I kind of hate to admit this, but until recently I wasn't really the biggest fan of red velvet cake. I didn't think it was anything special - just chocolate cake with way less chocolate than I prefer. Don't get me wrong - I still ate it - it is cake after all, and I've never been one to turn down cream cheese frosting. Now, however, I appreciate it much more for what it is - a soft and tender cake with just a hint of chocolate, and a nice tang from the buttermilk (or sour cream). Paired with cream cheese frosting, it is now one of my favorite cake flavors.
These brownies combine the fudginess of a good brownie with the tang of red velvet cake. I was really excited when I saw this recipe, but upon closer inspection it just looked like a light chocolate brownie with red food coloring. To me, the defining characteristic of red velvet cake is buttermilk. So I added a bit of buttermilk, as well as some vinegar. I also opted to incorporate a cream cheese swirl rather than using frosting. The end result was rich and fudgy like a good brownie, but had the flavors of a good red velvet cake - the best of both worlds if you ask me.
One Year Ago: Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes
Red Velvet Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl
Brownies adapted from Southern Living, December 2010
Cream Cheese Swirl adapted from Cook's Illustrated
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 (1-oz) bottle red food coloring
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 2 Tbs sour cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 large egg yolk
Combine the chocolate and butter in a large, microwave safe bowl. Cook 30 seconds at a time until melted, stirring well after each time. Whisk in the sugar. One at a time, add the eggs, whisking well between each addition. Stir in the flour, food coloring, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, and vinegar. Combine well, then pour into the prepared baking dish.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. Drop spoonfuls over the brownie batter, then use a table knife to swirl into the batter.
Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Allow to cool completely before slicing.