Monday, April 6, 2009

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Two of my favorite things combined. How great is that! I was looking through my March issue of Better Homes and Gardens and came across this prize-winning recipe. I immediately pulled it out of the magazine to put in my file, but before I did I made a few changes. This weekend I decided that it was time to make this little beauty. I looked online to see if anyone had any comments or suggestions on how to improve its appearance. However, much to my surprise, not many have had much to say about this cake except for a few newspapers. I took some suggestions from a Seattle paper and finalized the recipe below.
So what is different? Well, in the original recipe it had a step and a lengthy list of ingredients for caramelized walnuts. Not worth my time. Instead, I traded the raisins in the cake for 1/3 chopped walnuts. The newspaper's baking time was 70-80 and the original recipe put it at 90-105 minutes. I settled on 90 because I did not want a dry cheesecake. Finally, I drizzled the entire cake with the powdered sugar glaze instead of each individual piece. But, it was still kind of ugly. So, to solve this problem I pre-cut each slice and put it on a serving platter to avoid having to show the ugly center.
Overall, this was the easiest cheesecake I have ever made and also one of the biggest. I got to pull out my 10-inch springform instead of my standard 9-inch. You do have to babysit it a little. The baking time is long and then there is 45 minutes afterwards of tasks and then complete cooling and finally chilling in the refrigerator. It is an amazing thing to watch in the oven. The carrot cake comes up out of the center and runs down the sides much like a volcano. That is how you get the cheesecake in the center and the cake on all sides.
Taste is great, reminded me of Cheesecake Factory’s version of Carrot Cake Cheesecake. I think that next time I will not use the glaze and go over the top with some sweetened whipped cream. Wow, I can’t wait!

Carrot Cake Cheesecake
1 2-layer-size carrot cake mix
1 cup water
½ cup cooking oil
6 eggs, divided
½ cup walnuts
3 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsps. vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
3 to 4 tsps. milk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch springform pan; set aside.
In a large bowl combine carrot cake mix, water, oil, and 3 of the eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Fold in raisins. Pour into prepared springform pan.
In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in granulated sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in remaining 3 eggs just until combined. Slowly pour over carrot cake layer. Use a thin metal spatula to gently swirl the batters. Place cheesecake on a baking sheet. Bake for 80-90 minutes or until top is set except for a 1-inch circle in the center. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Cool for 30 minutes. Remove sides of pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.
In a medium bowl combine 1 cup powdered sugar and enough of the milk to make drizzling consistency. Cut cheesecake into wedges and place each wedges on a serving plate. Drizzle each serving with some of the powdered sugar icing. Serves 16

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