Every so often, I get an idea for a recipe which I’m certain is so genius that no home cook or master chef has thought of it yet. 99 percent of the time, it turns out that someone else has already covered that ground. It’s really challenging to come up with something truly novel and unique in the culinary field…at least for me it is.
Such is the case with this cheesecake-swirled carrot cake. The idea came to me as I was brainstorming for some interesting twist on carrot cake to share as Easter approaches. The way I figured it, if carrot cake and sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting are delicious together (and they are), and cheesecake is also made with cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla (which it is), then carrot cake and cheesecake would be delicious together. If A and B, then C sort of logic… or something like that anyway.
I initially contemplated stacking layers of carrot cake with cheesecake, but the idea seemed too similar to a basic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. That was the point where I decided I’d bake the two cakes together in one pan, intermingled to create one grand cheesecake-swirled carrot cake. It was in my research phase of concocting this delicious confection that I discovered The Cheesecake Factory already beat me to the punch. Having been to The Cheesecake Factory a grand total of one, maybe two times in my life, probably about 10 years ago, this was news to me.
So, turns out my grand idea isn’t nearly as revolutionary as I’d initially thought, but it is spectacularly delicious, nonetheless. Rich, moist carrot cake gets twisted with a creamy classic cheesecake to create a treat which is sure to be the hit of the Easter dessert buffet. Ol’ Peter Rabbit might even forego his basket of candy in favor of a slice of this carroty beauty.
Cheesecake-swirled carrot cake
For the carrot cake
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (plus more for greasing pan)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup water
2 cups finely grated carrots (approximately 4 medium-sized carrots)
3/4 cup golden raisins (optional, but recommended)
For the cheesecake
3 8-ounce bars of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with butter.
For the carrot cake: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the water, then beat for another minute. Add the carrots, then beat for another minute. On low speed, gradually beat in the dry mixture until well blended. Stir in the raisins.
For the cheesecake: Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla and the eggs one at a time, beating until well blended.
To assemble the cake: Spread about 1/2 of the carrot cake batter over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Drop large spoonfuls of about 1/2 of the cheesecake mixture on top of the carrot cake. Drop large spoonfuls of the remaining carrot cake mixture on top of and around the cheesecake. Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture over the top. Use a spatula to smooth the cheesecake on the top. Bake for about 55-65 minutes, until set.
Cool at room temperature for about an hour, then refrigerate for a few hours until completely chilled.