Red Velvet Cheesecake

August 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm 119 comments

Red Velvet Cheesecake Red Velvet cake, a layer of cheesecake, and cream cheese frosting.

August makes me think of peach skin against my lips, of yellowing grass, and inevitably of the coming school year.

I remember exactly where I was last August – the kitchen. There were only a few weeks before I moved to Boston for college, and I went into a baking frenzy. In the mornings, I preheated the oven before I brushed my teeth, and I photographed enough desserts to keep the blog alive across the country.

This summer, though, I haven’t spent much time baking. I don’t leaf through cookbooks when I’m bored or brainstorm flavor combinations in the car. I’ve lost something I can’t place. Whenever I think about it, unease seeps through me like melting ice. I don’t know why I’ve fallen into a baking rut or how to fix it.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

A year ago, I remember standing with my dad in the kitchen. I’d spent the week baking, and I handed him fork after fork of desserts to sample. He’d just tried the Oat, Pear, and Raspberry Loaf when he said, “You’re really going to do this. Keep the blog going.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant. I hadn’t even considered ending the blog, giving up on the baking, moving on with life as I moved into college. “Yeah.”

He shrugged a little and said, “You never know. After a while, you might not want to be 17 and Baking anymore. You might lose interest.”

“Never going to happen.” I wrapped up the loaf, started on the dishes, and the conversation faded from memory.

Now I can’t get it out of my mind.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

I didn’t spend as much time with my parents this summer as I expected, or as I would have liked. I think the ritual of family dinners would have helped me rediscover that “feeling.” I think tossing ideas back and forth with my dad would have inspired me. Now, it’s too late. Here I am a year later, nine days from my flight, with almost nothing saved up.

This semester I’m going to Europe, where baking opportunities will be even scarcer than they were in Boston. I’m so afraid. I didn’t realize it until I typed the words a moment ago, and now it’s more real than ever. I’m afraid of wasting the opportunities I’ve been given. I’m scared of failing. I’m scared that I have burnt out, and that I can’t recover.

But I am more than my insecurities. I know that when I put my mind to something, I can make it happen. I have the strength to pull through baking ruts, to breathe life into my writing, and to conquer fear. I’m afraid, but I’m also more passionate and determined than ever.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

D- is a new friend, but already a good one, and his first visit to Seattle is wrapping up in a few days. I wanted to make something really special to celebrate his 19th birthday and last night in the Emerald City.

This week I rediscovered the process of finding The One. You know, The Recipe that is everything Your Friend would want, their sweet tooth soulmate. I remembered that his favorite cake is red velvet, but his favorite dessert is cheesecake. I immediately wanted to combine them. I’d seen red velvets split by cheesecake on several other sites, but that didn’t make it less special.

The excitement mounted as I bought ingredients at the store, while I creamed butter, when I scattered sprinkles across the frosting. But everything became clear when I eased the first slice onto a plate and passed it to D-, drank in his expression of surprise and joy.

The thrill! It lit me up like a sparkler – burning slowly, but unbelievably brightly. I almost forgot that feeling, but now, all I want to do is relive it. I’m an addict.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

The cream cheese frosting is thick, tangy, and sweet, just like I like it. The cheesecake is dense and creamy. But the star is the red velvet. Heartbreakingly red, soft as satin, fine-crumbed and fluffy… As I watched him scrape the fork across the plate, I couldn’t wait to come home and share the recipe with you.

I never lost the passion. I just had to stop taking it for granted.

I’ll probably be on the east coast when the next post is up – thanks for staying with me. See you on the other side.

[Too hot to bake? Check out my Chocolate Raspberry Icebox Cake in the Boston Globe! It's a heat free, ridiculously easy recipe that comes together in half an hour.]

Red Velvet Cheesecake

While this cake looks like a lot of work, it’s really not. The steps are spread across two days – make the cheesecake first, bake the cake/whip up the frosting/assemble the second. None of the components are very difficult separately, and it’s pretty simple to put it together. And the results are definitely impressive.

