Carrot & Caramel Cheesecake Cake
Roses, red, chocolate and hearts… That’s pretty much what comes to mind at the mention of Valentine’s Day. Heart shaped cakes, chocolate dipped strawberries, dainty little love heart sprinkles and chocolate desserts oozing with red berries… Sounds pretty good to me!
So, why is my cake not chocolate? Where are the berries? The love hearts?
Well, love hearts aren’t really my thing… But I won’t pretend I was not tempted by the chocolate and the berries. I love chocolate, and I love berries, but my other half does not. And, well, berries are not even in season. So instead, I thought about what he would really love, and what actually was in season.
Carrots… Carrots go well with cream cheese, and my other half has an insane addiction to cheesecake… That could work.
A New York style cheesecake, sandwiched between layers of light, fluffy carrot cake… That could definitely work. Better throw some caramel in there too, for good measure. He devours anything caramel. Alright, I mean I devour anything caramel. And anything chocolate. Who am I kidding, I devour anything cake, really.
But hey, it is Valentine’s Day, this cake is for the both of us.
So it was decided, a carrot & caramel cheesecake cake.
It may not look like your average Valentine’s Day dessert, but a cake for two… It doesn’t get much more romantic than that!
I actually made two cakes, one decorated with walnuts and one without, as you can see in the images. The recipe below is for one 4″ cake, which is more than enough for two people (really, it could probably do four!).
Carrot & Caramel Cheesecake Cake
Yield: one 4″ cake for two…
For the New York cheesecake
100g cream cheese
20g caster sugar
5g (1 tsp) plain flour
1 medium egg
25ml sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Carrot Cake
70g plain flour
4g (3/4 tsp) baking powder
2.5g (1/2 tsp) bicarb soda
1/2 tsp mixed spice
45g brown sugar
1 medium egg
50g butter, melted
1/2 tsp orange zest
25ml orange juice
15g chopped walnuts
70g grated carrot
For the caramel
30g brown sugar
30ml sour cream
pinch of salt
For the cream cheese frosting
75g cream cheese (Philadelphia is best)
115g icing sugar
1 tsp orange zest
50g chopped walnnuts
New York Cheesecake
Preheat oven to 180°C/350° F/Gas Mark 4. Line the base of a 4″ round cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with butter.
Stir together the sugar and flour, then beat in the cream cheese.
Add the egg, sour cream and vanilla extract and beat until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and place in the oven, reducing the heat to 165°C/325° F/Gas Mark 3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cheesecake is set. Turn the oven off, leaving the cheesecake inside to cool with the door ajar.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350° F/Gas Mark 4, and line a 4″ round cake tin with baking paper.
Place the chopped walnuts into a bowl and cover with the orange juice. Set aside to soak, then sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and mixed spice in a separate bowl and stir to combine.
In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, orange zest and egg.
Beat the flour mixture into the sugar mixture, then stir in the orange soaked walnuts and grated carrot.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Place the brown sugar, butter and salt into a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Allow to simmer for a minute, then add the sour cream. Whisk over the heat until the sour cream has dissolved, then leave to simmer for a further minute or so, stirring intermittently. Set aside to cool.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat the butter until smooth, then add in the icing sugar a little at a time, beating after each addition to incorporate. Once all of the icing sugar has been added, continue beating until the butter has paled in colour and the texture is light and fluffy.
Add the orange zest and cream cheese and beat until just combined.
Tip: UK cream cheese is softer than the cream cheese in Australia and the US, and so it will turn runny very quickly if over beaten. If you add the cream cheese at the end as I have outlined above you should still have a delightfully light, pipeable frosting.
For those of you using cream cheese similar in firmness to butter, add a tablespoon of milk if your frosting is too thick.
Assembling the cake
Level off the top of the carrot cake, then cut the cake in half horizontally. Take one half of the cake and place it on your cake board, plate or stand, then smooth one layer of caramel over the top.
Place the cheesecake directly on top of the caramel layer.
Smooth a layer of caramel over the cheesecake, then place the other half of the carrot cake on top. Refrigerate for twenty minutes before crumb coating.
Take the cake from the refrigerator, then smooth a thin layer of frosting over the entire cake and refrigerate again for twenty minutes. Cover the cake in another layer of frosting, smoothing to your desired finish, then cover the sides with chopped walnuts.
Decorate the cake as you like, I used a large petal tip for the frosting design on the top. For the cake without the walnuts I used an open star tip, piping directly onto the first layer of frosting (the crumb coat).