14 April, 2012

Cardamom Scented Carrot Cheesecake

I first became aware of celiac disease when I met my step-dad.  At first, it was hard to comprehend.  No flour??!!  No bread? Pasta? Cake? Pizza???!!  etc, etc....  WHAT DO YOU EAT?!!?

That was before the surge in public awareness of gluten free eating.  Now it's pretty mainstream- with people choosing to go gluten-free for it's health benefits.  When I look at my step-dad's diet, it's completely apparent to me that gluten-free diets ARE more healthy.  To make up for the calories missing from bread and other 'glutinated' items, he eats extra veggies, and more often eats quinoa and brown rice.  

Since becoming more aware of gluten-free eating, I have gone completely gluten free in the past, and currently attempt to make healthier, gluten-free choices when possible (fairly speaking though- I DO eat   my share of gluten).  I enjoy the challenge of trying to make recipes gluten-free.

I am not, by any means, saying the following recipe for Carrot Cheesecake is healthy...  :)  But is IS gluten-free.  And DELICIOUSSSSS.

Cardamom Scented Carrot Cheesecake

This cake is time consuming (plan a whole day to prepare), but worth it.  I brought it to Easter dinner and got RAVE reviews.  Make it a day ahead- it's better the second day.

2, 7.25 packages of Pamela's Pecan Shortbread Cookies
5 tbsp butter

4, 8 ounce bars cream cheese
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
4 eggs
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom

2 cups gluten-free flour mix- I used Betty Crocker Gluten-Free baking mix
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temp
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 cups peeled and grated carrots
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardomom
1 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Icing:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla

You will need a 9 inch springform pan, 9 inch round cake pan, and parchment paper.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch springform pan.

2. Melt butter.  Add shortbread cookies to a food processor, and process until crumbs.  Slowly drizzle in the butter while still processing, allowing it to gradually wet all the crumbs. The crumbs should stick together a little when you press a handful into a ball.  If they don't add another tbsp of butter- but adding too much butter will make the crust very heavy, so be careful.

3. Dumb the cookie/butter mixture into the springform pan.  Press it down with the palms of your hand until it forms a solid, flat layer of crust.  When you think it's been pressed down well, press it down some more.  Do not press the crust up on the sides of the pan, keep it flat- as a base for the cake.

4. Bake in oven for 20 minutes.  LET COOL before adding cake batters, but leave oven on at 350.

1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth and light.  Blend in cream, and then add eggs one at a time, mixing just to combine the eggs with the cream cheese mixture.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients  Set aside, and make the carrotcake.

1. Lightly grease the cake pan, and place a circle of parchment paper down, leaving a little parchment hanging over for easy removal of the cake.

2. In a large bowl, cream sugar and eggs. Add vegetable oil and vanilla, mixing until smooth.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour mix, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture, stirring gently to combine.  Once combined, fold in the carrots and walnuts.

To assemble:
In the spring form pan:
1. On top of the cooled crust, add 1/2 of the cheesecake batter.

2. Add 1/2 of the carrotcake batter on top by small spoonfuls.  If it is poured on top in the center, you won't be able to spread it without combining it with the cheesecake layer.  By adding it with small spoonfuls, you can get the cake pretty mush covered, using a rubber scraper (or butter knife) to drag the spoonfuls together, making one solid layer.

3. Add the rest of the cheesecake batter, spreading evenly.

4. Bake in preheated oven for one hour.  After the hour, turn off oven, but leave cake inside for two hours.  Take out and cool completely on wire racks.

In the 9 inch cake pan:
1. Add the remaining carrotcake batter to the cake pan.  Bake in oven (with carrotcake) removing after 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Halfway through cooking time, switch the positions of the two cakes, so they cook evenly.

2. Let cool completely.

Once cool, use the parchment paper to remove the carrotcake from the pan.  Very carefully, place this layer ON TOP of the Cheesecake.  Try to keep the carrotcake from crumbling when doing this, but f it does you can hide it with the cream cheese frosting.

You now have a cake with 4 layers- cheesecake, carrotcake, cheesecake, carrotcake.

The frosting:
1. Cream the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add the powdered sugar.  Mix until frosting is light and fluffy.  Apply to cake with a rubber scraper, spatula,  or spoon into a piping bag to decorate.

Store in fridge overnight.


  1. The carrot cheesecake was hands-down the best gluten free dessert I've ever had! So rich!

  2. It was delicous! Have to make it myself!