I’ve made red velvet cakes in the past, but never posted them on the site. They’re somehow always disappointing – dry, flavorless, artificial looking. I used red food coloring gel, which gave it an incredibly rich color without adding weird flavor. This red velvet is unlike any I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know whether it’s because I used a really good Dutch process cocoa powder with a reddish tinge and a depth of flavor. Maybe it’s from the buttermilk or the healthy pinch of salt. I don’t care. It’s magic.

The cheesecake is also surprisingly simple. My secrets to a great cheesecake? Make sure the ingredients are all at room temperature (this could take hours for the cream cheese.) Cream the cream cheese and sugar with the mixer until blended, then stir everything else with a wooden spoon to avoid overmixing. Grease the sides of the pan so the cheesecake won’t crack, and bake it in a waterbath.

The cheesecake is sturdy enough that overnight refrigeration was all I needed, though I’ve seen other bloggers freeze their cheesecake layer for easy transportation onto the cake.

And the frosting… Well, I could eat it with a spoon. The almond extract adds something special without tasting like almonds. I like a high ratio of cream cheese to sugar, and a stiff texture that won’t melt or droop. I think we’ve got a winner.

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Inspired by a variety of sources
Cake adapted from Saveur, Cheesecake adapted from Martha Stewart,
Frosting a 17 and Baking original
Makes a rich 9″ cake

Cheesecake
20 oz full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup white sugar
Zest of half a lemon
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

I started the cheesecake the day before. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and set a kettle of water to boil.

Grease a 9″ springform pan, and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap the outside of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, and set the pan into a larger pan (for the waterbath.)

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon and beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, making sure they are combined but not overmixing. Add the sour cream. Stir in flour and gently mix just until combined.

Pour the batter into the greased pan. Pour boiling water into the larger pan halfway up the cheesecake. The aluminum foil should protect the cheesecake from seeping water. Bake until the cheesecake is just set in the middle, about 40 minutes. Run a knife around the sides and let the cheesecake cool completely. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.

Red Velvet
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
Red food coloring, as desired

I made the cake the day after I made the cheesecake, so it had rested overnight in the fridge and was sturdy enough to flip.

For the red velvet, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9″ pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and vinegar until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and as much food coloring as you like. Beat until well combined, about two minutes.

Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for five minutes, then run a knife around the edges. Invert them onto cooling racks and cool completely. (I like to make the frosting at this point, while the cakes cool down.)

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 cups sifted powdered sugar (sift, and then measure)

Beat the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until very smooth and lump-free. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Then stir in the powdered sugar a cup at a time until very smooth.

Assembling the cake.

Use a cake leveler or serrated knife to level the tops of the red velvet cakes. Put one of the layers, cut-side up and parchment paper removed, on a serving plate. Spread with a very small amount of frosting, just enough to cover the cake in a thin layer.

Take the cheesecake out of the fridge. Open up the springform pan and peel off the plastic wrap. The cake should be pretty sturdy. My cheesecake was still attached to the bottom of the springform pan. I simply used one hand to hold it, and gently flipped it over onto the red velvet. I lifted off the bottom of the springform pan and peeled off the parchment paper. Piece of cake.

My cheesecake was wider than the red velvet. I just gently sawed a knife around the edges and trimmed the excess.

Spread another very thin layer of frosting on the top of the cheesecake. Flip the remaining layer of red velvet, cut side down, on top. Peel off the parchment paper.

Use about a third of the cream cheese frosting to cover the whole cake with a crumb coat. Basically, you want to frost the cake with as little frosting as possible, picking up all the red crumbs and sealing the cake. Refrigerate the cake for half an hour, or until the crumb coat is hardened.

Then frost the cake with the rest of the cream cheese frosting. I decorated mine with sprinkles.

Keep the cake in the fridge. It can stand at room temperature about half an hour before serving, if necessary.

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119 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sera  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    You’ve just blown my mind with the idea of a crumb coat! I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of it before! Thank you! (Also that cake looks incredible.) I hope you do keep up 17 and baking, I love your writing, and your ideas. But life often has other plans for us, as no doubt you’ve already discovered :) Just keep doing what you love (trite, but true).

    Sera

    Reply
  • 2. Sue  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Wow, this looks incredible and I love the idea of the food coloring gel. Where in Europe are you going? Best of luck to you for the fall semester. I miss your posts; your writing is lyrical. But I totally “get” that you have lots of other things going on in your life right now! Take care, Elissa! Enjoy every minute of Europe!

