Momma Told Me: My Offering To The Valentine's Racket: Red Velvet Cheesecake Recipe Inside

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Offering To The Valentine's Racket: Red Velvet Cheesecake Recipe Inside

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Momma Told Me: No piece of paper can tell you how loved you are.

When I was in grade school, surely not past 4th grade, we'd spent a solid week producing elaborately decorated mailboxes for Valentine's Day. After all, everyone knows how elementary teachers love holidays for 'creative' busy work. I recall being still too young to grasp the true sentiment of the occasion, but also old enough to question why everyone had to get a Valentine- didn't that defeat the point? /however, even as an introverted young girl with coke bottle glasses and a thirst for reading over social engagement, I admittedly looked forward to day for that precise reason. The candy was a bonus, yes, but to feel included in my class truly felt special.
Red Velvet M&Ms
During the last 20 minutes of the school day, given our teacher's blessing, we'd dump the desk mounted mailboxes and rifle through the squares of paper. Inevitably, the store-bought cards would be passed about like trading cards, as students searched for their favorite cartoon character or a new joke. In the very front row, I sat, working on the night's homework assignment. I wanted to savor the experience, I dared not spoil it all at school.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Filling
Later that night, sometime after negotiating dessert for three pieces of Valentine's candy, I retreated to my room, where I carefully flipped the top of my mailbox and watched as the stream of colored papers fell like a waterfall of warm wishes. Most of my Valentine's had been store bought, and a few the standard heart cutouts we'd made in class. In the middle of the pile, with an Orange lollipop taped to it was a square of folded notebook paper. Curious, I reached for that one first. Inside, written in neat handwriting was a simple note;

"I know you don't have a lot of freinds, would u like to be mine?"

Spelling error and all, my eyes began to well up. Outside of the young girl who lived down the path, my mother arranged play-dates with, I had no friends of my own. It was not because I didn't want any, merely because no one had ever bothered to ask.
Red Velvet Cheesecake Cups
I promptly sprung to my feet and pulled my backpack in from the hallway. I pulled out a fresh piece of notebook paper and my favorite Lisa Frank stickers, the puffy ones with the glitter inset. Tapping the pencil on my front teeth I thought for quite a while, in my young little mind this might just be the most important document I'd ever write. Taking a deep breath, I sat at my desk, tongue hanging slightly to the side between a bite of concentration and wrote,

"I would love to be your friend. My name is Jenna and I have a cat named Tippy. Do you have any pets? I also like the color blue. (smiley face)"

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cups
I never truly did burst out of my wallflower stage- I wish I could tell you a tale otherwise, but I remained quite studious and inverted through the majority of my scholastic career. But, just because I didn't have a lot of friends didn't mean I didn't have valued friends. In fact, that elementary experience put in place a very important tradition of extending the exact same sentiment to someone new, every year. Not every hand-written Valentine succeeded in a blossoming new friendship, but it certainly never did any harm. And, while I still have that original piece of paper in my childhood diary today, it's safe to say this commercial 'holiday' did a fair bit of good in this individual's life.
Red Velvet Cheesecake
While I don't agree people should be so driven by dates and titles to celebrate certain individuals by commitment once a year- (Mother's Day, Valentine's, Veteran's Day), I do think they should serve as a solid reminder that we should appreciate. If you need a holiday to be that driving reason, then use it. Otherwise, I simply ask you to remember that there are countless little girls sitting in the front of the class without friends, figuratively speaking, and they all can benefit from an outstretched hand. Treasure the connections you've nurtured for years, but also keep your eyes open for new ones. You never know what lies beyond that folded piece of paper. Have a meaningful Valentine's Day!

What Daughter Says: Make this Valentine's Day about connections. Love is the human condition- it knows no labels. Nor should your appreciation.

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Red Velvet Cheesecake 
****Click for printable red velvet cheesecake recipe.


*1 Box Devil's Food Cake Mix
* 1/2 C Butter/Margerine, Softened
* 3 Packages (8oz each) Cream Cheese, Softened
* 1 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips, Melted and Cooled Slightly
* 1/2 C Sour Cream
* 3/4 C Granulated White Sugar
* 2 TBS Red Velvet Emulsion or 1 TBS Red Food Coloring
* 3 Eggs
* 1 1/2 C Frozen Whipped Topping, Thawed
* 1/2 C Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350F

1.) Grease and flour (or grease and dust with cocoa powder) a 10" Springform pan. Reserve 1/4 C cake mix for filling, set aside. In a large bowl, beat remaining cake mix and butter with electric mixer on low speed. Press in bottom of pan and 1 1/2" up sides of pan.

2.) In a large bowl, beat reserved 1/4 C cake mix, softened cream cheese, melted chocolate, sour cream, sugar, and red velvet emulsion/food color on medium speed until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Pour over crust.

3.) Bake 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until edges of cheesecake set at least 2" from sides of pan, yet center still jiggles when pan is shook. Turn off oven' open the oven door 4". Leave cheesecake in oven an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool pan 30 minutes. Refrigerate 6 hours, or overnight.

4.) Whip cream cheese frosting and thawed whipped topping together. Place mixture in a piping bag and pipe around edges of cheesecake. Chill until ready to serve.


  1. That's such a sweet story. Perfect to go with your sweet dessert.

  2. Such an honest and thoughtful post! Glad I read this, you reminded me that we need to work on my daughter's Valentines mailbox. Sheesh, I'm not good at these things!

  3. That cheesecake looks fantastic. I too loved the grade school Valentine's Day exchanges.

  4. That looks so unbelievably good! Looks perfect for Valentine's day! YUMMY!

  5. This looks delicious! My goodness, now I want it!

  6. I think I gained 5 pounds just reading this post. My mouth is watering!

  7. Isn't it amazing how one piece of paper can affect us our whole life. Negative or positive? I too remember all the speculation around Valentine's day. THanks for the lovely recipe.