November 20, 2011

Pumpkin-Cheesecake Cake

I had no idea what to name this cake. What do you call two separate cakes when they get rolled into one dessert-bomb like this?

It's cheesecake and cake that's piled high on top of each other. Yep! As if it could get any better, this dessert was kind of amazing because... Well, I am afraid to tell you why. You're going to laugh and think I'm lying.

...This cheesecake-cake was kind of amazing because it was so very easy to make (!)
Stop being skeptical! I'll tell you why it was so easy and when we're done you're going to believe me and then go run and make one yourself. Two words: semi-homemade.

This cake is inspired by Junior's Cheesecakes, which is a New York-based company that layers their incredibly dense, New York Style cheesecakes between layers of moist cake and rich
frosting. If you like staring at photos of ridiculously delicious food almost as much as I do, click on the link to the website and salivate away.

The best way to show you how I put this cake together is through photos. Here's what you need:

one quality store-bought frozen cheesecake
(I used Trader Joe's Frozen Pumpkin Cheesecake)

one box of store bought cake or bread mix
(I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread mix)

Your favorite frosting recipe
(I made cream cheese frosting, recipe below)

First I baked the pumpkin bread according to the box directions, in a round cake pan the same size as the cheesecake. I cooled it completely, then froze it overnight. You don't have to freeze it, but it helped to cut it into two layers when it was very firm.

In the meantime, I made cream cheese frosting:
1 8oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract

Then, I sliced the cake into two cake layers from one. I put one cake layer on top of the frozen cheesecake, as shown below. Keeping the cheesecake frozen keeps it firm and prevents it from getting squished while you're frosting and layering everything.

I topped that with about 1/3 of my frosting and spread it out. Then I added the second cake layer on top of that and frosted it with a thin layer all over to catch the crumbs (about another 1/3 of the frosting). I refrigerated that for one hour to set the crumb layer.

Then I used the rest of the frosting to frost the cake completely. I garnished it with toasted
walnut pieces.

Then I kept the whole thing in the fridge until an hour before it was time to eat it. The cheesecake had thawed itself out underneath the cake layers, just as it should. The cake layers were the perfect balance to creamy cheesecake and sweet frosting.

The whole thing was just plain fun to make, serve and enjoy with our friends. And if that's not what Thanksgiving is all about, I'm not sure what is!

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