It's hard to believe Easter was already a few weeks ago. I made some classics (deviled eggs) and also put my spin on a few menu items. The idea was that we could incorporate both our family traditions, while starting some new holiday traditions of our own. the menu I came up with:
Lemony Dill Sour Cream Dip and Raw Vegetables
Easter Bunny Bread (more on that, later)
Maryland Crab Dip (Thank you, Mom!)
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus with parmesan
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Jalepeno Corn Casserole
Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cheesecake Copycat
Orange Tapioca Pudding (Thanks to my mother-in-law)
Easter Biscotti (Jelly Bean Biscotti)
Easter Bunny Bread (using a sweet buttermilk bread - doubled as a dip try and dinner rolls)
Classic Coconut Macaroons
Toasted Coconut Meringue Macaroons
Chewy Chocolate Macaroons
Yes, you read that right - 4 macaroon recipes. It was a bit of a bake-off to see if there was a 'best macaroon.' You know what? There isn't. They were all so very good. Though I think the top two based on comments from family were the Toasted Coconut Meringue Macaroons and the Chewy Chocolate Macaroons. They were just so different from normal and were just a nice change of pace. The Easter (Jelly Bean) Biscotti sounds strange, and that first bite or two is a little strange to eat. It's like a shortbready-butter cookie with jelly beans inside. There is not only a textural interest, but the jelly bean flavors definitely add a unique flair to this recipe as well. That being said, they were strangely addictive - though I'm sure that isn't the case for everyone. I can see this definitely being a "love it or leave it" kind of dessert, but it was just too festive to pass up.
This recipe I'm sharing has been around for a while - it's a copycat recipe trying to replicate the Cheesecake Factory's version of this cake. Though I haven't had their version, this version is wonderful. This was one of the Easter Desserts and my very first cheesecake attempt. Ah-may-zing. I posed the nutrition information, but it's not entirely accurate. I know that if you're going to indulge, indulge, but I couldn't help myself. I changed the recipe to make it a smidgen healthier, from using reduced fat cream cheese, applesauce instead of some oil and whole wheat flour instead of AP. My changes are in parenthesis.
Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake Cheesecake
16 ounces cream cheese (at room temp - I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon flour (AP)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup vegetable oil (used 1/4 c oil and 1/2 c applesauce)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour (used whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
(1/4 tsp nutmeg)
(1/4 tsp ginger)
1 dash salt
1 (8 1/2 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained with juice reserved
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans here)
PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat)
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice
I also used extra crushed pecans to put on top of the pineapple cream cheese frosting to make it prettier to serve.
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, (nutmeg, ginger) and dash salt, mixing well.
Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts (i used pecans).
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, spreading evenly with a knife.
Do not marble with a knife.
Bake in preheated 350 (I backed it down to 300) degree oven 50 to 65 (it cooked for a LOT longer, I wasn't really keeping track, but it did set up) minutes or until cake is set and cooked through.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. (I waited for mine to cool completely, then wrapped it heavily so I could freeze it for a week. I thawed it out 3 days before easter to let the flavors combine before serving it.)
When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple 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.
Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.
Nutrition Information for the unmodified Cheesecake recipe (not that you want to see it for this...haha)
Serving Size 1 (175g)
Recipe makes 12 servings
Calories from Fat 322
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 35.8g
Saturated Fat 13.6g
Monounsaturated Fat 9.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 10.7g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Total Carbohydrate 62.9g
Dietary Fiber 1.3g