Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

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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:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray 8x8 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. 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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See more brownie & bar recipes.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

 

 

 

390 Comments

  1. Hi Sally, I made these today and the brownie layers turned out pretty good but the cheesecake was curdled? or not set very well? I don’t know why this has happened but I hope you can help so I can make it again without fault. I hear that the cream cheese has to be room temp and many of my ingredients were from the refrigerator so maybe that’s why it turned out so.

  2. Hi Sally! So for starters I just want to say that this recipe is amazing,I made these brownies last year for Valentines day and trust me,they didn’t even last a day,everyone’s paws were in them they were so good!
    I’m thinking of making red velvet brownie balls for Christmas this year and of course the first brownie recipe that popped into my head was this one. I was just curious,would the recipe still turn out fine without the cream cheese swirl step? I just wanted pure red velvet brownies. Thanks in advance!

  3. Hi Sally! Thank you for d great recipe. Cant wait to try out your recipe this weekend. Would like to ask, will the brownies be extra thin if i were to use 9×9 square tray? Or the difference wont be that significant?

  4. These are delicious! I made them for my roommate’s birthday and they were a huge hit. Pretty to look at and taste great too. Thanks for sharing!

    I just featured this recipe on my blog and I’d love it if you checked it out! 🙂

  5. Hi Sally!
    These looks delicious, and I was thinking to make them for Valentine’s Day for my boyfriend. How would you suppose they would turn out if I let them cool overnight, and cut them out with heart-shaped cooking cutters, like you did with your Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Blondie Hearts?
    Thanks!

    1. Only slightly– maybe a minute or two. The mixture cools down quite a bit as you whisk in the sugar, so it’s never been an issue adding the eggs with the warm-ish butter.

  6. Hi! I made this tonight. I noticed that the brownie batter I made was a bit runny. I’m not sure if i did something wrong while mixing it. Are u supposed to add in one ingredient at a time, and then mix them in between additions? Is it maybe because the eggs that I used were too large? It’s baking in the oven right now, smelling really delicious. I hope it still turns out okay.

  7. Hi,

    I’m going to try out the red velvet cheesecake brownie receive this weekend.
    As I’m messaging you from the Uk, I’m not really sure what “all purpose flour” is?
    Is this plain flour or self raising flour?

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Rebecca

  8. I’m going to try and bake these in silicone heart shape molds that I have. About how thick would you say each layer is in the pan before you bake it? I want to try and get the same height that you have and not have it bake too high and overflow.

  9. I made these tonight to take to a work party tomorrow. They are fabulous! I know someone had commented before about baking them in a 13×18 jelly roll pan, and that is what I did. I tripled the mixture and baked for about 45-50 minutes. They turned out amazingly fudgy and chewy. After I trimmed the edges off, I cut them into 2×2 squares to get 36 total brownies. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  10. Hi Sally!
    Someone else asked about freezing but did not get a response. Does anyone have experience with freezing these? I want to make them on Monday, my day off, but not eat them until the weekend! Thanks guys.
    Cali

  11. love your recipes have made so many of them and have always had great success ! your website is my go to place !
    wondering if i can use vegetable oil instead of butter ?
    if so what’s the equivalent ?

    you’re such an inspiration for my baking addiction!

  12. I baked these and followed the recipe exactly but the brownies turned out as cake and the cream cheese baked into a curdle-like texture. I am sad; these were supposed to be for my birthday.

  13. Hey, I just got mine out of the oven, it’s amaaazing <3 <3 It's not as sweet as I imagined it, which is great! It's different from the brownies that we're used to here in Brazil, which is also great! Loved it, thank you so much!

  14. Hey Sally,

    I just baked these and they were delicious. However, the color was not red at all, I added a full table spoon of red food colouring but it remained brown-ish. Would you suggest just simply adding more until it is the desired colour? Or adding more vinegar? And what brand food colouring did you use?

    Thanks!

  15. Sally, I have to say these were phenomenal! I followed the recipe and they were just like heaven in my mouth! My boyfriend loved them as well. I packaged two little pieces for him to eat at work and he texted me and said they were unbelievably delicious! I am making the caramel apple upside down cake for him this Saturday and I can’t wait! Love your recipes and your page is just precious!

  16. Hi, Sally! I just tried making these brownies, and while they’re undeniably delicious, they’re very cakey instead of dense and/or fudgey. Any idea where I might have gone wrong, or what I can do in future to avoid it?

    1. Did you change anything about the recipe, like the ingredients? Make sure you are using melted butter, large eggs (not XL or jumbo), and are appropriately measuring the flour. Too much egg or flour can sometimes produce a cakier tasting bar.

  17. I also made these. Made a double batch in the 9×13 pan, baked for 45 min and were done. Made single batch and were not done in 30 minutes. Had to bake an extra about 10 minutes for them to be done. I know my oven temperature is correct because I have baked about 14 dozen cookies just before these brownies and had no problems.

  18. I am not a fan of red velvet cake! But this recipe is the best!
    Thank you for sharing ! My first attempt tonight! 

  19. Hi! Just wondering, can I make the cheesecake ahead of time? Say, if i want to bake the red velvet brownies in the morning, i prepare the cheesecake n store it in fridge at night?

    1. Yep! You can make the cheesecake batter ahead of time– prepare it and keep it covered in the refrigerator until ready to use in the morning.

  20. Hello!
    I love your recipes! I live in Czech Republic and it is quite difficult sometimes to be sure I have the right ingredients (because I speak absolutely no Czech). I made these twice and they were very tasty but also too sweet. I bought different cocoa each time, both were likely sweetened. Can you recommend how I could reduce the amount of sugar when using sweetened cocoa? Thank you!

  21. These brownies definitely did not meet my expectations. I followed the recipe exactly as stated and found that the finished brownies had an overwhelming. almost too rich, chocolate taste. Yes, I did use natural unsweetened cocoa powder. I honestly could barely finish one. 

  22. I have a wee question.
    Say if I were to make these at night *no baking* like just the raw batter and pop it into the fridge overnight , then bake it later on the next day would it ruin the taste or harm the batter?.

    Thank you so much xoxo

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