Our latest obsession with carrot cake is this cheesecake that comes from the Cheesecake Factory. My best friend introduced it to us this year and I have to admit that we have since made special trips there just to get a slice!
Every year, Ben requests Carrot Cake for his birthday. This year, I wanted to surprise him with a homemade version of our new-found love. After searching the internet, I kept coming across this same version of supposedly a copycat recipe from Cheesecake Factory. I can't say it's an exact match, but it is really really good.
Why not an exact match? It's been a few months since we've had it, but I think in the restaurant version, the cheesecake is only in the middle of the carrot cake. In this recipe, there are two layers of cheesecake, one being the top. Next time I make this, and there will be a next time, I think I'll play with it a little and try layering the cheesecake only in the middle resulting with thicker cake layers on top and bottom.
Don't get me wrong, this recipe is great as listed below and if my tinkering with it doesn't work in the future, I'll just keep making it as we had it the other night. I also left the cream cheese frosting off (crazy, I know!) but I just couldn't justify the extra calories after such a big intake this past week. Even though I met my pre-baby weight goal last week, I added a lot of it back on with our friends visiting and Ben's birthday. I mean, it has NOTHING to do with it being the fall season and me wanting to eat pumpkin treats every day... right? 😉
Although the recipe may look intimidating and long, this actually is really simple to put together. You are basically just whipping up two cake batters (one carrot cake and one cheese cake) then layering them together in a springform pan. No water bath needed!
Carrot Cake Cheesecake
Yield: 6 - 8 servings
For the cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
For the carrot cake:
¾ cup veggie oil
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
8 oz can crushed pineapple, packed in 100% juice, drained well, reserve juice
1 cup grated carrots
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts
For the Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 ¾ cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease a 9- or 9 ½- inch springform pan.
For the cheesecake batter, in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the flour, eggs and vanilla until fully incorporated and no lumps remain. Set aside.
To prepare the carrot cake batter, combine the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and spices. Stir into the egg mixture and mix well. Add the pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts. Stir until just combined.
To assemble the cheesecake, pour 1 ½ cups of the carrot cake batter over the bottom of the prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of the cream cheese batter over the bottom layer of carrot cake, using up ¼ of the batter and reserving the rest for the top layer. Top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife.
Bake for 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate. When the cake is cold, prepare the Pineapple Cream Cheese frosting.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:
Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and pineapple juice. Beat until smooth. Add additional juice or sugar to desired spreading consistency. Frost the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Source: CD Kitchen