carrot-cheesecake with pineapple flowers
I made this cake waaaay back in June for E’s birthday. I figured I should get it posted now ’cause before we know it his 30th will be rolling around and senility will be setting in, as he likes to say.
I’d be lucky to grow into actual senility with you, my dear.
So. The cake.
This is what happens when we brainstorm birthday cakes at 4 am. Madness. Carrot cake became carrot cake with a layer of cheesecake. Cream cheese frosting became mascarpone cream…with vanilla beans! Pineapple flowers…well, that was my fault. They’re just too pretty! And simple to make. Aaaaand…conveniently go with the pineapple in the carrot cake.
It was dangerously good.
Carrot Cake (from Ina Garten)
makes 2 8″ layers
2 cups sugar (used half brown/half white)
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour + 1 tablespoon for cranberries
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, then drained thoroughly
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 pound carrots, very finely grated
1/2 cup finely diced fresh pineapple (you can use the rest of it for pineapple flowers)
Preheat oven to 350.
Line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment, then spray lightly with non-stick.
In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat together sugar, oil, and eggs until light yellow, then add vanilla. In another bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon and ginger, baking soda, and salt.
In a large bowl, toss drained cranberries and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour, then fold in carrots and pineapple. Add sifted dry ingredients to egg/sugar/oil mixture and mix briefly, just until there’s a few streaks of flour left visible; now add fruit/nut/carrot mixture and mix until well-combined.
Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake up to 60 minutes (mine was done around 45 minutes). Allow cakes to cool completely in pans set on a wire rack.
makes a single layer
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temp
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325.
Line the bottom of an 8″ cake pan with a circle of parchment, then spray the pan well with no-stick. Make a water bath: fit the cake pan into a larger pan with high sides. Bring some water to a boil while you mix your cheesecake batter.
In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed for about 30 seconds, then add sugar and salt and mix for a couple of minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape bowl. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. With the mixer on low, add sour cream and vanilla; mix until well-combined.
Scrape mixture into the prepared cake pan, smoothing out the top. Pour hot water into the larger pan to come about halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until just set in the center, about 35 minutes. Remove from water bath and let cool about 30 minutes before covering and transferring, still in pan, to refrigerator to chill overnight.
2 (8-ounce) tubs mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup to 1/2 a cup powdered sugar, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Using a spoon, stir together mascarpone, sour cream, vanilla, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Taste for sugar, and adjust if needed.
Divide mixture in half, reserving half for top; you’ll be dividing the other half between the top and bottom of the cheesecake.
To put it all together: place one of the carrot layers on a plate or cardboard circle. Spread 1/4 of the mascarpone mixture over the top–this is acting as a glue. Invert the cheesecake layer on top, removing parchment. Spread another 1/4 of the mascarpone over the top of the cheesecake, then add the next layer of carrot cake. Finally, spread the remaining half of the mascarpone over the top. Add pineapple flowers just before serving; they flopped in the refrigerator.
*pineapple flower directions can be found here.