Recipe Review

I Tried Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars and They Seriously Surpassed My Expectations

published Apr 7, 2023
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Cheesecake stacked on top of each other.
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

It’s interesting how easy it is to avoid things that we don’t understand. As a kid, I was the type of picky eater that was hardly ever willing to give something new a try, especially if it incorporated vegetables. I had my go-to veggies that I preferred, and I was rarely willing to budge on that. This is partly due to the fact that I had been burned a few times before — like discovering onions in the first bite of what should be a plain cheeseburger or being tricked into taking a bite straight out of a whole tomato. Needless to say, I learned to tread carefully, and if I didn’t think I’d like it, I opted not to try it.

Given that information, it should make sense that growing up, I had a few bones to pick with carrot cake. If little 10-year-old Nathan had stumbled across Broma Bakery and found Sarah Crawford’s Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars, he would have missed out on something really special. Thankfully, we’ve grown past that stage, and although both carrot cake and cheesecake are not high up on my list of dessert choices, I was very excited to give Sarah’s recipe a shot. I love to learn something new, and with Easter right around the corner, these Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars sound like the perfect recipe for the occasion.  

Get the recipe: Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

How to Make Carrot Cheesecake Bars

You’ll want to keep in mind that it is important for certain ingredients to be at room temperature for this recipe. Make sure to leave the eggs, butter, and cream cheese out for at least three hours before you begin.

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper, making sure to cover all sides of the pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and butter together using a whisk. Add vanilla extract, eggs, and shredded carrots to the mix and whisk until everything is incorporated. Try not to overmix so as to avoid a bread-y consistency in the final result. 

Next, add flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and a bit of orange zest, mixing until everything is combined with no streaks of flour in sight. You’ll want to do your best to not overmix here, too. Then, pour the carrot cake batter into your prepared pan, and set aside for later. 

For the cheesecake layer, combine the room-temperature cream cheese, egg, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large mixing bowl. Beat using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until everything is creamy and consistent. Place scoops of cheesecake batter on top of the carrot cake batter, then take a knife and create big swirls throughout the cheesecake layer.  

Next, pop that pan in the oven for 30 minutes, and bake at 350°F until a knife inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Let the bars cool entirely before slicing into perfect little squares and enjoying with your loved ones. 

My Honest Opinion of Carrot Cheesecake Bars

These tasty little treats seriously surpassed my expectations. The combination of the two different types of sweets is definitely the right move here, and packaging it all in a small, snack-sized bar is totally ingenious. If you are in the mood for something that isn’t chocolate, but is still moist, savory, and fluffy, this is the recipe for you. Show up to your family’s Easter get-together with these and you’ll be fielding requests for more for years to come. 

In my opinion, Sarah’s recipe is not only delicious, but it helps further prove to myself that my palate has grown exponentially over the years. And more importantly, that it’s absolutely OK for carrots to be in cake. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

3 Tips for Making Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars

  1. Don’t overmix. It’s easy to get in the groove and mix your little heart out. In this case, making sure to mix the ingredients until they are incorporated will ensure the best results. The carrot cake batter can become tough and a little too bread-y, and the cheesecake mix can aerate and end up cracking as a result of a little too much mixing.
  2. Room-temperature ingredients are the key to success. For the creamiest of cheesecake batters, it is of the utmost importance to use ingredients that are at room temperature. This will assist in the seamlessness of beating the cheesecake batter into the creamy consistency you are looking for. Leave the butter, eggs, and cream cheese out on the table for a minimum of three hours before beginning. 
  3. Overbaking is a big mistake. To avoid a tough and likely bad-tasting cheesecake, make sure to take the bars out of the oven before it’s too late. Once the timer hits 30 minutes, test by inserting a knife in the center of the cake. If the knife comes out mostly clean, take the bars out to cool.