HOT OFF THE PRESS: I found out my cookbook made the New York Times Best Sellers list!! Much screeching, jumping and tears, captured in this home movie ❤️:
Enough about me. Back to today’s recipe for you – Cheesecake Stuffed Carrot-Bundt Cake!
Not usually a fan of bundt cakes. Too much cake, not enough frosting. But THIS, I’m all over! Three cake favourites in one – a creamy cheesecake stuffed inside carrot cake with a thick cream cheese glaze. YES!
Not your usual bundt cake!
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t understand the appeal of bundt cakes. It’s a thick wad of cake, usually drizzled with a pretty thin glaze. No fluffy frosting sandwiched inside like a layer cake, nor smothered with whipped cream with piles of juicy fruit like pavlova.
Too much cake. Not enough of the fun stuff!
So I decided to up the fun-factor by stuffing it with cheesecake. Inspired by a cake I first saw on my friend Jennifer Sabin Sattley’s website, Carlsbad Cravings. Perfect for a party, it combines two holiday favorites into one – a carrot Bundt cake with creamy cheesecake inside, with a generous amount of thick cream cheese glaze!
What you need
Here’s what you need to make this.
Basically everything you need for cheesecake!
Cream cheese – Blocks are the standard choice for cooking but actually, the spreadable cream cheese in tubs works fine too. You will need 2 whole blocks for this recipe – we use half of one block in the glaze.
Sour cream – Lightens up the cheesecake a bit. Without, it’s just a little rich for my taste. I use sour cream in all my cheesecake recipes.
Flour – This stabilises the cheesecake mixture. Without, it doesn’t set.
Large egg at room temperature. 50 – 55g / 2 oz each, “large eggs” labelled on the carton. Make sure it isn’t fridge cold else it won’t incorporate into the mixture and you’ll end up with lumpy cheesecake. Yup – been there, done that!
Egg plus the flour is what sets the filling so it doesn’t become a runny messy inside the cake.
Lemon zest – Hint of freshness. Love it.
Sugar – For sweetness. Regular / granulated or caster / superfine is fine here.
Vanilla – For flavour.
Carrot cake bundt cake
Here’s what you need for the Carrot Cake part. It is exactly the same as my classic Carrot Cake! The “secret ingredients” in this are:
Crushed pineapple (canned) – this adds to the moistness of the crumb, as well as sweetness and flavour. We’re going to use all of the pineapple and some of the juice; and
Coconut and walnuts (or pecans) – they add a subtle soft crunch which provides great textural contrast in this cake that has a very soft crumb.
Crushed canned pineapple in natural juice. If the liquid is sweetened, it will still work but unsweetened is better. Can’t find crushed pineapple? Just chop up rings or pieces.
See above photo for commentary on why it’s a secret ingredient in this cake!
Baking soda / bi-carb rather than baking powder. It’s ~3x stronger than baking powder and works better in this cake which benefits from the extra power to make it rise. It’s a sizeable cake! I haven’t tested with baking powder because I’m pretty sure the cake won’t rise as well.
Vinegar activates the baking soda to give it a kick start. Don’t worry, you can’t taste it!
Carrots – peeled and shredded using a standard box grater.
Desiccated coconut – Finely shredded coconut, not the large flakes. Unsweetened is best (this is standard in Australia).
Walnuts – For fabulous CRUNCHY!
Brown sugar for caramel-y goodness and makes the cake crumb softer and more moist than white sugar.
Oil instead of butter which also keeps cakes moist. Why? Simple – butter firms up. Even after melting in a cake. Oil does not. So – moister! (Is that a word??)
Plain / all-purpose flour, not cake flour which will make the cake too damp. Also, self-raising flour cannot be used here. Wrong ratio of rising agent to flour.
Large eggs at room temperature. 50 – 55g / 2 oz each, “large eggs” labelled on the carton. Make sure they aren’t fridge cold else they won’t incorporate into the mixture.
Thick cream cheese glaze
Not a fan of thin see-through glazes. I like mine THICK! The frosting is always the best part, right? 😀 (Though actually, in this cake, it ties with the cheesecake part. The cake is just a vehicle to deliver the glaze and cheesecake. 🤣)
Cream cheese – The rest of the block is used for the cheesecake stuffing.
Butter – For buttery richness in the glaze.
Icing sugar / powdered sugar – Australia: use soft icing sugar, not pure icing sugar which is intended for hard-set icing like royal icing that you decorate biscuits with.
Milk – For loosening. USE WITH CAUTION as I find glazes go from too thick to too thin with just the tiniest amount of liquid!
Lemon and vanilla – For flavour.
How to make cheesecake stuffed bundt cake
OK – the making part! It’s pretty fun actually. Love piping the cheesecake filling into the cake!
1. Cheesecake filling first
Make the cheesecake filling first so it can firm up a bit in the fridge while you make the batter. This makes it easier to pipe.
Beat – Beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in flour, just until incorporated. Then beat in the egg until mixed in.
The goal here is to make the filling smooth but minimise the air incorporated into the mixture which can create air bubbles when baking. It’s just a visual think though, and won’t affect the taste!
Fridge – Transfer cheesecake mix into a piping bag fitting with a 1.5 – 2 cm / ~0.6″ round nozzle. Then refrigerate while you assemble the rest of the cake.
