No fake food coloring here, the beautiful red color comes from pureed beets. It isn't overly sweet, but it is very rich. I had been searching for such a recipe for quite a while. You can find the beet-red velvet recipes for regular cakes, but not so much in the cheesecake department. I was able to find two recipes similar to what I was going for, but not there yet. Thanks to the initial dabbling between the SkinnyChef.com's Jennifer Iserloh's recipe and withaspin.com's Lail's marbled cheesecake recipe and much experimentation, (and perhaps a few extra pounds of trial and error), I think I've finally sorted out what I had been aiming for. —Rachel Nelson
a 10" cheesecake
Honey Graham cracker crumbs
Chocolate Graham cracker crumbs
Packed dark brown sugar
Cream cheese, softened (4 of the 8oz packs)
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Dark chocolate chunks
Pureed canned beets (you can use fresh beets after steaming, but use less, closer to 3/4 c.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grind cracker and cookie crumbs together, add brown sugar and mix. Then add melted butter and fold together. Transfer crumb mixture to a 10” springform pan (9" if you want a real-thick cheesecake). Press crumbs onto bottom and up the sides. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, add sour cream, continue mixing until silky-smooth. Turn the mixer to low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition and scraping down the sides, add egg whites, one at a time. Lower the speed to stirring and add in cocoa powder and pureed beets. Finally, add in the chocolate chunks and stir until they're well mixed in. Pour into pan with your crust and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until edge is set but center still jiggles. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack and immediately run thin knife around inside perimeter of pan to loosen from side. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate for 3 hours. Cover loosely; refrigerate overnight.
To serve: When you're ready for the grand presentation, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and then sprinkle your pomegranate seeds on top of that. Voila, beautiful.