With fluffy red velvet cake, smooth cheesecake cream, and crushed chocolate cookies, these cheesecake red velvet trifles are decadent, chocolatey, and so pretty!
My new favorite thing to do is cutting out tiny little circles of cake and then piping each little circle with some kind of frosting situation, and then sprinkling the frosting with cookie crumbles, and then stacking them all together in a cute tower of cake and deliciousness. It’s therapeutic! And delicious because cake circles mean lots of cake scrappies to snack on while the piping and sprinkling commence. Will this lead to a new tiny cake obsession? Only time will tell.
Anyways, Valentine’s Day is this weekend and Valentine’s Day means red velvet! For a few months, I’ve had this idea of cheesecake red velvet trifles in my head and I was just waiting for VDay to roll around. Last year, Marc proposed a week before Valentine’s Day so I had to bake his favorite cookies about it and make a whole big deal obviously. But this year, we’re keeping it simple and gluttonous. If we’re going to celebrate VDay in sweatpants in front of the TV this year, Oreos must be involved, no?
A few ingredients you’ll need
This recipe has a few layers so the ingredient list will look a little long, but it’s mostly just basics! You’ll need the typical baking ingredients like flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and the like. Other than that, make sure you have:
- Cocoa powder – I like a good, high-quality cocoa powder since we want the chocolate flavor to shine through a bit here. If you want to get extra, use “natural” over “Dutch-processed” which will boost the red color.
- Red food coloring – Speaking of. If you want that vibrant red color, make sure to get your food coloring of choice! As much as I love a natural food coloring made with like, beets or something, the red here is your run-of-the-mill grocery store stuff. I try to avoid using coloring as much as possible, but we’re just going to let it go this time!
- Whipping cream – To make the fluffy cheesecake filling (not frosting!), we’ll need whipping cream. The cream will make the cheesecake filling all fluffy and almost pudding-like.
- Chocolate cookies – For the crumbles! Oreos or the classic chocolate baking wafers are both great options.
Bake a Cake, make a filling, & layer!
We are going to keep this cake super simple today! First you’re going to whisk up some flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, you’ll whisk up sour cream, whole milk, and a splash of vinegar.
Next, beat the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, canola oil, and some red food coloring until nice and vibrant. Then add half of the flour mixture and half of the sour cream mixture until *just* combined. Repeat!
Spread the cake batter into a sheet pan and bake at 375°F until just baked. Let cool!
While the cake is baking, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined. Add a splash of vanilla and heavy whipping cream, and beat over medium-high until stiff peaks form. Then, crumble up some cookies.
Now it’s time to assemble! Cut out the cake circles, and layer them in a cup or jar followed by cheesecake filling and cookie crumbles. Repeat 2-3 times until you have pretty layers. Finish with a sprinkle of cookie crumbles and a strawberry if you’re into that. Voilà! Cheesecake red velvet trifles.
Other flavor ideas
If you’re not into chocolate cookies, strawberries or raspberries would be a super delicious alternative! For a more traditional trifle, you can also replace the cheesecake filling with vanilla pudding. However, I personally think the cheesecake filling has a lovely, smooth pudding-ish texture already. You could also use mascarpone if cream cheese isn’t your thing!
Lastly, most trifles have a little booze in them. I chose not to include any in this recipe (I know, I’m just as shocked as you are). However, a little Bailey’s brushed on the cakes would taste *beyond*.
A make ahead option
Trifles are known for getting all soggy and weird but it doesn’t have to be that way! If you want to make these cheesecake red velvet trifles in advance, it’s pretty easy. To get things done early, simply bake the cake, make the filling, and crumble the cookies the night before. Then, an hour or two before serving, just assemble and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat!
Tips & Tricks
- Cutting the cake – Use a cookie cutter or jar lid the same diameter as your glasses to get the layered look. Alternatively, you can crumble the cake or cut it up into squares.
- Piping the cheesecake cream – I like to use a piping bag and tip! It allows for better control over the layering situation.
- Layering the cake – If you’re having a hard time layering the cakes without smashing them, use a spoon! It works wonders.
- For a regular cheesecake red velvet trifle – Double the ingredients and serve in a large trifle bowl!
Other valentine’s day (or date night!) desserts to try
Cheesecake Red Velvet Trifles
Red Velvet Cake
- 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda*
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 c sour cream
- 1/2 c + 2 Tbs whole milk**
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 c sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 c heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 c Chocolate cookie crumbs (Oreos, chocolate baking cookies, etc.)
- Strawberries, for topping
Red Velvet Cake
- Preheat oven to 375°F***. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and grease any exposed areas with a light coating of butter or canola oil. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Then, whisk the sour cream, whole milk, and vinegar in a liquid measuring cup until combined.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla extract, canola oil, and red food coloring. Add half of the flour mixture followed by half of the milk mixture until just combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk mixtures. The batter will be thick.
- Spread the red velvet cake batter into the prepared pan, ensuring that the batter is evenly distributed. Bake, checking for doneness at 8 minutes. The cake is ready when an inserted toothpick has just a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then, use the parchment paper to transfer the cake to a cooling rack, and let cool completely.
- While the cake is baking, use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat the butter and powdered sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Add the heavy whipping cream to the cream cheese mixture, and beat over medium-high until stiff peaks form. Taste, and add more powdered sugar if desired.
- Have six glasses or jars ready. Once the cake is cooled, use a cookie cutter the same diameter of your glasses/jars to cut out 18 circles. Place one cake circle in the bottom of each glass/jar.
- With a piping bag and tip, pipe a layer of cheesecake filling over the cake circles. Sprinkle each layer of filling with a scant Tablespoon of cookie crumbs. Repeat two more times so that you have three layers total in each glass.
- To finish, top each cheesecake red velvet trifle with a strawberry. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day: You & I by Local Natives