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. So this is a strange question, but I would like to make these today and all I have on hand is cream cheese *frosting*… do you think it would be possible to swirl THAT into the batter before you bake it? Or will the frosting just scorch?

    1. Robyn, I don’t suggest using cream cheese frosting to replace the cream cheese, egg, & sugar in the cheesecake mixture. You can’t bake frosting unfortunately!

  2. So I hate to even speak these words, but all I have on hand is a red velvet cake mix….how would you use that to make this recipe? How do I tweak the cake mix to get the brownie texture?

    1. Hey Lauren! Unfortunately, I have no idea how to make these with a box mix. Try a google search for red velvet brownies and you may find one using cake mix. Sorry I’m no help!

  3. Sally,
    I absolutely love your page. You have a way of putting fun into your writing and making baking sound possible. I have fought with it my whole adult life, I have a blood sugar problem and am not exactly supposed to be eating this stuff. 😛 ,,,but who can live their life without chocolate. 🙂 I have not made any of your recipes yet, but your sugar free options have pulled me in. I have copied your p-nut butter brownie recipe and am off to the store to get my ingred. I look forward to reporting back to you about whether I actually made an edible confection …sincerely, Starla

    1. Hi Starla! What a VERY kind comment. Thank you so much, it made my night! I agree – who can live without a little chocolate? 😉 Let me know how those peanut butter swirl brownies come out! Hope you enjoy!

  4. I just made these! They are THE most beautiful brownies ever. They taste good, but not really great to me. I will make them again simply because they are so pretty to look at!

  5. Red velvet is delicious! I recently made red velvet puppy chow and it was so good! The proportions of chex mix to melted frosting were off so it was too soggy. You should consider experimenting with different types if puppy chow! It’s so fast and easy (it would be a big hit too!!) keep the red velvet recipes coming!

  6. So we had a work fundraiser last month for Breast Cancer Awareness and I made these…they FLEW!!! I was asked for the recipe so many times that I just sent out your website on a mass email list to the company and told everyone to have at it!! Now you’re treats are turning up everywhere!

    1. Hey Laura – WOW! That is so cool to hear. Thanks for sending my recipe out. I’m glad these were a hit. The disappeared at my office too! Thanks for reporting back. I love hearing about it all!

  7. I can’t wait to try these! I have a recipe that I use all the time for red velvet cake. It is a recipe by philosophy (the company that does body washes and other hygiene stuff)
    I couldn’t find it online, so here is the recipe right off the bottle:
    2 cups sugar, 2 sticks butter (room temperature), 2 eggs, 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 2 oz red food coloring, 2 1/2 c. cake flour, 1 tsp salt, 1 c. buttermilk, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp vanilla extract
    Directions:
    cream sugar and butter, beat until fluffy and light. add eggs 1 at a time. mix well after each. mix cocoa and food coloring, and add to sugar mixture; mix. sift flour and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. Blend in vanilla. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and vinegar and add to mixture. Pour batter into 3 8 inch round greased and floured pans. Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool completely before frosting. I recommend a cheesecake frosting.

    1. Hey Liz! This is wonderful, thank you so much for sharing! I bet it’s so good and would make yummy cupcakes as well.

  8. Hi Sally, just wanted to let you know that I made the red velvet brownies today and they are just wonderful – everyone just loves them! Also just wanted to let you know the they made it all the way to Australia!

    1. Hey Angela! That is so great to hear. I love these brownies and they turned me into a red velvet lover! So cool you are reading from the other side of the world. Thanks for reporting back! 🙂

  9. I absolutely LOVED this recipe 🙂 It was the perfect combination of cheesecake meets brownie. I made it for Easter since it’s more of a festive color and my entire family ate it up in a second. Just wanted to say thank you for this recipe and every other one. Your blog has been my go to for almost a year now anytime I want to spoil myself or my family and friends with delicious treats!

    1. Hi Catrina! Thank you so much for saying hi – that really means a lot. I can’t believe you’ve been following my blog for (almost) its entirety. That is so cool! Glad you like these brownies – they are always a hit!

  10. I made these on Sunday and they were fantastic! Super delicious. I love all of your recipes and can’t wait for your cookbook. Best of luck on your new endeavors!

