Carrot Cake Cheesecake with Spiced Pecans

Easters is coming!
If you remember, last year for our Easter gathering of family-less friends, I did this cake.
And it was sosososososo delicious. I also made it for my family when we visited last year.
Huge hit.
For our Easters meal this Sunday, I knew I wanted to do carrot cake because, well, it's Easters.
Except I wanted to make it bomb.com so I threw in a cheesecake layer. I still can't believe we don't have a cheesecake recipe on the blog! I made a salted carmel one for my Mister for Valentine's but didn't take pictures, so that will come at another time. Be patient.
Then, I sugared and spiced some pecans (my second favorite part of this cake) for a crunchy extra kick.
 The carrot cake was delivered to me many years ago by a friend and I hounded her for the recipe. It's not often that I find food that I must have the recipe for, but this was the best I've ever had. It wasn't too spicy, the tender cake holds its own but isn't dry, perfect ratio of carrot to cake, LOVE!
And the cheesecake is my Grandma Packard's recipe.
My Mom has been making it for my Dad's birthday ever since I can remember.
With cherry pie filling on top. It's the only way, really.
Please people, none of the pre-shredded carrots. They're so dry. You deserve better.
My house was filled with a spiced cider aroma as I was candying the pecans. I've been snacking on the extras since....
 The beauty of this cake is that you can make it a couple days ahead and freeze the individual layers. That way, all you have to do is ice your layers day of and save time for egg-hunting and chocolate-eating!

Carrot Cake Cheesecake with Spiced Pecans
2 c flour
2 c sugar
2 t baking soda
2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
3 c grated carrots (1 lb)
1 1/2 c canola oil
4 eggs, room temperature
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 c sugar
2 t vanilla
2 T lemon juice
4 eggs, room temperature
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
6 T butter, room temperature
6 c powdered sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1 t coconut extract
1/2 t salt
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/2 c sugar
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 T water
toasted coconut
1. Mix dry ingredients in bowl
2. Add oil, eggs, and carrots, mix just until incorporated.
3. Bake in two 9" round pans that have been greased and floured at 350' for 40-45 minutes.
4. Test for doneness with toothpick when you can smell the cake. Leave in pans for 10 minutes, then flip over onto rack to finish cooling completely.
1. Whip cream cheese (very room temperature=no lumps) until creamy. Mix in sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice.
2. Lightly beat eggs, then mix into batter.
3. Pour into springform pan and bake at 350' for 40ish minutes. Edges, about 3 inches in should be set. Center will set after finished baking.
4. Let cool in springform pan to prevent cracking. When almost cool, remove from pan and let cool completely.
5. Wrap both cake layers and cheesecake layer each in saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to frost (may be done day before. If more than 1 day before, freeze until ready to use).
1. Beat cream cheese until creamy, then beat in butter (both room temperature).
2. Mix in powdered sugar.
3. Mix in extracts and salt.
1. Add all ingredients to heavy pan and heat on low. Stir until sugar has melted and pecans are coated.
2. Lay out to dry on plate.
1. Layer carrot cake, icing, cheesecake, icing, second carrot cake layer.
2. Ice entire cake with 'crumb coating'.
3. Refrigerate 1 hour.
4. Ice with remaining icing.
5. Garnish with spiced pecans and toasted coconut.

Seriously, those candied pecans threw in the perfect punch and texture to break up all of the soft, sweet layers inside. And the crunchy, toasted coconut? A must as well.

You think these pictures with the grubby, little hands are cute, yes? Cute enough to be staged?
Well, I'll tell you a secret. They are most definitely never staged (in my case) and it's usually a serious struggle to keep my little monster away from the goods!
I usually cave and give him a little bite...I take the giggles and crumb-laiden grin as a sign of approval.
Happy Easters!
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