Cake 46: Carrot Cheesecake with Bittersweet Chocolate Drizzle

Sorry it took me so long to post this. My move to Kansas City has kept me very occupied as you can imagine. I made this cake last week to serve at an Independence Day dinner at my grandparents’ house, and it was a hit! I sort of combined my recipe for New York cheesecake with my carrot cake recipe and added some nutmeg. I used fresh carrots from my own garden! I really enjoyed this cake, and am glad the idea came to me at the last possible second before the event. I’m a happy camper about it.

(Also – holy smokes, I only have 6 weeks left of the 52 cakes project. Just wait till you see what I have in store for week 52 – though admittedly, it may take me several weeks to even pull off what I have in store for the grand finale. After that, I plan to take a breather for a while, and then I think I may start a 52 cookies project!)

Carrot Cheesecake Recipe with Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups grated finely chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 4 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon oil

Carrot Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Put 8 sheets of graham cracker in the food processor to grind until you get 2 cups of fine crumbs for the cheesecake crust. Melt 1/4 cup of butter. In a small bowl, mix the two with a spatula, and then press into a prepared 10″ round spring form pan. I prepared my spring form pan with butter and flour, as well as a 9″ round parchment paper sheet that I had on hand. (This makes a LOT of batter, and I had enough to make a tiny crustless cheesecake with the leftover. If you use a 9″ spring form pan, you may wish to reduce the amount of graham cracker crust and carrot cheesecake batter you make or you’ll end up with enough for two whole cakes!) Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended. Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and flour and beat until blended. (I bet you could leave out this flour and be just fine if you’re going gluten-free.) Stir in the finely grated carrots, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over your graham cracker crumb crust. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. Melt the bittersweet chocolate with a teaspoon of oil in a double boiler, stirring constantly over low heat. Drizzle over the cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate the cheesecake and chill for 6 hours.

Cake 42: Raspberry Thin Mint Cheesecake

We received a care package from Mark and Deedee’s family in Seattle while my husband was home on R&R and it included two boxes of my favorite Girl Scout cookies – Thin Mints! (Read my attempt at making homemade thin mint cookies.) I have been thinking about it for a while, and finally with the right supplies, was able to make a thin mint cookie crust for a classic New York cheesecake, which also happened to be the type of cake my husband requested for his time home from Afghanistan. Lucky break.

I apologize for not posting this much sooner – we’ve been enjoying two weeks of R&R from his deployment and I even took lots of time off work to spend with him, so I’m just now getting around to it!

Thin Mints Crust Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 cups Thin Mint cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Thin Mint Crust Recipe Directions

Put enough Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies in the food processor to grind until you get 2 cups of fine cookie crumbs for the cheesecake crust. Melt 1/4 cup of butter. In a small bowl, mix the two with a spatula, and then press into a prepared 9″ round spring form pan. I prepared my spring form pan with butter and flour, as well as a 9″ round parchment paper sheet. Press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.

New York Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour

New York Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a cake pan filled with water on the bottom rack. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually, beating until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended (don’t overbeat). Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and flour and beat until blended. Pour over your thin mint cookie crust. Bake for 1 hour, or until the middle is just a little jiggly and doesn’t seem quite set. Turn off the oven and let it set for about another half hour. Remove from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. Chill for 6 hours.

Raspberry Sauce Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 6-ounce package of fresh raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Raspberry Sauce Recipe Directions

Thanks, mom-in-law, for teaching us how to do this part. Couldn’t be easier. Cook down the fresh raspberries, sugar and almond extract over medium heat in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the raspberries break down. If you wish to have a smooth, seedless raspberry coulis, simply press the sauce through a sieve with a spoon. My husband said he was just fine with the seeds so we kept them in. Pour over the completely cooled cheesecake, garnish with fresh mint (ours is mint from the garden) and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cake 39: Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake

Made this last week. Sorry I didn’t get around to posting it until now. My coworkers will have to attest to the deliciousness of one or both of these chocolate cheesecake recipes. I only intended to make a chocolate butterscotch cheesecake, but the recipe below yielded twice as much batter as I expected so I ended up with one chocolate butterscotch cheesecake, and two smaller Mexican chocolate cheesecakes.

Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, melted

Chocolate Butterscotch Cheesecake Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter, and press into the bottom of your springform pan. Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler over low heat, stirring constantly. Once melted, remove from heat and begin working on your cheesecake batter. In your kitchen mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s light and fluffy, and add the sugar gradually until smooth. Mix in the milk, then add the eggs one at a time beating just until blended (don’t overbeat). Add the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and flour and beat until blended. Pour the chocolate into the cheesecake batter and beat just until blended. Pour over your graham cracker crust. I had some leftover mini chocolate chips I needed to get rid of so I sprinkled them across the top. They’ll sink in some as the cheesecake bakes. Bake for 1 hour, or until the middle is just a little jiggy (won’t seem quite “set”). Turn the oven off and leave the door closed and let the cake cool inside the oven overnight (or about 6 hours if you’re baking in the daytime – I bake at night, so I always just assume the rest of the world does, haha). Chill in the refrigerator until ready to garnish. Melt butterscotch chips on very, very low heat (with a teaspoon of vegetable oil if you like) stirring constantly and drizzle over the chocolate cheesecake.

A few pointers on this chocolate butterscotch cheesecake recipe:

  • My cheesecake sank in the middle, which is typically a temperature-related thing — I honestly don’t care, it tasted great. I’ll put more time and love and attention into it next time.
  • Now, I had about 1 cup I wanted to use so I poured the whole thing in the sunken-in part of my cheesecake – looking back I would’ve sliced it while it was cool OR just drizzled it OR just sprinkled butterscotch chips on it. It was really difficult to cut when it had hardened. Tasted delicious, though!
  • Somehow I ended up with twice as much chocolate cheesecake batter than I thought this recipe would make. So I made two small Mexican chocolate cheesecakes in pie tins that I had laying around by mixing the chocolate butterscotch cheesecake batter with some cinnamon and cayenne. You could easily cut this recipe in half (except for the crust – you’ll need to keep that full size) and have a chocolate butterscotch cheesecake, or make the whole thing and end up with two.

Cake 23: Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust and Stout Beer Chocolate Glaze

My husband, Luke, came up with this wonderful cake idea. The challenge ingredient this week was “pretzels.” So naturally I gravitated to a pretzel crust. But then I got stuck. I’ve already made a turtle cheesecake, which would probably be fantastic with a pretzel crust, but no duplicates in the 52 Cakes Project! So Luke thought of something brilliant. Beer and pretzels go together – in bars, anyway. Well, they can go together in cheesecake, too. I think this counts as an “Irish car bomb cheesecake recipe” since it’s got stout Irish beer and Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur in it.

Pretzel Cake Crust Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cups crushed pretzels
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1.5 tablespoons brown sugar

Pretzel Cake Crust Recipe Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the crushed pretzels, butter and brown sugar. (Save some of the bigger chunks of crushed pretzel to garnish the cake!) Press the pretzel crust mixture into the bottom of a prepared springform pan. Bake the pretzel crust for about 10 minutes and then let it cool completely while you work on the rest of the cheesecake. Put it in the refrigerator to chill the crust and pan.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 0.75 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheesecake Recipe Directions

In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, Bailey’s Irish Cream liqueur and vanilla extract just until blended. Beat into the sugar and cream cheese mixture. Chop the white chocolate and fold into the filling with a spatula. Pour the Bailey’s Irish Cream cheesecake batter into the chilled springform pan. Bake about 50 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is set. Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate Stout Beer Glaze Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 0.25 cup stout beer
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 0.25 cup cocoa powder
  • 0.5 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Stout Beer Glaze Recipe Directions

Melt the butter and chocolate with the Irish stout beer over low heat. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream cheese, vanilla and cocoa powder until smooth. Alternate adding the beer and chocolate mixture and the sifted powdered sugar until smooth.

Garnish with salted peanuts and chunks of crushed pretzel or small pretzel sticks.

Cake 17: Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake

I know I have done the chocolate and pumpkin thing before when I did the chocolate cake with pumpkin cream cheese filling, but it was Thanksgiving and this is what my dad wanted, so I obliged. It’s still a very different recipe. He made a lot of tasty cheesecakes and other things growing up, and is quite the chef and baker. But this Thanksgiving cheesecake was a doozy, so my dad, brother and I had to pool our efforts to get it out in time. It’s basically two cheesecakes in one.

