carrot cake cheesecake

Thanksgiving coming up soon. Pumpkin raisin breads and other holiday season veggie breads tempting us at every turn. Haven't made carrot cake for quite a while. Why not try something new? Instead of just cream cheese icing on top, why not a cheesecake? This kind of unorthodox combo layered creation had never been sighted by the dr bob cooking team anywhere in their recipe browsing activities. Perhaps a bad sign. Maybe it had been tried and failed and thus never made public? Probably many times. There should be a "don't try this because..." section in cookbooks to spare us the trouble of experimenting with a sure disaster. "Seems like a good idea but..." On the other hand, maybe people are just too conservative to boldly go where no one has ever gone before. To bravely explore new culinary worlds. To step beyond the limits of current kitchen culture?

So we do the experiment. Basically a bottom only graham cracker crust with a half small carrot cake recipe topped by a half simple soft touch cheesecake filling both from the dr bob archives, slightly modified by ineffective nutritional second thoughts and current flavoring ideas.

Serving time. It looks pretty good. But a little low. Did the hidden carrot cake layer rise inside? The moment of truth arrives. The first cut. Hmm. It cuts nicely. And the first piece slides right out. Seems like everything baked successfully in combination. Now the taste test. The first forkful moves up ... and in ... and ... YES! SUCCESS!

This was brilliant. Why didn't somebody ever think of this before? Perhaps like Post-Its, somebody had to be first.

ingredients

crust
1/4 c butter, melted
1 c graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c brown sugar
carrot cake layer [3/4 size halved and modified]
1/2 c veggie oil [or 3/8 c + 2 juicy prunes]
3/4 c sugar [or Sucanat unprocessed sugar]
1 1/2 eggs, beaten
3/4 c flour
1/2 t salt
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg

1 c carrots, peeled and grated
1/3 c walnuts, crumbed
1/8-1/4 c raisins soaked in:
1/8 c Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
cream cheesecake layer [simple soft touch cheesecake, halved]
2 8oz packages cream cheese (light)
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 eggs, beaten
1/4 t salt
1/4 c lemon juice [2 T limoncello]
the topping
1 T toasted hazelnut crumbs

instructions

the crust

  1. Start by nuking the half stick of butter in the microwave on high about 50 seconds. Or do it the old fashioned stovetop way.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar and then mix in the melted butter. Dump into the bottom of a large springform pan (we used a 10 1/8 = 26cm pan) to get a lower more elegant result.
  3. Shake the crumbs around to spread them out and then press them down with a flat object, like a 1 cup measuring cup.

carrot cake layer

  1. Begin soaking the 1/8 – 1/4 c raisins in the Frangelico.
  2. Peel about 3 medium carrots and food process them into fine bits. Or grate them finely the old fashioned way.
  3. Ignoring the tedious instructions of the original recipe, start the batter by pureeing 2 juicy prunes in 1/4 c oil in the handblender attachment cup or elsewhere, in a pathetic attempt to reduce the fat content. Dump in a large bowl.
  4. Beat 3 eggs separately. We used the handblender attachment cup, since it was already out.
  5. Flour is presifted these days so there is no need to sift the dry ingredients together onto the oil mixture. Besides if you substitute Sucanat for the sugar, it won't sift in since the particulate size is too big. Mix it in. However, a sifter does do a good job of scattering the other dry ingredients. Incorporate them one way or another and beat all this stuff together with an electric beater.
  6. At this point if you did not read ahead, it will appear that something has gone wrong. This is not a batter but a dust bowl. We FORGOT THE EGGS. Before realizing this we added in another 1/8 c oil. Next time add half the egg mixture earlier, like in step 5. But either way it doesn't seem to matter to the batter.
  7. Now beat in the carrot bits. Chop up the walnuts but not too finely. The handblender attachment cup works well here too. Beat them in. The walnuts.
  8. Finally mix in the raisins and Frangelico. Looks like carrot cake batter now.
  9. Pour into the springform pan and shake it around. Spread evenly with a spatula. Set aside.

cream cheesecake layer

  1. Beat together the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Then add the remaining egg mixture, salt, and limoncello (or lemon juice) and beat until smooth. And everybody says cheesecakes are difficult!
  2. Pour slowly over the carrot cake layer.

the topping

  1. Sprinkle about 1 T of toasted hazelnut crumbs evenly around the top of the cake using your thumb and two adjacent fingers in a repeated imitation of pinching salt.

the baking and fridging

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F sometime earlier than this. Bake for 50 minutes. Then check to make sure the center of the cheesecake layer is done. If so, turn off the heat and open the oven door at an angle so you can still walk around the stove doing your other kitchen activities. For about 30 minutes. This is probably unnecessary.
  2. Then remove and let cool on a rack for an hour or so.
  3. Then refrigerate. We did this after lunch and it was done and chilled nicely for the after dinner dessert.

notes

  1. Pretend this was your own creation. Your baking reputation will surely improve.
  2. Illustrations available.
  3. The Cheesecake Factory arrives at King of Prussia Mall summer of 2002, but it takes an accidental weekday evening mall visit the next winter before we finally find no huge line and long wait to get into the place, in fact no line at all and we are finally ready to see what all the fuss was about painlessly. Big serving meals arrive, leaving little room for comfortable cheesecake tasting afterwards, but bob scrutinizes the showcase and decides to go for Craig's Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake to compare with his own experience. [Too many C's, there can't really be a Craig behind this...] It too is big, but delicious, and miraculously easy to finish. It's a more blenderized version than ours, with bits and pieces of carrot cake uniformly distributed in the cheesecake instead of layered. Next time we'll share one entree. As we leave, about 30 people are lined up, making us feel like we'd really been lucky with our timing. How long will it take to make it in again? ... stay tuned.
ccchck.htm: 24-feb-2003 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]