How to make a red velvet cheesecake

This unapologetically rich creation by Eric Lanlard combines all the best bits of a red velvet cake and a creamy cheesecake in one. Oh, and it’s slathered in cream cheese icing too…

Find out how to make the ultimate red velvet cheesecake with this easy-to-follow guide, then serve as a knockout afternoon tea treat or a crowd-pleasing dessert.

How to make a red velvet cheesecake

What is a red velvet cheesecake?

This brilliant hybrid bake does exactly what it says on the tin: layers of light and fluffy red velvet sponge are sandwiched together with a rich cheesecake filling, then slathered in cream cheese icing. It’s a show-stopping cake made for special occasions (and hungry guests!).

Check out all out celebration cake recipes for birthdays, weddings, holidays and more.

Tips for success…

  • It’s important to use a really good quality food colouring for the sponge, or the cake will turn out brown instead of vibrant red. We recommend this one from Squires Kitchen Shop.
  • Eric’s recipe makes one thick, single layer sponge cake which requires slicing in half once baked; find out how to cut a sponge cake horizontally with this easy guide. Or, if you prefer, you could divide the mixture between two cake tins if you don’t feel comfortable slicing one in half. Just make sure to reduce the cooking time to approx 20-25 minutes (or until cooked through and springy to the touch).
  • The sponge crumble topping is optional, but adds a lovely finishing touch. When the cake has finished baking, trim the dome off the top so it’s totally flat, then crumble the scraps up using your fingers.

Watch the video…

Need more convincing? Find out just how easy this red velvet creation is to make with our simple video.

How to make a red velvet cheesecake 

Serves: 12
Hands-on time 40 min, oven time 40 min, plus overnight chilling

You will need…

  • Melted butter for greasing
  • 185g butter, softened
  • 155g golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium free range eggs
  • 115g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 40g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp red food colouring (Eric recommends Poppy Red paste from Squires Kitchen Shop)
  • Oil for greasing (use a flavourless oil such as groundnut or sunflower)

For the cheesecake filling

  • 250g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 70g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • 1½ tsp gelatine powder
  • 300ml double cream

For the cream cheese icing

  • 250g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 60g butter, at room temperature
  • 80g icing sugar, sifted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract (we use Nielsen-Massey)


1. Heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly brush a 20cm (base measurement) springform cake tin with melted butter. Line the base with non-stick baking paper.

2. In a large bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Sift the self-raising flour, plain flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together in a separate bowl. In alternating batches, use a large metal spoon to gently fold the flour mixture and buttermilk into the butter mixture (take care not to knock out the air). Stir in the red food colouring, mixing lightly but well. Spoon the cake batter into the prepared cake tin.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 35–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool slightly, then remove the cake from the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Wash up the cake tin ready to use later when it’s time to assemble the cheesecake.

5. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Using a sharp knife, trim the top of the cake so it’s less domed, reserving the crumbs for decoration (put them in a little plastic bag as it will be a while until you need them).

6. To make the filling, use an electric whisk to beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. Place the water in a heatproof jug and add the gelatine powder. Place the jug in a saucepan and add boiling water to come halfway up the side of the jug. Stir until the gelatine dissolves. Add to the filling mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.

7. In a separate bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the cream until soft peaks form – you’re looking for the softest billowing peaks, rather than stiff peaks. Using a metal spoon, fold the softly whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

8. Brush your washed-up 20cm cake tin with oil. Line the base and sides with clingfilm, using enough so it overhangs the sides of the tin. Place the cake base, cut side up, in the bottom of the clingfilm-lined cake tin. Spread with the filling. Top with the cake top. Fold over the clingfilm, then put in the fridge overnight to chill.

9. To make the frosting, use an electric whisk to beat the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl until well combined.

10. Release the chilled, filled cheesecake-cake from the cake tin, peel off the clingfilm, then put the cake on a serving plate. Spread the cream cheese frosting all over the top and sides of the cake, then decorate the upper edge with the leftover broken up sponge crumbs.


Images ©Kate Whitaker. Recipe from Afternoon Tea by Eric Lanlard (Mitchell Beazley)

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