It’s very easy – mix wet, mix dry, mix wet and dry!
Drain pineapple well in a colander, pressing out excess liquid. Reserve the liquid – you need some for the batter. Use the rest for your morning smoothie!
Whisk wet cake batter ingredients until smooth. Eggs, brown sugar, oil, milk and 1/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice.
Stir in carrot, coconut and walnuts.
Whisk Dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Pour wet into the dry ingredients.
Mix just until the flour is incorporated.
TIP OF THE DAY: Dust your bundt pan with cocoa powder not flour. It will blend invisibly into the cake rather than leaving white flour. 🙂 Also, dust well! Cakes stuck in a bundt pan is the worst! 😭
Some batter – Spread 1 1/2 cups of batter into the base of the bundt pan.
Pipe the cheesecake filling in. I do approximately two layers of piping. Avoid touching the walls!
Cover with the remaining batter. I spoon the batter on the edges of the cake first and cover the cheesecake filling last. This helps keep the cheesecake filling where it should remain – right in the middle!
Bake for 60 minutes, covering with foil at the 30 minute mark to prevent it from becoming too brown.
We bake at a little higher temperature than typical for cakes – 200°C/400°F (180°C fan). It needs the heat to cook the cake with all the extra moisture inside from the cheesecake. Also, the slightly higher heat cooks the cake on the outside more and the cheesecake less, which means – yup, you guessed it – beautifully creamy cheesecake!
4. The glaze
The glaze is as simple as beating the ingredients together. Use milk to adjust the thickness of the glaze so it’s loose enough to drip slowly down the side of the cake but to cover the cake thickly.
This is what we’re looking for. A thick glaze that covers the cake without being see-through!
Expect shape variations!!!
Your cheesecake filling shape may not be the same as pictured. It might be more like a smile, some parts of the cake might have more, some less. Some sections might not be fully surrounded by cake, some sections might be a bit wonky.
I chose the best slice for the photos, and crossed my fingers when I did the cake-slice-pull-out for the video. 😀
And it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look exactly the same. What’s important is the flavour! Creamy cheesecake, moist carrot cake and that cream cheese glaze I keep going on and one about. It’s a winning combo!! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Cheesecake stuffed carrot bundt cake
- 400g/14 oz can crushed pineapple in natural juice (Note 1)
- unsalted butter , for greasing
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened), for dusting (Note 2)
- 340g / 12 oz cream cheese block , softened (Note 3)
- 1/3 cup sour cream , full fat (yoghurt also ok)
- 1/2 cup white sugar (regular/granulated)
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg , at room temperature
- 2 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda/bi-carb (NOT baking powder, Note 4)
- 1/2 tsp salt (cooking/kosher salt)
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2/3 cup milk , full fat, at room temperature (not fridge-cold)
- 1 tsp white vinegar (Note 5)
- 3 large eggs , at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (packed) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup canola oil (or other neutral oil)
- 2 cups shredded carrot , using a box grater (2 carrots)
- 1/4 cup desiccated coconut , unsweetened (finely shredded, not large flakes)
- 1 cup walnuts , roughly chopped
Thick cream cheese glaze:
- 115 g / 4 oz cream cheese , softened (Note 3)
- 30g/ 2 tbsp unsalted butter , softened
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups soft icing sugar / powdered sugar , sifted
- 1 1/2 tbsp milk , full-fat, plus more as needed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan). Grease a 12-cup (3 litre) Bundt pan (Note 6) with butter, then dust well with cocoa, shaking out excess. (Why cocoa? See Note 2)
- Prep pineapple – Drain pineapple in a colander, pressing out excess juice and reserving. Set pineapple and juice aside.
- Cheesecake filling – Using an electric beater, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, lemon and vanilla just until smooth. Beat in flour, just until incorporated. Beat in egg until mixed in. Transfer cheesecake mix into a piping bag and refrigerate until required.
- Batter – Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, eggs, brown sugar, canola oil, and ¼ cup of the reserved pineapple juice. Whisk until smooth, then stir in the crushed pineapple, shredded carrot, coconut flakes, and walnuts, if using. Pour this over the flour mixture and gently stir until combined.
- Assemble – Pour about 2 1/2 cups of batter into the Bundt pan. Cut a 1.8cm / 3/4" hole in the end of the piping bag. Pipe a ring of the filling directly on top of the batter—avoid touching sides of pan. Cover with remaining batter.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Remove, cover loosely with foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Check with a skewer to ensure it's cooked (straight down into cheesecake, and also on the inner wall of the ring)
- Glaze – Cool 20 minutes in the pan. Invert on to a rack and allow to fully cool. Spoon the glaze on top, allowing it to drip down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle with walnuts, if using. Cut with a hot knife (for neater slices) and serve!
Cream cheese glaze:
- Beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in icing sugar in two batches, starting on a low speed first (to avoid powder storm!).
- Adjust thickness – Beat in milk and lemon juice. Add extra milk 1 teaspoon at a time until it becomes a thick glaze – BE CAREFUL, it will go from too thick to too thin with just a tiny bit of milk! GOAL: a glaze you can spoon onto the cake, so it oozes thickly down the sides, rather than being thin and transparent like most glazes.
Life of Dozer
Earnestly explaining the reward that awaits him if he co-operates for a photo:
Said photo. (He’s totally looking at the camera, not the treats!)