Besides bundling up the kids and going out in the pouring rain to buy half a dozen (orange!) helium balloons, (plus one for each pup), in honor of Sweetie’s birthday this year, I did two things. First… I started this blog! Finally. S has (strongly) encouraged/urged me for quite some time now to just, “start writing!” So what better gift could I give him than to simply listen and DO? 😛 Despite the fact that I’m not very sure I know what I am doing, may have just a bit of the perfectionist in me (why it’s taken so long to start perhaps?), and basically have very little computer or blog know-how, (what on earth is a widget!?!)… here we go! From now on, we can celebrate Sweetie’s birthday and the birth of homesweetiehome on March 18th each and every year! That is, as long as this blog is still alive… Happy Birthday Bubs.
The second thing I did was make a carrot cake CHEESECAKE! As one of our recent favorite book characters would say, “Ooooh la la…” Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is S’s absolute fav (emphasis on the cream cheese frosting), and I have made one for him each and every birthday for as long as I can remember. I thought I’d add a little twist this year and made Cheesecake Factory’s version. Since we were also going up to L.A. to celebrate with the family, it would be perfect because any kind of cheesecake is my MIL’s favorite dessert and we always leave the rest with her and Dad to enjoy! I considered using my two favorite go-to recipes for carrot cake and cheesecake, but wasn’t sure if the baking times would work out. The recipe is pretty simple, as long as you don’t mind essentially prepping for TWO cakes in one, or in my case, THREE…
So the recipe for the carrot cake portion calls for an 8oz. can of crushed pineapple, and since the 22oz. can was practically the same price as the 8oz. one, I of course got the larger, assuming I would just use the leftovers for baking muffins or freezing for later use…right? W r o n g … I thought I could just eye-ball it, but I ended up putting too much pineapple in the batter (how DO you measure out an 8oz. can of pineapple after draining the juice anyway!?!), making it more of a pineapple than carrot cake. Which actually would have not been so bad, only I could just hear S’s voice…”Hmmmm…it’s good, but, I think it’s… a little too pineappley.” (Okay, so “pineappley” wouldn’t exactly be HIS word of choice), but something to that effect. That is why, I had to take out alllll of my ingredients out of the pantry again to whip up another carrot cake batter, adding it to the pineappley batch, and carefully using a bit more of the leftover canned pineapple. Well, at the very least it was fixable, AND we now have a fresh batch of carrot cake cupcakes made from the leftover carrot cake batter sitting in the freezer just waiting for the next birthday or for a treat to give to a teacher!
So, Lesson #1. (Duh), but measure accurately! Lesson #2. When using a springform pan, always make sure the bottom is securely locked in before pouring in your batter! Yes, “oh dear” is right. The cheesecake batter was thankfully super easy to mix together in my Kitchenaid, so I slowly poured out alternating layers of carrot cake and cheesecake. Done and ready to go into the oven! Not with batter seeeeeping out from the bottom of the pan onto the counter it wasn’t! I started to panic…noooo! Oh what to do?!?! I quickly clicked open the side of the pan, tried to adjust the bottom somehow without making the entire cake batter pour out all over, then clicked it back. No way, did that really work?! Whew, crisis averted. Hallelujah, cake saved! At that point, I could not WAIT to throw the thing into the oven already. After reading all of the reviews on needing more baking time, I pre-heated the oven to 325 degrees rather than at 350, (our oven bakes on the hotter side), covered it in foil thinking it would bake better insulated or something like that, and baked it for an hour. I lifted the foil to check on its doneness, and note: NO FOIL next time please. The batter totally stuck on the top. I removed the foil, and the middle was still quite wet, so I raised the temp. to 350 and baked it for another 30 minutes, and it came out perfect. The house smelled SO delicious I thought for sure our little sharp-nosed BF would wake up and come out of their room to say, “Moooommieee, I smell something…”
Instead of Cheescake’s frosting, I used my favorite cream cheese frosting recipe for the topping (always omitting some of the ridiculous amount of sugar), and knowing who was going to be eating it, frosted just a thin layer on top (Koreans don’t like their desserts too sweet :P). After looking at the counter nearly covered in batter and sink full of extra bowls and measuring spoons, I ended up not even bothering to save what was left of the pineapple! hehehe. I wonder how many ounces were left…
Because of all the rather unfortunate excess movement from adjusting the pan, the cake came out a bit more swirled than layered, but hey, at least there was a cake, right? Other than that, it turned out good I think. Next time, I might just make it a two-layered cake, with one on top of the other, which is how I hear Cheesecake Factory actually serves theirs. MoMo said she thought she liked it better swirly, Dad came back for another slice, and the Birthday boy’s comment? “Ehhh…it’s good. It’s a little, dense, but good.” (I think he was still a bit full from the crazy seafood feast that Mom & Dad prepared!) In any case, I’ll take it….At least he didn’t say it was too pineappley! 🙂
Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake Cheesecake
- Prep Time: 20 mins (in my case, much longer)
- Total Time: 1 hrs 20 mins
- Servings: 12
- 16 ounces cream cheese ( at room temp)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 dash salt
- 1 (8 ½ ounce) cans crushed pineapple, well drained with juice reserved
- 1 cup grated carrots
- ½ cup flaked coconut (I omitted this)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (same as above)
PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
- To make cheesecake,
- In large bowl of electric mixer, beat together 2 pkgs cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar until smooth.
- Beat in 1 tablespoon flour, 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
- Meanwhile prepare Carrot Cake: In large bowl, combine oil, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, blending thoroughly.
- Stir in 1 cup flour, baking soda, cinnamon and dash salt, mixing well.
- Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.
- Spread 1 1/2 cups carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9-or 9 1/2-inch springform pan.
- Drop large spoonfuls of cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter; top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter.
- Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter.
- Do not marble with a knife. (oops, kinda did that when I was trying to fix my pan!)
- Bake in preheated 325-350 degree oven 60 to 90 minutes or until cake is set and cooked through. (Depending on your oven).
- Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
- When cake is cold, prepare Cream Cheese Frosting.
- In a bowl of electric mixer, combine 2 oz cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice and dash of salt.
- Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency.
- Frost top of cheesecake. (I also added almonds around the edges for decoration as well as for a bit of crunch).
- Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Recipe adapted from Food.com.