Friday, September 18, 2009

Yummy Cheesecake

If you've ever been to the Cheesecake Factory, you know how good their cheesecakes are.  Jeff loves carrot cake so every time he goes there he gets the carrotcake cheesecake.  Since I love to bake, I found a recipe online for the actual Cheesecake Factory's Carrotcake Cheesecake and I've made it for Jeff quite a few times.  It's usually for a special occasion and so this time it was part birthday gift, part anniversary gift - though I didn't get around to making this for him until last week. 
So if you think you'd like it, or someone who might, give it a whirl.

Here's the link to the recipe I use:

The recipe does seem to have some mistakes/bad advice though; i.e. they refer to the vanilla extract for the cheesecake twice. It also warns against using store brand or generic items. I'm sorry but cream cheese is cream cheese and when you're watching money as closely as I do: the $1.00 Safeway brand block of cream cheese is just as good as the $2.79 Philadelphia brand. (Though I do love anything that says: Philadelphia). And it's rated as a '4' on a 1-5 scale of difficulty, but mainly because they don't tell you how to prep first to save yourself some stress. That's not to say that it's in any way easy, especially if you've never made a cake from scratch before.

So here are you ingredients for everything:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour (can be regular flour or Softasilk flour)
3 eggs

Carrot Cake:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons Softasilk cake flour (while for the cheesecake part regular flour will suffice, for the carrot cake it will not -- sorry but for all my frugality, here is where I'm a baking snob and you must use Softasilk for cakes from scratch). I already noted the '+ 2 tablespoon' conversion factor when using it. Use 1 cup regular flour if you have to but don't complain to me when your cake is unsilk-like.
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 1/2 ounces can crushed pineapple, packed in juice, drained well, reserve juice
Yes I know they only sell it in 8 oz cans - I don't know why.  To 'drain well' I usually take a tumbler glass or cup and and do a sort of mortar and pestle type action to get all the juice out.
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting: (I have doubled the amount from the original recipe)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice

Optional finishing touch ingredient: caramel syrup

About an hour before you even plan to really begin, set out the 2 blocks (16 oz) of cream cheese you'll need, along with all 5 of the eggs, and take a medium sized aluminum or glass bowl and put it in the freezer.

Then when you are actually ready to begin, grate your carrots first (common sense, really). I use a cheese grater. It's easily the most time consuming part of the whole process. You'll need about 3 carrots to get 1 cup grated. A few times a great sale on baby carrots has forced me to get those; and I nearly drive myself insane grating a full cup of those things.

Then, it's time to make the cheesecake:
In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Beat in flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth.
Take your bowl that's in the freezer and pour the cheesecake batter into it - then place back in the freezer while you make the carrotcake. (The coldness will help stiffen the batter).

Time for the carrot cake part:

In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well.
Stir in dry ingredients; mixing well.
Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.
Take a ladle and pour about 1 and a half ladlefuls of carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9 or 9 1/2" springform pan. Then drop cream cheese batter over the carrot cake batter by ladlefuls; top with large ladlefuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife.  (Spread if you want but some marbling will inevitably occur, which makes their next note pointless -- I usually just lightly drop the pan onto the counter a few times and it settles the batter).
Do not marble with a knife.  
Bake at 350ºF oven for 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through.
(I have never baked this cake for less than 65 minutes).
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
(I have actually left the cake in the fridge overnight and made the icing the next day)

When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.

Like I said, I have doubled this part of the recipe.  The original recipes amounts will get you just enough icing to cover the top of the cake, and forget about hiding any imperfections in the cake with a thin layer of white icing.  Doubling it gives you a perfect amount; though it is so sweet that it also made Jeff say he felt like his "teeth were going to fall out of his head" - but he exaggerates.

In a bowl of electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving (Jeff usually gets to it before then).

And if whoever you are making this for loves caramel as much as Jeff, you should definitely do some kind of decorating with it.  For Jeff I usually do this:



Anonymous said...

We have to try it. Heather's our baker in the house. We'll let you know how we do. Thanks for sharing! Aunt Penny : )

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