Reprinted from The Recipe Girl Cookbook by Lori Lange. Copyright © 2013. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
|4 packages (8-ounce) cream cheese, at room temperature, divided||1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil|
|2 1/6 cups granulated white sugar, divided||1 teaspoon white vinegar|
|1/2 teaspoon salt||1 teaspoon baking soda|
|4 large eggs, divided||1 cup buttermilk|
|1/3 cup sour cream||2 1-ounce bottles red food coloring (1/4 cup)|
|1/3 cup heavy whipping cream||1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature|
|5 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided||2 1/2 cups powdered sugar|
|2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour||White chocolate shavings, optional|
|2 tablespoons cocoa powder|
To prepare the cheesecake layer, preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower rack of the oven. Place a kettle full (or 8 to 10 cups) of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of heavy-duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese (2 packages) until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar (2/3 cup) and salt (a pinch) and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs (2), one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla (1 teaspoon) until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the cheesecake into the roasting pan in the preheated oven. Carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about 1 inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).
To prepare the cake layers, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch round pans with nonstick spray and line each pan with a round of parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt (1/2 teaspoon). Set aside. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the oil and sugar (1 1/2 cups) and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs (2), one at a time, and then the vanilla (1 teaspoon) and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir to dissolve the baking soda. Add the vinegar mixture to the sugar mixture, along with the buttermilk and food coloring. Beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute, until blended. Add the dry ingredients and increase the speed to medium-high, scraping down the sides of the bowl while mixing, for 2 additional minutes.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a sharp knife along the edge of the pans, then invert the cakes onto the wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the frosting, in a large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to combine the cream cheese (2 packages) and butter and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla (1 tablespoon) and continue to beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the frosting is smooth and spreadable.
Place one cake layer in the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.
Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Add a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula or knife to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Decorate, as desired.
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