Sweet Spells Sunday: Red Velvet Hibiscus Cheesecake
This Sweet Spells Sunday was inspired by a recipe from Sugar Dish Me--the big difference being the addition of hibiscus as a flavor component (and a witchy element).
You might remember from my post about hibiscus syrup, that after I made my first batch, I was integrating it into anything I could.
This recipe drew me to it because I love both red velvet cake and cheesecake. They're both such decadent, sinful treats that I felt hibiscus was the perfect addition. As you might recall, hibiscus is an aphrodisiac--making this dessert a rich, lusty little snack.
Like any cheesecake, this is a labor of love, but boyyy is it worth it.
For the Crust: - 8 whole chocolate graham crackers, crushed into fine crumbs - 5 tablespoons melted butter
For the Cake: - 3 (8 ounce) blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature - ¾ cup granulated sugar - ¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder - 4 large eggs, at rook temperature - 2 teaspoons hibiscus syrup - ¼ teaspoons salt - ⅓ cup heavy cream - red food dye
For the Gel Frosting: - ¼ cup COLD water - 3 teaspoons cornstarch - ¼ cup light corn syrup - 2 teaspoons hibiscus syrup - more red food dye
Preheat your oven to 325F. Line a 9" springform pan with parchment paper--letting the paper cover the edges of the bottom of the pan before closing the springform edge around it.
Combine the crushed chocolate graham crackers and melted butter until the crumbs are evenly coated. Press them into the prepared pan.
Beat the softened cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add the unsweetened cocoa and mix until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom at least once. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Then mix in the hibiscus syrup, salt, and heavy cream. Taste test it to see if the hibiscus is coming through as much as you want. Add a little more if not--just keep in mind you don't want it ending up too watery.
Add the red food dye until the batter is a deep red color. This might take a few tries.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it over the crust.
Bake for 20 minutes at 325F. Then reduce the oven temperature to 225F and bake for 30 more minutes. Turn the oven off and DO NOT open the oven door. Just let the cheesecake stay in there until the oven cools to room temperature. This prevents cracking.
Use a knife to gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan before popping the springform sides open.
To make the gel frosting, stir together the cold water and cornstarch until smooth. Pour it into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour in the corn syrup and stir until the mixture is heated through and smooth. You will need to stir frequently. You'll see it visibly thicken as it cooks.
Remove the mixture from the burner after 1-2 minutes. Stir in the hibiscus syrup and red food dye. Once again, test it until the flavor seems adequate to your taste--just be conscious of the consistency. Make sure it's not too watery.
Let the gel cool before spooning it over the cake. Then refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
All you love witches out there, make sure to save this in your back pocket for Valentine's Day. You'll have your lover drooling, like putty in your palms.