carrot cake with liquid cheesecake and graham cracker ganache

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i found a package addressed to me on the porch a few days ago, and i torn it open and ripped the wrapping off its contents before realizing that it was probably meant to be opened during hanukkah.

oops! well, the gift was the momofuku milk bar cookbook, and it has effectively drawn me back into an all-milk-bar-all-the-time state of mind. i have a love/hate relationship with the milk bar, but christina tosi’s crazy recipes are growing on me. gotta admire someone who makes a ganache out of celery root (coming soon!).

this cake has a ridiculous number of steps. i love that about it – it’s extremely rewarding at the end – but if that’s not your thing, feel free to omit the crumbs or ganache or liquid cheesecake (just not all three). i do encourage you to go all the way, though.

full disclosure: this is not an amazing cake recipe. it works well after being soaked and crumbed and whatnot, but it’s pretty plain. if you’re looking for a great carrot cake, look here!

also, you’ll need a 6-inch cake ring and a 6×20 inch strip of acetate.

make this for your pet rabbit or your uncle with bad eyesight!

decoration inspired by margaret in the city, recipe adapted from the momofuku milk bar cookbook

cake

  • 115 g (8 tbsp) butter, room temperature
  • 120 g (1/2 cup packed) light brown sugar
  • 11 g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 200 g (1 1/4 cups) flour
  • 4 g (1 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda
  • 1.5 g (3/4 tsp) ground cinnamon
  • 5 g (1 1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 225 g (2 1/2 cups) peeled, shredded carrots

liquid cheesecake

  • 225 g (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 6 g (1 tbsp) cornstarch
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
  • 25 g (2 tbsp) milk
  • 1 egg, room temperature

milk crumbs

  • 20 g (1/4 cup) milk powder
  • 20 g (2 tbsp) flour
  • 6 g (1 tbsp) cornstarch
  • 12 g (1 tbsp) sugar
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 27 g (2 tbsp) butter, melted
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) milk powder
  • 45 g (1.5 oz) white chocolate, melted

graham cracker ganache

  • 95 g (3/4 cup) graham cracker crumbs
  • 10 g (2 tbsp) milk powder
  • 13 g (1 tbsp) sugar
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 27 g (2 tbsp) butter, melted
  • 27 g (2 tbsp) heavy cream
  • 85 g (1/3 cup) milk
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
  • 85 g (6 tbsp) butter, room temperature
  • 15 g (1 tbsp packed) light brown sugar
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) powdered sugar
  • 0.5 g (1/2 tsp)cinnamon
  • 0.5 g (1/8 tsp) kosher salt

assembly

  • 55 g (1/4 cup) milk
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shaved into long curls

for the cake, preheat the oven to 350º. spray a quarter sheet pan with non-stick spray and line it with parchment paper. beat the butter and sugars in a stand mixer on high speed for 2-3 minutes. scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and add the eggs one by one. beat for 2 more minutes. on low speed, stream in the oil. increase to high and beat for 6 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in size. scrape the bowl. on low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. mix for a minute or less – just until everything has been incorporated. remove the bowl from the  mixer and fold in the shredded carrots with a spatula. spread the batter in the prepared pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes. let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then invert onto a wire rack.

for the liquid cheesecake, preheat the oven to 300º. line the bottom and sides of an 8×8 baking pan with plastic wrap. beat the cream cheese in a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. add the sugar and continue to mix. scrape down the sides of the bowl. in a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and salt. in a slow stream, add in the milk. whisk in the egg. add the egg slurry into the cream cheese on low speed, then beat for 3 minutes. pour the batter into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes; the cheesecake should be almost set near the outer edges, and jiggly in the center. let cool in the pan. the final product should be pliable enough to spread or smear.

for the milk crumbs, preheat the oven to 250º and line a baking sheet with parchment. combine the powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt. toss to mix. add the melted butter and toss until clusters form. bake the clusters for 20 minutes on the sheet. let cool, then toss in the additional milk powder. pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until evenly coated.

for the graham cracker ganache, toss together the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt. whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream, then add to the dry ingredients and toss to evenly distribute. blend this mixture in a blender with the milk and salt for 1-3 minutes, or until completely smooth. in a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt for 2-3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl. on low speed, add the contents of the blender. beat on high for 2 minutes.

to assemble, use the cake ring to punch two circles and two half circles out of the cake. reserve scraps for snacking. wipe off the cake ring, then place it on a sheet pan. lay a 6-inch circle of cardboard (or cake board) in the bottom. line the ring with the strip of acetate. place the two half circles in the bottom, adding scraps if needed to complete the circle. brush with a good amount of the milk. use the back of a spoon to spread on half of the liquid cheesecake. top with a third of the milk crumbs. use the back of a spoon to spread a third of the graham cracker ganache on top of the crumbs (it can be messy). repeat with the second layer, using a whole round. nestle the final layer on top. cover the top of the cake with the remaining graham cracker ganache, and garnish with any remaining milk crumbs. transfer the sheet pan to the freezer, and freeze for at least 12 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

3 hours before serving, remove the cake ring and acetate. move to a cake stand, and decorate with the carrot curls. keep refrigerated until serving.

 

 

 

 

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