Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Hmm.  I’m writing this while I watch the Oscars.  It makes me sad to think that most of those actresses probably haven’t eaten anything resembling a Red Velvet Brownie in the past week or so.  At least they don’t look like they have.

I, on the other hand, am already in my oversized pj’s on my couch.  I ate a brownie yesterday, and I’m ready to judge some dresses and hairstyles.  I don’t go to fancy Oscar parties, though I may have a glass of champagne later.  By “may” I mean fo sho.

messy plate. but moist brownies!

Pulling for The King’s Speech tonight I think btdubs.  But let’s chat for just a moment (because I want to get back to the Oscars) about these Red Velvet Brownies.  You may remember I listed them on my Valentine’s Must Bake List…I’ve adapted them from Sprinkle Bakes, and they are just as lovely as she described them.  I only made one slight change to the ingredients.  I added more red food coloring than the original recipe because I was making them for my friend Lindsey’s bridal shower, and I was supposed to be sticking with a red theme. I also used the techniques from the Baked Brownie recipe…those brownies were pretty much flawless, so I figured we could use what we learned.

These are fudgy, super moist brownies.  No cakey texture here.  They’re sexy and luscious, and they melt in your mouth.  I wish there was a way to incorporate that slight buttermilk taste you get from classic red velvet cake, but I’m afraid that would lighten the texture too much.  There’s no cocoa powder in these brownies, just dark (or bittersweet) chocolate, but I think that’s a good thing.  Red velvet cake usually has a subtle chocolate flavor, so the absence of cocoa powder keeps that chocolate factor in check.  The cream cheese swirl is a fantastic nod to cream cheese frosting that you see so often on red velvet cake…it makes these brownies irresistible.

I received a fabulous compliment on these at the shower.  I was standing with my friend Kayla when she bit into a brownie, and she immediately said, “OMG, you have to try one of these.”  And I said, “I’m glad you like them…I made them.”  When you get a compliment like that, it means it’s really all about the brownies, and not someone trying to be friends with you.  Although, who are we kidding, those kinds of compliments are nice too.

(Mila Kunis and JT…swoon…even if you weren’t so funny just now.)

Ok, time for the recipe.  Enjoy the dresses, the movies, and Colin Firth!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Makes 16 brownies (one 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan)

For brownie layer
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz. dark or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature (remember what we learned from the Baked brownies!))
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS red food coloring
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

For cheesecake swirl
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF with a rack in the middle position. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 inch square baking dish with foil and grease the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
2.  For brownies – In a heatproof small bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth with a rubber spatula.  Remove bowl from heat and let cool until warm to the touch, then whisk in the sugar and the salt.  Add both eggs (room temperature!) to the chocolate mixture, and whisk until combined.  Stir in the vanilla and the food coloring.  (Remember…no overbeating here…we don’t want cakey brownies.)
3.  Sprinkle the flour over the batter.  Using a rubber spatula (no whisk), gently fold in the flour until it’s just incorporated.  There should a bit of flour still visible.
4.  For cheesecake swirl – Using an electric mixer or a wire whisk, beat together the cream cheese and the sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.
5.  To assemble brownies – Pour about 3/4 of brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Pour cream cheese mixture over the batter, then dollop the remaining batter randomly on top of the cream cheese mixture.  Drag a thin knife back and forth through the batter and cream cheese mixture to create a swirled, marbled effect.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, just until set.  No overbaking!  See?  We learned from our Baked Brownie experience.

Recipe adapted from Sprinkle Bakes.

What did you think of the Oscars?  Did you go to a fancy pants party or watch in your pj’s like me?  Did you at least eat popcorn!??!  You must have had popcorn.  I had some addicting popcorn that I’ll write about later.  Thanks for reading, happy baking!



  1. I made these last night for a bridal shower this weekend. I haven’t cut them yet so I am not really sure how they turned out but the batters tasted amazing!!! Thanks for being a great resource. Keep up the yummy work!

    -Barrett Harr

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