Red Velvet Cheescake Layer Cake

It is two for one Valentine treat day!

cheesecake batter

Not too much to chat about I just wanted to give you a special extra little treat. I hope you are having a great day!

red velvet layer

Red Velvet Cheesecake Layer Cake

Ingredients

For the cheesecake:

1  (12-oz.) package white chocolate morsels

5  (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the cake:

1 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups granulated sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 (1-oz.) bottles red liquid food coloring

3 (8-in.) round disposable aluminum foil cake pans

For the white chocolate frosting:

2 (4-oz.) white chocolate baking bars, chopped

1/2 cup boiling water

1 cup butter, softened

1 (32-oz.) package powdered sugar, sifted

1/8 teaspoon salt

cake and frosting

To make the cheesecake:

Preheat oven to 300°. Line bottom and sides of 2 8 inch cake pans with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

Microwave white chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl according to package directions; cool 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese and melted chocolate at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears after each addition. Stir in 1 Tbsp. vanilla. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 300° for 30 to 35 minutes or until almost set. Turn oven off. Let cheesecakes stand in oven, with door closed, 30 minutes. Remove from oven to wire racks; cool completely (about 1 1/2 hours). Cover and chill 8 hours, or freeze 24 hours to 2 days.

To make the red velvet cake:

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add 6 eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour and next 2 ingredients; add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in 2 tsp. vanilla; stir in food coloring. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch cake pans.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely (about 1 hour).

To make the frosting:

Whisk together chocolate and 1/2 cup boiling water until chocolate melts. Cool 20 minutes; chill 30 minutes.

Beat 1 cup butter and chilled chocolate mixture at low speed until blended. Beat at medium speed 1 minute. Increase speed to high; beat 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar and salt, beating at low speed until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth and fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

finished cake

Place 1 layer Red Velvet on a serving platter. Top with 1 layer Cheesecake. Repeat with remaining layers of Red Velvet and Cheesecake, alternating and ending with Red Velvet on top. Spread top and sides of cake with White Chocolate Frosting. Store in refrigerator.

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Valentine’s Heart Sugar Cookies

First, Happy Valentines Day!

heart cut outs

Second, I have accomplished my goal of the sugar cookie quest (almost – not quite cookie cutter perfect but close enough) – you should most definitely make these slice and bake cookies. They are the most adorable thing ever. Even if some of the hearts look a little blob-ish. In this case for me, it is the thought and effort put into these little guys that count. Not to mention now I never need to buy the store bought ones again. (Not that I ever have in over 8 years.. but I always wanted my sugar cookies to have a little flair!)

Think of the possibilities of what you can put in this little sugar cookie!! You want colored dough on the outside?!? Go for it. You want to make them for every holiday that you can Google? Do it… I may just because I can now.

finished hearts

Now that I have the technique down, the fun I can have with making these little guys is endless.

The endlessness of the cookie possibilities is astounding. Much like the endless possibilities of using suicide prevention techniques (yes, I am getting incredible at these segues). That is what I have been up to these past weeks.. Learning about suicide prevention and going to trainings to become certified to prevent suicide in those that are having active suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

I did it through an amazing organization that works in all types of trainings for suicide prevention for all types of people. You should look into one of them if you are at all interested.

I heard a recent statistic that said that people who receives some type of suicide prevention training, feel more competent when helping someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts. That increased feeling of competence  is proven to get the person in need to resources that will help them. This may sound rather like.. umm duh. But the coolest thing about this point is that you don’t have to be the person who is taking all of the responsibility for the person’s life. All you have to do is learn to ask the question “are you feeling suicidal?” however you want and then be the bridge to resources. Those resources could be 911, a crisis hotline, or even an emergency room.

prebaked cookies

The best thing you can do is ask and then redirect to someone that can really help. The pressure to keep watch over the person or be with them through the entire crisis can now be relieved.

Just ask.

I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day. If you are at all interested in any of the trainings that are in the link above. Do the quick Google search and see the options around you.

sugared cookie

Oh and make these cookies. You will be greatly rewarded for your effort (fortune cookie sounding?).

Valentine (or anytime) Slice and Bake Cookies

Inspired by: Lauren’s latest

Ingredients:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 sticks butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

a few dabs of red gel food coloring

extra sugar for dusting

Directions:

In a small bowl stir flour, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg and vanilla. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients. Once dough has come together, remove 2/3 of it to a separate bowl. Stir in the red food coloring to the remaining 1/3 of the dough until uniform in color.

Roll red dough out into a 1 inch slab. Cut out heart shapes and stack them together. Chill to harden to prevent smooshing (yep that is a technical baking word) of the cut out shape.

Roll remaining regular colored dough out and cover each row of stacked hearts being careful to keep them together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside. Remove cookie dough logs from fridge and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Spring top of cookie with sugar. Place onto prepared baking sheet leaving 1 inch around each cookie. Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookie is barely golden brown on the bottom and isn’t shiny. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before cooling completely on wire rack.