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! 

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Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 16 brownies
  • Category: Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

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 pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid red food coloring*
  • 3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Cheesecake Swirl

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

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray 8×8 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Double Batch: Simply double all the ingredients and bake in a 9×13 pan for around 45 minutes – give or take. Same oven temperature.
  3. If using gel food coloring, reduce to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons.
  4. Adapted from Food Network, with a few changes.

Keywords: red velvet cheesecake brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

71 Comments

  1. Hi I’ve just made a gluten and dairy free version and oh my gosh it’s so yummy

    1. Nichole Bertram says:

      I am curious about what type of flour you used to make it gluten free. 🙂

  2. Thanks a bunch for this recipe Sally . I am on my way to make it . I feel ‘clicked’ reading every single word above, like so suprised finding out a recipe i have been looking for this lately.

  3. Happy Abdul Karim says:

    If I’m planning to double the recipe for a 9×13 tray, for the cheesecake swirl part, can I use 1 whole egg or does it have to be 2 egg yolks? Thanks!

    1. Stick with 2 yolks!

  4. Really wanted these to be great, but this was another miss for me and my unsuccessful brownie baking. The inside was wobbly after baking 30 min and a toothpick definitely didn’t come out clean so I continued baking and checking for a total of 38 min. After completely cooling on a wire rack at room temperature overnight, I cut into the brownies and they were more cake-like in texture – read overdone. Other reviewers commented about them being too mushy but I would’ve preferred that texture over this; should’ve trusted my own instincts. Bummer. Recommend baking 30-32 min and trusting they will be good if left to completely cool for several hours.

  5. Hi Sally! I’d like to make half of this recipe. How long should I bake it? And should I stick to the same temperature? Thank you!

    1. If you cut this in half you can try making it in a loaf pan. The baking time would be shorter but I’m unsure of the exact time.

      1. I appreciate the tip. Many thanks again!

  6. I usually love your recipes but this one didn’t really work out for me. They tasted OK but I wanted nice pretty square brownies and these wouldn’t cut nicely or even come out of the pan and they just crumbled/mushed. They were like squishy/mushy and dry and crumbly almost at the same time. Impossible to cut into squares that looked nice and when I tried to remove my messy squares from the pan, only the cheesecake layer woulc come up (mushing into a big crumbly mess), while the red velvet brownie layer was totally stuck to the pan and impossible to get off. I have good non-stick baking pans (not old and rusty) and I used plenty of non-stick spray to line the pan, just as you said in the instructions. Disappointing because I’ll have to make something else for my event, as I can’t serve these to guests.

  7. Parimala Stephens says:

    Hi Sally! I made these delicious brownies for my co-worker’s birthday last week and it was such a huge hit with him and his wife that they asked me to bake them again for their son’s birthday! If I used a disposable aluminum baking pan, would I have to change anything about the baking temp or time? I have have made these twice already using my 8×8 pyrex glass dish.

    1. The bake time and temperature won’t really change. If anything, they may be done a couple minutes earlier so keep a close eye on them.

  8. Hi sally,

    I have made these recipe multiple times and has always been the crowd favorite. I’m planning to serve it in my son’s christening. May I replace the red with blue color? Do you think it will turn bluish if mixed with brown?

    Thanks!
    Lea

    1. Hi Lea, happy to help. I fear the blue color won’t be as vibrant but you can definitely try it. Some color will show up for sure.

  9. Loveeee this recipe. Taste amazingggg. Totally hooked on brownie now

  10. Shona-Lee Thompson says:

    Hi Sally,

    If I want it to be chocolate (without using a chocolate bar) and not red velvet, could I decrease the vanilla to 1tsp, increase the cocoa to 1/3 or 1/2 cup & add 2 tbsps of water to make up for the liquid from the vinegar and food colouring?

    1. You can adapt any of my chocolate swirl brownies to with this cheesecake swirl! For example use my Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake brownies but leave out the peppermint extract and green food coloring.

  11. Shona-Lee Thompson says:

    Hi Sally, would you recommend doubling this and baking in a 9 by 13 pan? Or doing 2 batches?

    1. You can double it! See recipe note for details.

  12. I just made your blueberry streusel muffins last week and have used several of your recipes with excellent results!!! So whenever I look up a recipe I want and see that you have one, I go right to it! I am an avid baker, usually baking 3-5 times a week. It’s so much fun! Anyway, I plan to make these for my upcoming Valentine dinner, cut them into hearts, put ice cream on them and make a chocolate lace dome to place over them! Can’t wait!! Thanks for such trustworthy, delicious recipes! ❤️

    1. Hi Melodie, Thank you so much for using so many of my recipes! It sounds like you will make a beautiful Valentine’s Day dessert!

  13. Love this recipe! I make it at least once a month (dont judge!) It always turns out perfectly!

  14. Hi Sally, can i bake this in a 9″ pan? Would it be too thin? Or should i just make an adjustment to the ingredients?

    1. A 9-inch square baking pan would be just fine for this recipe.

  15. Making this recipe now for my red velvet loving boyfriend on his birthday. So far, they smell and look divine! Trying to use self control not to slice into them right as they’re coming out of the oven. I always recommend any of Sally’s recipes!

  16. Thanusha Gunedran says:

    Your recipes are AMAZINGGG!!!
    Tried the red velvet with cheesecake swirled brownies and they turned out sooo good ❤️

  17. These taste nice and look cute but they are not as beautiful as Sally’s – I wasn’t able to get a clean marble look. I think I might not have left enough red brownie batter to swirl with the cheese cake, so it was sort of difficult to swirl in a clean way. I think I might make these again for Christmas, they’re beautiful even after I mucked it up a bit, and I think they’ll look better if I leave more batter to swirl next time. They were SO easy to make anyway, took about 10 minutes to make and cleanup was very, very easy.

  18. So, I doubled the recipe but the cream cheese element never seemed to be cooked enough. What should the texture be like? I kept putting it back in the oven but it still seemed underdone.

  19. OBSESSED with this recipe. Made it a few weeks ago (subbed erythritol for the sugar, and did 50:50 normal flour:almond flour, since my house is pretty low carb), and it was incredible and utterly heavenly! Immediately decided this was my go-to brownie recipe!

    So now I’m doing another batch, also with the erythritol substitute, but this time with… cricket flour. Did 25 grams cricket flour and the rest almond flour, with a teaspoon of psyllium husk powder for a little extra fiber. Cricket flour has a vaguely chocolately aroma; i’ve never used it before and thought something with a chocolately flavor would be the best match for my first time experimenting with it. It’s in the oven right now and looks beautiful so far, will update after a taste test!

  20. Madeleine Cogbill says:

    I made these tonight, and they are absolutely delicious!

  21. Am I able to just use a box brownie mix?

  22. Hi Sally thanks for your great baking recipes! I just have a question related to all cooking recipes I don’t have an oven instead I use solardom so should the degree change?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Armina, Unfortunately we don’t have one to test out so we have never tried it. Does it use convection heat? If so the general rule of thumb is to reduce the temperature by 25°F and keep you eye on your baked goods as the bake time may still be shorter.

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