    Reply
    • 3. Elissa  |  August 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      Sue – I’m living in a 14th century medieval castle in the Netherlands! But I’m planning to spend my weekends and breaks traveling all over Europe.

  • 4. Margaret  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    You are fantastic! Don’t worry about baking breaks. (I don’t consider them ruts if you still have the passion for it.) Sometimes we need to change focus for a time to appreciate what we had before, and we come back with a greater understanding and gratitude for what we had when we return to it. Enjoy your semester abroad; baking will always be your mainstay, and even if you lose the passion, you can still reminisce on that summer where you found your joy in baking.

    Keep up your great writing style, though. I don’t think you will ever lose that talent.

    Reply
  • 5. Mika Lai  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Elissa-

    Your posts always inspire me. I read what you wrote about fearing that you’ve wasted an opportunity and failing and immediately knew that I have felt the same way. I’m so happy that you have the determination to pull through. Thank you for writing.

    -Mika

    Reply
  • 6. Blog is the New Black  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    This looks gorgeous! I hope you continue to blog, even if it’s just now and then. I think all of us bloggers go through phases where we lose our mojo or life interferes… I’ve been in a bit of a funk myself. However, you aren not accountable to anyone! We love to read your site for pleasure! But people understand that life doesn’t always allow!

    Reply
  • 7. Chef Tom Minchella  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Everyone goes through a rut once in a while even myself who has to cook endless meals every day. Look for inspiration, Keep up the great work and have fun in Europe!

    Reply
  • 8. Denise Rambo  |  August 11, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    As long as you WANT to WANT to continue, it will all come back Sweetie. You’ve got a lot going on right now – as it should be. As much as we’ll miss seeing your posts as frequently as we would like, trust that we ALL want you to have as FULL a college experience as you can possibly manage. We know you’ll come back when you’re ready. (((Elissa)))

    Reply
  • 9. Dawei Liu  |  August 11, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    It really was that good.

    But I didn’t know you had the ability to drink expressions? You have to teach me the secret next time.

    No, but seriously, I want to thank you for such an awesome cake. It was…incredibly fantastic!

    Reply
  • 10. Nisrine M.  |  August 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    It looks fabulous. This is especially appealing to someone like me who adores both red velvet and cheesecake.

    Reply
  • 11. Ellie Wong  |  August 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I’m a fan because I love the delightful way you express your thoughts. I have never baked any of your recipes so when you say you are spending a semester in Europe and might not find time to bake I want to tell you to put your mind at ease and enjoy yourself. Why not share with us your impressions of bakery goods you find in different places. Or whatever suits your fancy. I, for one, just enjoy your blog for the beautiful way you express yourself.

    Reply
  • 12. Nicole  |  August 11, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I have been following your blog for 2 years and love it! Enjoy your college years and Europe. Post when you can, we will all be here waiting for your recipes!

    Reply
  • 13. Julie  |  August 11, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I totally understand how you feel. I was burnt out and not interested in massage therapy anymore in college and finally I left the program. Later, I worked as phone support in fixing computers and was burnt out with dealing with customers and left that job. I felt like I didn’t want to deal with people anymore, which is a difficult thing to avoid in life. It took some time, but I don’t mind helping out people now.

    It indeed takes time to recover from being burnt out. I’m glad you’re starting to shake out of it though. This cake looks amazing and I’ll have to give it a try.

    *Hugs* Good luck in Europe, stay safe and have fun. And savour and enjoy the food there.

    Reply
  • 14. Darilyn  |  August 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    My daughter’s 17 birthday is in two days and this cake is “the one”. Wasn’t sure what to make for her but how appropriate to find it here at “17 and baking”. Thank you!

