Saturday, November 30, 2019

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Carrot Cake Cheesecake

My parents recently moved into a great assisted living community. The food there is pretty delicious, from what I've tasted--particularly the food they serve for their Sunday brunch. Oh my goodness, that brunch is awesome. The dessert table is almost always stunning.

One Sunday when my husband and I were there, we shared a slice of carrot cake cheesecake that was so creamy and so flavorful, I can't get it out of my head.

So, we have a post-Thanksgiving gathering to go to this Saturday, and I decided to give this cheesecake a try. I did not get a recipe...all I have is the pic I took of our half-eaten piece with my mom in the background.

This cake is everything delicious about carrot cake and cheesecake all in one slice. There's the sweet creaminess of the cream cheese frosting next to the light spiced cake with a few nuts, and then there's the dense not-too-sweet creaminess of the cheesecake. The kicker is really the speculoos cookie crust. It just adds a deep caramelized spiced and a little bit salty element to the whole thing. Honestly, it's one of the better things I think I've ever made.

I'm hoping the folks at the post-Thanksgiving party enjoy it too. I cannot bring this home with me. (And yes, I did slice it and try it BEFORE taking it to the party. These folks understand that I'm quirky like that.)

Carrot Cake Cheesecake


Carrot Cake (Adapted from
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts tossed in 1/8 teaspoon flour
  • 1 cup speculoos cookie crumbs or graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 -8 cups of hot water (for water bath--not for the cheesecake)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened but cool
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 3/4 cup (1 pound) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup (approximately) toasted chopped pecans for garnish
Particular Equipment and Materials needed
  • 7-inch spring form pan 
  • plastic roasting bag
  • roasting pan
  • mixer
  • spatula
  • measuring tools
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • First make the carrot cake layer.
    • Line the bottom of a 7-inch spring form pan with a parchment circle, and then butter and flour the sides.
    • In a small bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir with a whisk and set aside.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
    • Add the dry ingredients and the carrots. Stir just until combined. Then fold in the walnuts.
    • Pour and evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few crumbs.
    • Remove from oven to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes and then remove the sides and bottom of the pan.
    • When the cake is cooled completely, wrap in plastic wrap.
    • Wash and dry the pan.
  • Next make the cheesecake.
    • Again line the springform pan with a parchment circle.
    • Mix the cookie crumbs and butter and press firmly and evenly into the bottom of the pan.
    • In a large bowl, or in the bowl if a standing mixer, mix the 16 ounces of cream cheese until smooth.
    • Add the sugar and mix until smooth again.
    • Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until smooth.
    • Add the sour cream and heavy cream, mix until incorporated.
    • Pour batter over the prepared crust.
    • Place the pan in a roasting bag and gather up excess in one or two places, and secure the excess with a twist tie. (You need to basically water-proof your spring form pan so you don't soak your cheesecake. Watch this video for a basic tutorial on another way of doing a water bath. Here's another good idea.)
    • Place the cheesecake pan in a roasting pan that is at least 2 inches wider than cheesecake pan on all sides.
    • Place the pan in the 350 degree oven and carefully pour water in the roasting pan to create a water bath for the cheesecake while it bakes. Water should come up about halfway up the side of the cheesecake ingredients in the pan.
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until center is completely set and only gently jiggles like set Jell-O when tapped on the side of the pan.
    • Remove from oven and remove the cheesecake pan from the water bath. Place the cheesecake pan on a cooling rack and carefully remove the plastic roasting bag.
    • Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Assemble the cake.
    • Unwrap the carrot cake layer and carefully place top on the cooled cheesecake in the pan. 
    • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely chilled, preferably over night.
  • Making frosting and putting it on the cake.
    • Beat the 8 ounces of cream cheese and the 1/4 cup butter until smooth.
    • Add powdered sugar and vanilla.
    • Mix on low until sugar is incorporated, and then beat on medium speed until frosting is completely smooth and creamy. Try not to whip air into the frosting.
    • You will probably only use 1/2 to 2/3 of the frosting, depending on how thick you like frosting.
    • Frost the entire cake with the cream cheese frosting. 
    • Using a large spoon, scoop up some chopped pecans and gently press the pecans into the bottom edge of the frosted cake. Pick up and place any fallen pieces onto the cake.
    • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to put cocktail umbrellas into my cake so the plastic wrap does not stick.

Makes about 8-12 servings

A pic of Mom with the original at Celebration Village 
 Water bath

Carrot cake and cheesecake layers ready to join forces
Just drop that cake on top.
Ready for frosting
I generally start frosting from the top, but I'm no pro cake decorator.
I've found this is the best (and cutest) way to keep frosting intact.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Rice Krispie & Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Treats

Rice Krispies & Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Treats

These are good. I don't feel like writing more about them. This is what's become of me.

Rice Krispie & Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Treats

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (16 oz) bag marshmallows (I used mini marshmallows today)
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 4 cups Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
  • 2 more tablespoons butter for pan and hands
  • Grease a 9x13 inch pan with one tablespoon butter.
  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot over low heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. When butter is melted, add the marshmallows.
  • Measure out the cereal and keep it in a large measuring cup/bowl, or other bowl.
  • Stir marshmallows occasionally until almost completely melted. Then turn off the stove and continue stirring until marshmallows are completely melted.
  • Add all of the cereal all at once. 
  • Gently stir and fold cereal into the marshmallow mixture until incorporated.
  • Using a silicone spatula, pour and scrape the cereal into the prepared pan. 
  • Butter your (clean) hands with the last tablespoon of butter and press the cereal down evenly into the pan. Pack the cereal in pretty tight but try not to break the Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
  • Allow to cool for at least half an hour before cutting and serving.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Makes 12 good sized servings

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