I have had this recipe bookmarked for a while. While trying to decide on what to serve for dessert on Easter Sunday, I had to eliminate our usual Strawberry Cream Cake or Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp since Catherine has such a deep-seeded hatred of strawberries. I hear she also hates puppies, kittens, rainbows, and sunshine...but to each his (or in this case, her) own. Maybe I should stop picking on poor Catherine since I have already done so here.
Anyway, Catherine loves carrot cake and I hear she is famous for making one for Easter last year. She also loves cheesecake of any kind - it was normally her birthday dessert request while we were growing up. I remembered that I had bookmarked the recipe for this Carrot-Cake Cheesecake and sent the link over to Catherine for approval. She immediately wrote back: "Oooh. Let's do that!"
So, Matthew and I made this beautiful dessert on Good Friday. In the future, I will try not to make food preparations for Easter on Good Friday since I am normally fasting. This Good Friday, Paul and I had the crazy idea to do a 24 hour fast together. It was really rough. I was so darn hungry while making this dessert that I debated whether eating the butter wrappers would count as actual food. But, I managed to exercise some extreme will power and resisted the urge to eat paper. Matthew had to taste all the components as we baked away - and everything met with his approval - perhaps even a little too much. I had to save the cake at multiple times during the baking process. At one point, Matthew was spooning so much cake batter (raw eggs!!!) that I had to ban him from his perch atop the counter (and no, he was certainly not participating in the fast - I think he was just eating more than usual that day to torture Paul and me). When we stuck a toothpick into the center of the cake to test for doneness, he thought that was an invitation to take a bite - so he grabbed a fork and was about ready to start on his afternoon snack before I flew across the room just in time. I explained to him that we had to wait for Aunt Catherine to come before eating the cake.
"Oh yes. It's for Aunt Catherine! Aunt Catherine is coming to our house!" He replied happily. He seemed to understand and kept talking about how excited he was to give Aunt Catherine her cake.
Fast forward two days and it is the end of our Easter feast and we are ready for dessert. I call to Matthew to come back to the dinner table because it is now time for cake. He comes racing across the room at full speed: "OK Mommy! It's time for Aunt Catherine's cake!"
We pulled it out of the fridge, unwrapped it, and set it on the counter-top. I was about to cut into it when Matthew cried: "No Mommy! You forgot! Aunt Catherine needs to blow out the candles on her birthday cake!"
Apparently, Matthew thought that when I told him we were making the cake "for Aunt Catherine" that we were in fact making the cake for Aunt Catherine's birthday. Which was in January. Nowhere near April 20th.
But, to appease the boy, Paul rummaged around and found a single, pathetic pink candle leftover from Emma's birthday party and handed it to Matthew. We thought he would choose to set it in the center of the cake where we had made a little "nest" of toasted coconut and chocolate malt ball eggs - but no. Instead, he stuck it completely off center.
|We couldn't stop laughing while singing to our fake birthday girl.|
Aunt Catherine (and the rest of us) loved this cake. It was absolutely delicious - a moist carrot cake swirled with vanilla cheesecake and topped with a rich, tangy cream cheese frosting. It was not too sweet - which I very much appreciated after such a heavy meal - and everyone seemed to love it. Little Matthew ate his in stages - first the frosting, followed by the cheesecake layer a couple hours later, and then the carrot cake portion for breakfast. Weirdo.
Happy 26.279th birthday, Catherine!
The evenng of Easter Sunday, I received a note from one of my dearest friends from high school with a link to this recipe urging me to make it. I thought it was so funny that she had been enjoying this same dessert for Easter. This recipe is a popular one for good reason - it is truly amazing. If you are a lover of cheesecake or carrot cake - you will adore Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Am I trying too hard to convince you of the awesomeness of this cake? Just make it already and experience it for yourself.
Carrot Cake Cheesecake
adapted just slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
For the Cheesecake Layer:
2 (8-ounces each) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
For the Carrot Cake Layer:
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 heaping cup finely grated carrots
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sour cream
For the cheesecake layer, beat the cream cheese and sugar together with a stand mixer until creamy. Add the eggs and flour and continue beating until smooth. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix just until blended. Transfer the cheesecake layer to a medium bowl and set aside. Wipe out the bowl of the stand mixer for use in mixing the carrot cake layer.
For the carrot cake layer, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of the stand mixer beat together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. Beat until the mixture is creamy and light colored. Stir in the flour mixture just until combined. Gently fold in the carrots.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter. Spread half of the carrot cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Dollop half of the cheesecake batter on top of the carrot cake layer in large spoonfuls. Carefully dollop the rest of the carrot cake batter on and around the spoonfuls of cheesecake batter. Do not spread or swirl the batters together. Spread the last half of the cheesecake batter on top of all the layers and use an offset spatula to gently spread into an even layer. Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake the cheesecake for 55-70 minutes just until the very center of the cheesecake still jiggles slightly when the pan is moved. Begin checking the cheesecake regularly at the 50 minute mark, being sure to tent the top of the cheesecake with foil if it looks like it is browning too quickly.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to chill slightly while you make the frosting.
To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter with a stand mixer set on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar a little at a time. Crank the machine up to medium-high and beat the frosting until it is very creamy and almost fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, pinch of salt and sour cream and beat well.
When the cheesecake feels slightly cold to the touch, spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Immediately place in the fridge to firm for about an hour and then tightly wrap the pan in plastic. Keep the cheesecake refrigerated until ready to serve. This cheesecake is awesome when made in advance so the flavors really have the chance to meld together. Enjoy!