Below is the recipe we modified for our purposes, and honestly, we took a lot less time than this because we were in a hurry and we were competing for oven space, but if you want it done right – start early and take your time. It’s definitely a prepare-ahead kind of Thanksgiving dessert. It’s a complicated cake recipe, but it is decadent and worth it, plus it does so well sitting in the refrigerator!

There are four parts you’ll need to make: chocolate fudge pecan crust, chocolate cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake and chocolate ganache. (If you ever wanted to cut your work by a lot and simplify, you could do one or the other cheesecake and skip the combo. The crust and cheesecake even without the ganache would be delightful. So mix and match as you see fit!)

Photos by Cody Bashaw.

Fudge Cookie Pecan Crust Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup toasted pecans, crushed
  • 6 or so fudge cookies (we used Oreo Fudgees)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)

Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate (chopped)
  • 0.25 cup brewed coffee
  • 12 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 0.75 cup white sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (softened)
  • 0.75 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 0.25 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 0.25 teaspoon allspice
  • 0.125 (1/8) teaspoon cloves

Chocolate Ganache Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 12 ounces chocolate (chopped)

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Directions

  1. Fudge Cookie Pecan Crust: Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Toast 1 cup of pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes or until browned a bit. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. In a food processor, or in our case a big sealed plastic bag, chop the fudge cookies and pecans until you get about 2 cups worth of crumbs. In a bowl combine the crumbs and the melted butter and stir together. In the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan, press the crumb mixture completely into the bottom until you have a uniform, flat crust. Lower the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Chocolate Cheesecake: Heat about 1 inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler over medium to high heat, and place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate and coffee in the top. Heat slowly, and stir consistently. In a separate bowl, put the 12 ounces of softened cream cheese, sugar and salt. Beat on low for a minute, then on medium for two more minutes. Scrape the batter down the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing, adding one egg at a time and beating on high for about 20 seconds each. Add the vanilla and beat in. Last, add the chocolate mixture in and beat in completely. Use a rubber spatula to turn the batter over a couple times and make sure it is blended evenly. Pour over the crust in the springform pan and set aside at room temperature to prepare the pumpkin cheesecake.
  3. Pumpkin Cheesecake: Coat the inside of a 9″ round cake pan (width is important here, folks) with about a teaspoon of butter. Line the pan with parchment paper and coat that with the other teaspoon of butter. In a large bowl, mix the 16 ounces of cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt and beat on low for 1 minute, then high for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on high for about 20 seconds after each. Add the vanilla. Then add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon, allspice and cloves and beat until mixed completely. Use your rubber spatula to turn the batter a couple of times and make sure it’s mixed completely. Pour it into your prepared cake pan.
  4. How to Bake Cheesecakes:Put a pan with about 4 cups of hot water on the bottom rack in your 300 degree oven, and it should be at least a few inches below the center rack. Place both cheesecake pans on the center rack and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Leave the oven closed to reduce the risk of cracking. Turn off the oven after that time, and leave them in the oven for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool at room temperature for about a half hour in the pan. Then refrigerate the chocolate one, but keep the pumpkin one out, both still in their pans.
  5. Chocolate Ganache: In a saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream, butter and sugar over medium heat. Pour in the sugar, stir, and bring to a boil. Put your chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour the boiling cream mixture over the chocolate. Let it stand for about 5 minutes, then stir until it’s completely blended and smooth. Cool at room temperature.
  6. How to Assemble Cheesecake: Pour about 1 cup of the ganache over the chocolate cheesecake in the springform pan. Invert the pumpkin cheesecake, top side down, onto the chocolate layer and ganache. Press down gently to set the cake. Wrap the entire pan and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours. (Now go put your feet up because you’re probably totally exhausted by now.)
  7. How to Finish the Cheesecake: Remove the plastic wrap from the pan, and wrap a hot towel around the sides of the pan for a minute or so. Slowly, carefully release your spring to remove the springform pan rim. Pour the remainder of the chocolate ganache over the two-layer pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake. Refrigerate at least another 30 minutes.

*Phew* You are finally done! This thing may seem like a complicated recipe, but if you take your time and prepare, it is easy to manage and totally worth it. The chocolate pumpkin cheesecake recipe is absolutely decadent and delicious and perfect for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert that will wow your family and friends.

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