    Reply
  • 15. trina @ best salad recipes  |  August 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Your beautiful photos show off what a delicious velvet cake this is! will try it this weekend with my mom. thanks for sharing Elissa ;-)

    Reply
  • 16. jasmin @ american recipes  |  August 11, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    I love cheesecakes! this is great recipe, Definitely on my ‘must try’ list. thank you :-)

    Reply
  • 17. jenny from best chocolate recipes  |  August 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Looks so yummy and delicious! will definitely try you recipe, this good for my husbands coming birthday. thanks ;-)

    Reply
  • 18. Rachel  |  August 11, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    you, my dear, are marvelous. this is absolutely amazing. i am so impressed with your age, your writing and your creativity. even if your entries are sporadic, your audience will appreciate what we can get!

    Reply
  • 19. Andy  |  August 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Hi from New Zealand! I have been following your blog for a while now and am so impressed with everything you make! the red velvet cheesecake looks amazing – definitely putting that on my ‘to bake’ list. I hope you keep up the blogging, you are very talented!

    Reply
  • 20. Alexandra  |  August 12, 2011 at 12:16 am

    This is fabulous! I am DEFINITELY going to try this.
    Thanks for the wonderful post!

    Reply
  • 21. Warm Vanilla Sugar  |  August 12, 2011 at 1:32 am

    This cake sounds amazing! Don’t worry. I don’t know how long you’re going to Europe or what for, but I currently live in Switzerland and am baking up a storm! They don’t have vanilla extract, but vanilla beans, and they don’t have brown sugar, but have molasses and regular sugar. You just have to make due, and you’ll be able to. If you’re only here for a month, just take some time off! Your readers will still be here for you. Now, tell us more about Europe!

    Reply
    • 22. Elissa  |  August 12, 2011 at 2:21 am

      Warm Vanilla Sugar – Thanks for the encouragement! It’s not so much the ingredients… More like, no kitchen/no baking supplies. But I’m not worried. Whether or not I can bake, I’ll have plenty to blog about!

  • 23. diné  |  August 12, 2011 at 1:58 am

    beautiful! :)

    Reply
  • 24. Procrastibaking  |  August 12, 2011 at 3:29 am

    The oppurtunites will only be as scarce as you allow them to be! I’m sure you’ve got plenty of readers/followers on the continent that’d be more than happy to let you potter around in their kitchen. Come visit the UK!

    Reply
  • 25. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker  |  August 12, 2011 at 4:31 am

    I saw a cake like this a while back and thought how awesommmeee it looked then, and now my cravings for this divine looking thing have just shot through the roof! Your write up touched me, im quite new to the blog world and dont now how im going to deal with it when my final year of uni starts in september…but what will be hey. Where theres a will theres a way! Lovely recipe and you have a seriously fantastic blog, one of the best :)

    Reply
  • 26. myFudo  |  August 12, 2011 at 4:33 am

    nice combo coming up with the cake. I would never have thought of red velvet and cheese. Do not worry we all need some time off once in a while to rekindle the fire. What I can tell you is that you really got talent, its in you. Great inspiring food blog.

    Reply
  • 27. Fired Up Cooking SA  |  August 12, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Hello from South Africa! I’ve been following your blog for for the last year or so, love your writing and recipes! I’ve never tried a red velvet cake, but this recipe has me inspired – thank you. I’ve also been through a baking/cooking/blogging slump, but am starting to come out of it and so will you! Enjoy your time in Europe :)

    Reply
  • 28. Baby Of the Family  |  August 12, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Oh my goodness… YUM

    Reply
  • 29. Barbara Lybarger  |  August 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    That cake looks amazing! Yum! There might not be many baking opportunities while you are in Europe, but think about all the food exploration you can do to get inspired!! We’ve been living in Europe for over a year now and I’m always amazed at the different foods we’ve been able to try. Perhaps, living in Europe will rekindle your love of baking or maybe you’ll decide to go another direction with your love of food :)

    Reply
  • 30. marybeth  |  August 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Half way through your post I knew in my heart that you would never give it up, that time might pass but it is part of you and I think it is something that you wont ever be able to walk away from. You describe the thrill of buying the ingredients – that does not happen to most. This is a passion that will be with you – forever. You have an amazing gift – Europe will show you another side to this art . . . . .be kind to yourself – you are an aware young woman – possibilities are endless. Best of luck and many Blessings

    Reply
  • 31. Hinna  |  August 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    The cake looks gorgeous! I only recently tasted my very first red velvet cake and now that you’ve posted this up, I am sure I will have my second bite very soon.
    All the best on your new adventure to Europe. Maybe you’ll be inspired by what you see and eat there that you will come home with a head full of ideas.

