red velvet cake that works out well and your brownies look so darn good! Do you have a red velvet cake recipe? I want to make a cake for my bf bday and it will have a game of thrones decoration on top and I need it to be a cake.. Also, and even if you don’t have the recipe, what do u reccomend? To put a cream cheese filling or to use your recipe of egg yolk cream cheese and sugar and put it all in the oven? I think it’s better like you did it but then again idk if it’ll work on a cake 🙁 please help! 

  17. Hi, made red velvet brownies before but I didn’t use the vinegar? Is it okay if I leave it out?

  18. Loved your recipe! If I’d to make the cheesecake batter ahead of time by keeping it in the refregerator, can I use it straight for baking while it was still cold? Do I need to ensure the cheesecake batter is at room temperature before use?

  19. My top layer shrink from the edges after it was completely cooled. Does it mean is underbaked? It rise nicely when is out from oven but after cooled, the edges was not at the same length with the bottom half (example top layer width was 5cm each corner but base was 6cm width)

    Also, if I noticed the bottom of the baking paper has noticeable red color after removing the brownies, does it mean is underbaked too?

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