Resident and Grapevine teacher Caitlyn Zappia grew up learning to bake from her grandmother and was inspired to serve others, she says. “My husband finally persuaded me to give it a whirl and try out selling my brownies in our community,” she says. “I received more interest than I ever imagined, and requests for cookie cakes, cupcakes and cakes soon started coming in.” Zappia launched her cake-baking business, From Batter to Crumbs, last summer from her home kitchen under the Texas Cottage Food Law. Her sweet treats include everything from cherry-topped piña colada cupcakes to s’mores brownies made with toasted marshmallows. Celebrate Easter Sunday with Zappia’s show-stopping Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Made with carrots, golden raisins, pineapples and chopped nuts, the light and fluffy dessert is as easy to prepare as it is perfect for spring. Top with candy such as speckled eggs for a special Easter touch.
Carrot Cake Cheesecake
For the cake:
• 3/4 cup oil
• 2 large eggs
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup white granulated sugar
• 1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 1/4 cups canned crushed pineapple,
drained (juice reserved)
• 1 cup grated carrots
• 1/2 cup golden raisins
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
For the cheesecake:
• 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
(full fat, not reduced), softened
• 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
• 8-ounce package cream cheese
(full fat, not reduced)
• 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
• 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
• 4 tablespoons pineapple juice
(reserved from canned crushed pineapple)
• Chopped pecans or walnuts, and candy
speckled eggs for garnish
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan.
2. For the cake, whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add in the sugar. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir to mix until well incorporated. Stir in the crushed pineapple, carrots, raisins and walnuts. Once well combined, pour into prepared pan.
3. For the cheesecake, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Carefully pour the cream cheese batter onto the top of the carrot cake batter, making sure not to mix. Bake for 60 minutes or until cake is baked through, testing with a toothpick inserted in the middle. Set aside onto cooling rack until completely cooled.
4. For the topping, beat together the butter and cream cheese until well combined and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, alternating with a tablespoon of the pineapple juice. Once all sugar and juice have been slowly beaten in, turn the mixer on high to make sure everything is well combined and beaten smooth.
5. When cake has cooled, remove spring rim. Frost the top and sides of the cake. While frosting is still wet, press the chopped nuts around the sides of the cake. The cheesecake can be eaten immediately but is best if chilled for at least two hours before serving. Add candy to top right before serving.