    Reply
  • 32. Katy  |  August 12, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Yum! One of my best friends loves red velvet. I’ll have to make this for her and see what she thinks!
    On another note, I’m so jealous that you’re going to Europe. All I’ve been able to think about for the past week or so is how much I want to travel abroad. I’ve been daydreaming about it 24/7. Hopefully soon I can turn that dream into a reality. :) I hope you have an amazing experience abroad!

    Reply
  • 33. Alison  |  August 12, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    This cheesecake looks amazing – can’t wait to try it when I need a “special” dessert. With regard to the blog/baking, sometimes taking a break is just what you need to gain some perspective and to rediscover why you love writing and baking all over again. You certainly haven’t lost your touch in making images come alive with your descriptions and your passion jumps off the page. Enjoy your time in Europe – enjoy the culture, the food and the new experiences. I’m sure you’ll come back with amazing new ideas.

    Reply
  • 34. Ella's Edge  |  August 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    We all become distracted and blocked, it is part of the crEATive process~ Do what you love and remember there are many ways to entertain and distract your muse! enJOY Europe and allow your senses to wonder and wander! I look forward to what you cook up and what passion stirs you~ ATB

    Reply
  • 35. Jan  |  August 12, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I’ve missed you…please keep baking. This cake looks fantastic. I’ll have to think of someone real special to “surprise” them with it. Can’t wait. Happy Trails!

    Reply
  • 36. Lördagslänkar | Söta saker  |  August 13, 2011 at 5:07 am

    [...] Och red velvet cheesecake – bara idén att kombinera två tunga superkakor är ju lysande! – från 17 and baking. [...]

    Reply
  • 37. Homeschool on the Croft  |  August 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    *Faint*…….

    That looks beyond delicious. I actually stumbled across your blog looking for lemon basil ideas, so I’ve bookmarked your olive oil cake. Now I’m off to do more browsing

    Reply
  • 38. Madeleine  |  August 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    This looks absolutely amazing. What a great idea to combine red velvet and cheesecake. Can’t wait to try making it!

    Reply
  • 39. Nia  |  August 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    This cake looks delicious, and I wouldn’t worry about not being my best, you either have passion for baking again or you don’t. That’s not a bad thing but, you’ll always have these wonderful outside of the box recipes. I never would’ve thought to use cheesecake in red velvet, but now that i think about it cream cheese is used in cheese cake, so I understand where the idea came from. But, maybe you just need to get back into baking and practice a few times. You’ll be as good as yo were in no time!

    Reply
  • 40. mammalfish  |  August 13, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    I almost never comment here, but this is one of my favorite blogs on the internet. Your writing is exquisite and spectacular, it always is. If I can volunteer an idea, I think this might be helpful to you: don’t confine your writing, or even your blogging, to baking. You’re a great-enough writer that you will always have a readership, no matter the subject, because you approach life in general with a thoughtfulness that people are drawn to, AND you convey it well into writing. That’s a rare gift. I may know nothing about you, but if I could hazard a guess I would say that writing and blogging is probably great solace for you, when the mood strikes. Baking may be available to you only rarely at this point, and therefore that passion may go in and out right now–but no matter where you are in your life, you can ALWAYS be writing about it, and I swear we’ll always be here to read what you have to say! =)

    Good luck, girl.

    Reply
  • 41. kyleen  |  August 14, 2011 at 1:29 am

    Your nostalgia is contagious. Reading this post made me reflect about my own life and the things that I’m going through. I’m only sixteen, but the whole college thing is getting closer and closer, and I feel like all my time is slipping away. Have fun in Europe!

    Reply
  • 42. Natalie  |  August 14, 2011 at 4:12 am

    This looks absolutely amazing. Looks so yummy and delicious! Can’t wait to try making it!

    Reply
  • 43. Holly  |  August 14, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Fab inspiration! And enjoy Europe!!

    Reply
  • 44. julia  |  August 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    such gorgeous pictures!! also i want to eat that.

