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 or gel 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. Adapted from Food Network, with a few changes.

Keywords: red velvet cheesecake brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

382 Comments

    1. YES. Sushi bar at the wedding. It was amazing! And I’ve never actually had red velvet cake from a box mix before. But I know it always produces a vibrant red colored cake!

  1. They look beautiful!! My birthday is on Valentine’s Day and I would most definitely approve of these as a birthday treat 🙂 I recently made my first ever red velvet recipe for a friend’s birthday and was very nervous to say the least as I had heard about how red velvet cupcakes have gone terribly wrong! However I used the Hummingbird Bakery recipe (love this place!!) http://www.hummingbirdhigh.com/2012/03/hummingbird-bakery-red-velvet-cupcakes.html?m=1. I gotta tell ya, they were delicious!! What made it was the frosting – just the perfect amount of tang and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually like frosting. The cake was so moist and just amazing!! Really recommend it. Love your blog 😀

    1. Nadia, thank you SO much for the recipe link! I can’t wait to check them out. I’ve seen red velvet cupcakes gone very very wrong as well, so I’ve been searching for a stand out recipe. Your recommendation sounds like everything I want! Thank you again, so much Nadia!!

  2. Sally, these look seriously amazing – those cheesecake swirls are perfect and make me want to reach in and grab one! This is a fun idea for Valentine’s Day!

  3. I made these brownies today and mine came out cakey and not wonderfully fudgie like the pictures of yours but the flavor is amazing. Thank you for giving me something new to try.

      1. I could have over-stirred them or over-measured or over-licked the spoon too much ALL OF THE ABOVE 🙂 Thank you for the learning link.

  4. My daughters music teacher just emailed asking for help with the Valentine’s dance after school on Thursday, and since I work an hour away, I won’t be able be there to help; but I can BAKE! And I think this is the perfect brownie for the dance. I think I will use a heart shaped cookie cutter and make lots of brownie hearts for all the love struck middle school kiddo’s! And since this is such an easy recipe I can do it after my grandson’s 1st birthday party Wednesday night! Can’t wait to try these!!
    Thank you!

    1. Tammy, I love your idea of cutting them into heart shapes. 🙂 How perfect! Love struck kiddos… you are SO right. I remember being in middle school. 🙂 I hope you all enjoy them! thanks Tammy!

  5. I made red velvet pudding pie yesterday and promptly spilled off the bottle of red dye all over my floor and hands. So, I probably won’t be making red velvet anything anytime soon but if I did it would be for these brownies. I am in a love with a good cheesecake swirl brownie!

    1. That sounds awful Nicole! And I thought spilling sprinkles all over my floor was bad. You poor thing!! I know, I love cheesecake swirly brownies too 😀

  6. I once led a cooking class in which the other instructor made a batch of red velvet cake that turned out a hot (or rock-hard!) mess. Since then, I’ve always associated red velvet with Hagrid’s rock cakes…but these are so simple and such a godsend. I’m making them tonight for sure for pre-Vday celebrations. Thanks, Sally!

  7. Now I totally understanding the need to digest all of your calories in funfetti form, but red velvet is my utter sweet weakness. I’m so glad you crossed over, at least for these brownies. They look so decadent and ohmygodiwantonerightthissecond ! <3

  8. You read my mind…I really had been thinking I need to make a red velvet cream cheese brownie, and here it is. I’ve only become a red velvet lover about 2 years ago, and I totally agree, there’s red velvet, and there’s RED VELVET. This one looks like a winner, so I’m probably going to make it some format in the next few days. I’ll let you know how I fare. Thx!

      1. So much for waiting till the next few days to make them…I made them 20 minutes after I commented here! They’re so incredibly delicious…so RED VELVET. I wanted to post them on my blog in time for Valentine’s Day, which I just did. Normally I give away a lot of what I bake, but I’m not sharing these!

  9. I feel the same way about red velvet! I’ve yet to have a good one. Yours is the best explanation of what exactly red velvet is that I’ve seen. Until now I thought it was chocolate cake dyed red. The brownies look positively delectable Sally! Love the swirl of cream cheese – so pretty against the color of the brownie!

  10. Now admittedly, I’m not a red velvet kinda gal. But I am a fudgy brownie girl, and a cream cheese girl, and a girl who tries anything once, and since I’ve yet to try a fudgy, cream cheesy, red velvet brownie, well, I think I oughta 🙂 these look awesome, Sal! SO beautiful and vibrant. Plus, cheesecake swirl RULES in anything!

  11. Wow, these look amazing. I’ve never eaten red velvet before but you’ve convinced me I have to try making this. The pictures are really so pretty =)

    1. Thank you so much Joey! I hadn’t eaten much red velvet before until last year. These are a great recipe to begin with though!

      1. I just made them tonight and they’re so so good =) just to fit valentine’s day I cut them into little hearts and I’m going to use the scraps for red velvet rum balls ^^

  12. I made these for my boyfriend for Valentine’s day and let’s just say them seem to have disappeared…FAST. I had to bake them for 10-15 minutes longer than the suggested time, but they came out super delish anyways 🙂

  13. Amazing! Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe! The coloring came out great (except now I have no red food coloring left.) I’d make these every day if they were good for me!

  14. So pretty, these really caught my eye tonight, and I can imagine how yummy the swirls of cream cheese in these would be. I’ll have to figure out how to do some kind of swirl recipe, it looks like so much fun!

  15. These are lovely! I made them for a friend of mine and gave them to him on Valentine’s Day…after forgetting about five times the day before what the 14th was. Nevertheless, he enjoyed them, saying that they melted in his mouth, and posted a few pictures on Instagram. I posted pictures on Facebook, and enjoyed the few that I managed to steal during the cutting process before I’d dropped them off. They were soft and reminded me of eating a bon bon. I’m remaking the recipe right now along with a regular chocolate cream cheese swirl brownie.

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