Carrot Cake Cheesecake

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A lot of times, I get asked how I decide which recipes to post on the blog.  There is really no specific thought-process that I follow for this sort of thing.  However, I’ve noticed that the majority of my most recent recipe posts have followed a pattern.  That is, I make something to take to work or to a party.  They love it so much that they ask “When is this recipe going on The Broke Baker?”  Well, shoot!  Once they’ve pretty much expressed guaranteed blog traffic, how can I refuse?

And, that is how this Carrot Cake Cheesecake recipe came to be this month’s recipe post.  Originally, I made this cake using red velvet cake as the base, but my manager asked that I recreate it with carrot cake for her birthday in May.  When I decided to part ways with the company, I promised to post the recipe for said carrot cake cheesecake on the blog, so that someone else may be able to make it for her.  And, since I keep my promises, here it is!

I always try to take advantage when I have access to a kitchen that is nicer than mine.  So, during my last visit to my family in Texas, I talked my aunt into making the carrot cake cheesecake with me.  Since I don’t like coconut or raisins, this cake doesn’t use either of those.  That came as a surprise to my aunt, who laid them out for me when she was prepping the ingredients for me.  I had to fight her tooth and nail to get her to back down from putting them in the cake.  Of course, YOU are welcome to include them in your cake when you make it.  It’s a matter of personal preference.

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One thing worth noting is that, for this recipe, I use disposable round cake pans.  I’ve noticed that my regular round baking pans are not the same size as my springform pan, even though they are both supposedly 9″ round pans.  This makes the cheesecake stick out on the sides, making it a pain to frost the assembled cake.  The disposable pans helps to make sure that all of the layers are the same size, without the hassle of trying to get a cheesecake out of a regular cake pan.  Just make sure you grease them well.

The first thing you want to do is make your cheesecake.  You can make it in advance and freeze it until you need it.  I usually make it the night before.

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You start by putting your cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and mixing them until creamy.  Add your eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.  You can also add ¼ cup of sour cream to the batter, if you like.  Pour it into your greased pan, and bake.  I use a water bath, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.

When the cheesecake is done.  Allow it to cool completely, then pop it in the freezer for at least an hour (or, until you’re ready to use it).  You want it to be firm so that it doesn’t break or fall apart when you’re layering your cake.

Once you’re ready, start making your cake.  You can technically make this a 2-layer cake (one cake layer and one cheesecake layer), but I think 3-layers looks nicer.

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Gather all of your materials.  Setting everything up makes your life a lot easier and will make the process go faster.

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Beat your eggs, oil, vanilla, and applesauce together until well-combined, then add your sugars.  While that’s mixing, sift your dry ingredients, then add them to the mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Stir in your carrots, pineapple, and chopped nuts.  Divide this batter evenly between the two cake pans.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until they are done.  If you’re using the foil pans, make sure to bake them on a cookie sheet.  Those pans are flimsy.  There will probably be some spillage, but we’ll deal with that in a bit.  Let your cake cool completely.

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While the cake is cooling, you can make your frosting.  Make sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, toss them in the bowl of your stand mixer, and beat until creamy.  Add in your vanilla extract and a pinch of salt, then your powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth, and you’re good to go.

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Now, we will even the cake layers out.  This is around the time that I would be removing the cakes from the pans and leveling them with a cake leveler.  My aunt, however, had other plans.  Using the rim of the foil pan as a guide, she got to work.  Why didn’t I think of that!?  So, go ahead and even your cakes out, then place one of the layers on your serving platform.

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We are finally ready to assemble our masterpiece.  Since the family’s house is devoid of a cake decorating turntable, we improvised by placing the plate on a bowl to make it easier to turn.  Add a thin coating of frosting to the bottom layer, then place your cheesecake on top.   Add another thin coating of icing, then your second cake layer.  Next, dollop a generous amount of frosting on the top, then work it towards the outside and sides of the cake.  Smooth it out as best as you can.  You can do decorating and piping, if you want.  I wasn’t feeling very fancy after all of that work, so I just left it like that.

Pop that baby in the fridge for a couple of hours, or overnight.  That will give the layers time to meld and set.  I think it tastes best when it sits overnight, but a certain someone couldn’t wait that long.  We cut it less than 3 hours later.

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Yeah, baby!  Check out that beautiful layer of cheesecake in between that moist cake.  Are you drooling yet?

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Let me tell you, this cake was a HIT.  No coconut or raisins, but it still earned me the respect of a veteran cook/baker.  For the die-hard coconut and raisin fans, I urge you to try it at least once without them.  You may find that you don’t miss them at all.

Best of all, this technique works with pretty much any flavor of cake.

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Red velvet cake cheesecake, anyone?  Use your imagination, and this combination will always be sure to please!

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

(makes 12 servings)

Ingredients

For the Cheesecake:

  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream (optional)

For the Carrot Cake:

  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cups vegetable oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt (optional)

Directions

Make the Cheesecake:

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.  Grease your round baking pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla extract and sour cream (if using).  Pour into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center is set.  Allow to cool completely, then store in the freezer until ready to use.

Make the Carrot Cake:

Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour your round baking pans.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.  Add your white and brown sugar, and continue mixing.  Sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon.  Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then beat until just blended.  Do not over-mix.  Stir in carrots, pecans, and pineapple. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

Beat your cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth.  Stir in vanilla extract, then powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth and creamy.

Assembly:

Place one layer of the carrot cake on a serving dish or cake board.  Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting on top, then place the cheesecake on top of it.  Repeat this for the second layer of the cake.  Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

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