Mini Carrot Cheesecake Recipe
Creamy, sweet and lightly spiced….this Mini Carrot Cheesecake recipe is a pleasant surprise at any gathering. All the flavors of a classic carrot cake whipped into a ethereally smooth cheesecake filling nestled in a pecan graham cracker crust. Heaven on your fork!
Easter is right around the corner and I’m on dessert duty, as usual. We always trek to Lancaster, PA to spend the holiday with my family for a huge feast of pierogies, kielbasa and fried cabbage….this year will be no different. But since the menu is pretty much the same every year, I always try to mix things up just a bit. Last year, I took this rich and chocolate Banana Pudding…it was a hit as I knew it would be but it wasn’t very Easter-y. So, this year…I wanted to bring back one of my favorites that I made well over 7 years ago…..a simple Carrot Cheesecake recipe I found in Martha Stewart’s magazine. For that version, I made a large 9 inch cheesecake and topped it with her tiny Marzipan carrots completed with fresh parsley as the carrot greens. It was super cute but those carrots took fooooorrreeeeeevvvvver. And since I made that first cheesecake that one Easter…I’ve made a few tweaks to improve on it just a bit…and totally ditched the marzipan carrots because…besides being cute….they just don’t taste very good. Unless you like marzipan….which I definitely do not.
For this Mini Carrot Cheesecake Recipe, I decided to…well, make them mini as the name suggests but I also added brown sugar to the graham cracker crust along with the crushed pecans. I liked the richer, molasses-y flavor of the brown sugar and love that it adds an extra depth against the creaminess of the filling. And speaking of the filling…I added a secret ingredient that was kind of just a spur of the moment addition but it totally worked out just amazingling. Orange extract! Holy cow was that a great idea if I do say so myself. The citrus along with the fresh ginger and the sweetness of the carrots just sing together in that filling. It’s flipping fantastic. Don’t skip it! I love Nielsen-Massey Orange Extract because it doesn’t taste artificial or have an alcohol after taste like many other extracts I’ve tried. I shared that little tidbit over on my Instagram stories in the middle of our Nor’easter the other day. If you want to see all the behind the scenes (or what’s going on in the kitchen) be sure to follow along over there.
This Mini Carrot Cheesecake recipe is absolutely the best option for your spring and summer parties. If you prefer, you can make this Carrot Cheesecake in a standard 9 inch springform pan instead of the mini cheesecakes but I absolutely LOVE the portion control of the mini cheesecakes plus the fact that slicing a cake stresses me out in the most absurd way. Like seriously, does anyone else start to sweat when they have to slice a cake??? That first slice just NEVER works the way you want it too….ever. But you do you.
And if you doing you means you totally would rather not have a Carrot Cheesecake…mini or not, and you want an entirely different flavor you have to try these Salted Caramel Mocha Cheesecakes….they are seriously amazing. And sooooo incredibly easy. Or another great spring treat is this Strawberry Pretzel Cheesecake….like a Strawberry Pretzel Salad but waaaaay better! And if it’s fall and you’re hankering a pumpkin something….you definitely want to make these Bourbon Pumpkin Praline Cheesecakes.
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup salted butter melted
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs about 8-9 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 medium carrots peeled and finely grated
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 8- ounce packages cream cheese room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Whipped cream if desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Place in a medium bowl with graham crackers, butter and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
Press crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of each well in a mini cheesecake pan. Bake until golden brown around edges and firm, about 10 minutes. (If baking a 9 inch cheesecake, press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
For the filling: Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the carrots and 1/2 cup of sugar. Cook, stirring often, until carrots are soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the carrots and juices to a bowl, and cool to room temperature.
Beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 4 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition. Add the carrots and pan juices, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, orange extract, salt, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture evenly among the cheesecake wells filling about 1/4 inch from the top of the pan. (Alternatively, if making in a standard springform pan, pour all the batter into the pan until 1/4 inch from the top.)
Fill a small roasting pan with enough boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven. Transfer the cheesecake pan to the middle rack and bake the cheesecake until set but slightly wobbly in center, approximately 15-20 minutes. (For a 9 inch cheesecake, bake for approximately 80 minutes.)
Transfer cheesecake pan to a rack, and allow to cool. Then refrigerate, uncovered, for 6 hours or overnight. (Cheesecake will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days).
Run a hot knife around edges of cheesecake to loosen, then remove sides of pan.
Top with whipped cream and chopped pecans, if desired, right before serving.
Cheesecake can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored uncovered in the refrigerator.