When I was conceptualizing this dessert in my head I asked myself "Are you really going to cheesecake and top it with a cream cheese frosting?" The answer: A resounding yes!
I don't know if I should be ashamed of this cream cheese on top of cream cheese concoction or proud of it, but I do know that I am very glad I made it! And so is everyone else who got to try it. Somehow I justified this cream cheese overload to myself because I'm pregnant, but let's be honest, once the idea was in my head there was no turning back, pregnant or not!
If you're asking yourself it the cream cheese icing is really necessary, or thinking about making the cheesecake without the icing, let me just stop you right now. The icing is crucial. I tried one plain without it, and it just tasted okay. It really lacked that carrot cake taste. The cream cheese icing on top really brings out that true carrot cake flavor and brings the whole dessert together.
I thought this dessert was great as it is, but next time I might try incorporating some toasted walnut or pecan into the crust. Or maybe decorate the top with a nut (instead of making Ross fish out all the orange sprinkles out of a bag of multi-colored sprinkles). Also, it should be noted that the recipe could easily be doubled. I didn't trust myself with that much cheesecake around, so I made a small(er) batch. I used my mini cheesecake pan and got about 14 mini cheesecakes. They went fast.
Mini Carrot Cake Cheesecakes
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 8 0z cream cheese, softened
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely grated
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 lemon extract (or a squeeze of lemon juice)
- To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray mini cheesecake pans with non-stick spray, or line mini muffin tins with paper liners. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press into pans (I used about 1 tablespoon per cheesecake). Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until golden brown.
To make the cheesecake: Beat cream cheese and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg. Add carrots, flour, spices, and vanilla extract. Spoon on top of crusts so they are about 3/4 full.
Bake until set, about 18 to 22 minutes.
Transfer pans to a rack and let cool. Refrigerate until ready to frost.
- To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and extracts. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost with cream cheese icing. Enjoy!