  11. They are delicious ! And the best part is that it is a super easy recipe , I had all the ingredients handy and I only had to use two bowls 🙂
    Thank you very much!

  12. Hello. I just want to tell you that you are soo inspiring. I am a pastry cook at a restaurant, and ever so often we have to prepare food and dessert for the entire staff. and I recently came accross these. I tried them out and they were delicious. I told EVERYONE the website I. found them at. Thank you soo much.

    p.s. I think I am going to try the snickers bar next ….. mmmmmmm

    1. What a compliment! Thank you so much – I’m happy you loved these and that they were a hit with the staff. 🙂 Let me know how the snickers bar turn out.

  13. Hi Sally! I just found your blog and I wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying it! I will definitely be an avid follower! I was wondering, how far in advance can these by made and how long do they keep? Thanks again for such a wonderful experience! Alicia.

    1. Hey Alicia – thanks for all the kind words! And I’m so glad you found my website. You can make these 1 or 2 days in advance. I don’t recommend any longer than that. Store them in the refrigerator (covered tightly).

  14. Hi Sally

    I teach a high school cooking class and we used a couple of your recipes this past week. I am still learning myself a lot about food, cooking and especially baking. Can you tell me what may have gone wrong with the Red Velvet Cheesecake brownies. They would not get dense, they stayed very soft and mushy to the point I couldn’t even cut them. Also, they turned out to be the brownish red colour you fear lol! AS well, we made your very very vanilla cupcakes…they were delicious but wondering about the frosting. 4 cups of butter made it taste very buttery…is that what we wanted? I ended up adding about a cup more icing sugar to tone down the buttery taste and texture. Thanks! I am excited to try more of your recipes in the future. Great ideas!!

    1. lol! I meant 4 sticks of butter…not cups and we had doubled it!! Thanks for the quick reply. The ovens I am working with are quite old so anything is possible! I will have to use a thermometer in the future. Thanks

  15. Hi Sally. These brownies look delicious. I don’t have an 8×8 pan. I know, shame on me 🙂 I was wondering if I could double the recipe and bake it in a 9×13 pan? Or would that change the texture?

    1. Doubling the recipe and fitting into a 9×13 pan will work, yes. I am unsure of the baking time though since I’ve never tried it though. But definitely invest in a 8×8 pan!

  16. I LOVE RED VELVET!! and I love cheesecake!!
    These look great, the only part I don’t like is waiting for them to cool…

  17. Hello! This was the first recipe I tried from your site. And they were such a success! 🙂 I’ve never been very good at baking, but I decided to give it a try. The cream cheese and brownie were such a good mix and sooooooooo delicious! 😀 x

  18. Hello! This an awesome recipe, it tasted amazing and everyone that tried it loved it. However, would you have any suggestions on how to make this a more fudge type brownie? Mine was like half way between fudge brownie and cake. When it comes to brownies I like those very fudgy, dense, almost wet looking chewy brownies. I was thinking maybe to use oil instead of butter and 1 egg instead of 2, maybe?? Not sure.. Lol
    And btw great article about measuring flower correctly!

    1. Hi Mike! They seem to always be quite dense when I make them. I’m wondering if you overmixed the batter or overbaked them? Cutting the egg amoutn in half would result in a cakey brownie. The eggs are what makes brownies so rich and moist. Oil in brownies never works for me and I don’t like its greasiness. But give it a shot!

  19. Yum! Not usually a red velvet fan either, but these are delicious. I made them for 4th of July. I made half the cheesecake portion blue, and they were patriotic! Thank you for the recipe.

  20. Hi Sally
    Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe. I love the combination of red velvet and cream cheese frosting. I’ve been dying to make these but would love to know are the ingredients given in imperial or metric measurements? I live in Australia and am so confused when follwoing a recipe on any blog only to find out i’ve been incorrectly adding in more of an ingredient!!
    Jennie

      1. Thanks for your reply. Right after leaving the previous comment I found your measuring 101 page so have since made the brownie. Can I say OMG its tastes awesome. My family loved it. Thanks so much for sharing. I look forward to many many more delicious looking and tasty bakes!!

  21. hi sally! i fell in love with these from the moment i saw it! i decided to try it out and they came out absolutely perfect and were just as delicious, i trust your other recipes are just as great! 🙂 thankyou for sharing! xoxo-vinti

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