Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Carrot Cake CheesecakeThe (Cream) Cheese Stands Alone

If it’s Easter Sunday, you can pretty much count on there being a carrot cake on our table…which is a good thing. I am pretty sure it’s not the cake I love so much (though that it pretty tasty) but rather, the cream cheese frosting. If I am being honest with myself, the carrot cake is just the socially accepted vessel for the creamy goodness that is cream cheese frosting. Eating the entire bowl with a spoon is, apparently frowned upon. If I could, I would put cream cheese frosting on everything.

Over the years our carrot cakes have come in many forms: cupcakes, sheet cakes even trifles, but I saw a recipe this year that has me intrigued…it gives cream cheese frosting a twist. Though I may be giving up my precious frosting, I am still getting that sweet cheese flavor, and it is in a layer that is as thick as I wish I could spread the frosting on without people thinking I’m nuts. (Which I am by the way.)

If you’re looking for tradition with a twist this Easter, give this Carrot Cake Cheesecake a try!

Carrot Cake Cheesecake
Adapted from the Food Network

You need to get a jump on this recipe, as the carrot cake should be made a day in advance, and the cheesecake needs time in the fridge to set.

The reviews mentioned that this cake was too dry. We increased the oil by 2 tablespoons from the original recipe. Also mind your oven temperature, you might want to decrease it to bake more slowly. Or you can use your own recipe as long as it’s not too moist, since the cheese cake has to be supported.

There are video instructions at this link.

Ingredients
For the Carrot Cake
1/2 cup pecan halves, plus more, chopped, for garnish
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot (2 to 3 medium carrots)

For the Cheesecake
Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Sour Cream Topping:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt

For the Sour Cream Topping
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt

Directions
For the Carrot Cake

Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat it to 350º F. Spread 1/2 cup of the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool, and then finely chop.

Combine the pecans, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs in a separate bowl. Stir the carrots into the egg mixture. Fold the carrot-egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour into an ungreased 9-inch springform cake pan, and tap it on the counter to even out the batter. Bake until the cake bounces back when pressed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. The cake can be made a day ahead and stored in the pan.

For the Cheesecake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Beat the cream cheese, sour cream and granulated sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the flour, lemon zest and juice and vanilla, about 1 minute.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the carrot cake. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with a large piece of foil. Put in a roasting pan or a large baking dish and fill halfway up the sides of the cake pan with water. Bake until the cheesecake is pale yellow and just jiggles slightly in the center, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the hot oven for 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and, run a sharp knife around the edge. Allow to cool completely on a rack. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

For the Sour Cream Topping
Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, sour cream, vanilla and salt. Spread on top of the cooled cheesecake; garnish with chopped pecans.

Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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