    Reply
  • 45. greensandchocolate  |  August 14, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I have no doubt that you will never lose that passion you have for baking and blogging…enjoy your time in Europe and eat all of the yummy things other people made for you! :) What a delicious looking cheesecake!!!

    Reply
  • 46. Anna  |  August 15, 2011 at 8:42 am

    first of all, this cake looks amazing. I really like the little rainbow border you did! how did you manage to have it look so clean and simple? if I ever try anything with nonparails they just roll over the entire kitchen…
    do not be sad or afraid coming to europe! the netherlands are great! the people are really friendly, the seaside is never far and they do have really good baked things! I am german myself but I practically grew up in the netherlands with my family spending most of our free time there.
    but if you will find yourself in need of a kitchen and wanting to see a bit of germany on the same weekend don´t hesitate to write me a mail and request a hot oven, a driver to show you arround and a place to stay for the weekend. of course it would only be in exchange for the secret to handeling nonparails but, by the look of that cake, that should not be a problem for you…
    all the best and a save journey
    anna

    Reply
    • 47. Elissa  |  August 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Anna – Thank you! I poured a small bit of sprinkles in my palm. Then I used my other hand to gently sprinkle them onto the cake – I just used my thumb, pointer finger, and middle finger, working with a few sprinkles at a time. I went really slowly and kept my hand close to the cake. Then (this sounds ridiculous when I say it) I went back with a pair of tweezers and picked out stray sprinkles.

      Thank you so much for the offer! I’m definitely planning to visit Germany during the semester, it’s just a question of WHICH German city to visit. So many to choose from! If you’ve got a recommendation, I’d love to hear it.

  • 48. Kelsey  |  August 15, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Don’t worry about baking ruts. They are perfectly normal, especially to those of us with a passion for cookbooks, being in the kitchen, and the smell of our favorite ingredients. In fact, I’m not convinced you’re even in a rut. Perhaps you are simply experiencing so many wonderful new things in your life and you want to give them some time, as well. That’s the beauty of being the age you are–there is so much to explore and so much more of YOU to discover.

    You may be without much of a kitchen as you study abroad, but I have a feeling that new markets, new ingredients, and new culinary traditions will have you intrigued and invigorated all at once!

    Reply
  • 49. NICOLA LOMBARDI  |  August 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    NEVER stop baking! Love the blog, stuning pictures, this recipe cake is insane!

    Nom!

    Reply
  • 50. Virginie  |  August 15, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Wow. This is absolute food porn. I would make that my wallpaper if I could.

    Reply
  • 51. Olivia  |  August 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

    This cake looks amazing. You certainly haven’t lost your touch in making images come alive with your descriptions and your passion jumps off the page. Enjoy your semester abroad!

    Reply
  • 52. kamran siddiqi  |  August 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Elissa- when I read this post a couple days ago, I was in a rut. I needed inspiration, so I ran to all of the sites that inspire me to write. I spent a good two hours reading posts from different sites until I felt that I could write a post again. The monthly-long break that I took killed me, but knowing that I’ll always find inspiration to write makes my long writing process worth while because I discover great posts and recipes that are simply genius.

    I personally don’t remember seeing a cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of red velvet cake on the web. Maybe they just weren’t as memorable as this one.

    As always- gorgeous photos and beautifully written post, Elissa.

    Reply
  • 53. Diane {Created by Diane}  |  August 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Elissa, your cake looks fantastic! It combines two of my favorites. I’m sure your friend LOVED it. Have a great time in Europe. I love your writing :) feel like I’m sitting across the table from you…wish I were. You are wonderful and no matter what you put your thoughts and time into you’ll succeed.

    Reply

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Elissa Bernstein



I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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I want to read everything. #TheStrand Mmmmm... Green tea chocolate lava cake! #spotdessertbar Last night I sat in @StephenColbert's chair. My life is now complete. AHHHHHHHHH! #ColbertAudience Yay! Spontaneous mid afternoon macaron break. @bouchonbakeryrc Ohmygosh! Strawberry and tarragon gelato! FAO Schwartz is equal parts chaos, commercialization, and crazy happy joy About to eat my first Pink Lady apple! (More like Red Red Red Lady.)

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