Okay, so this recipe may end up sounding complicated because I made it 2 different ways from 3 different recipes. Originally I did a web search to try to find a recipe similar to Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecake/cake combos. I think I had a slice of their Reeses Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake when I was there last. Oooh la and la!
I found a recipe similar to what I wanted on another blog. I have lost the blog address so I can’t share that with you. I took the cheesecake layers and made my own combination.
I showed you pictures of the Strawberry version I made but I only have that one shot. So I’ll give you the turtle version first.
4 – 8 oz. cream cheese
1 c. sugar
Preheat oven to 350*. Beat cream cheese and sugar together in mixer until softened. Beat in the eggs just until well blended. Pour into 2 waxed paper lined and greased 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 35-40 minutes or until middle is set and not jiggly. Remove and let cool completely. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 2-3 hours.
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
3/4 c. cocoa
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. milk½ c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. boiling water
Combine dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water; the batter is very thin. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350* until toothpick comes out clean. (25-ish minutes. Original recipe was for a bundt cake so I’m not sure of time.) Let set for about 10 minutes before removing from pan and placing onto waxed paper until ready to assemble the cake.
Chocolate Buttercream Icing
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. milk
3/4 c. cocoa
Start by placing a chocolate cake layer on bottom of cake plate. If your layers have domed at all, slice them off to be as even as possible. Add a layer of Chocolate Icing. Remove waxed paper from bottom of cheesecake and place on top of icing.
Now this is where it gets sticky (har har) – I didn’t have a recipe for a caramel sauce that would be thick enough to work. I first tried melting Brach’s caramel bits and didn’t keep my eye on them and before I knew it, they were smoking in the microwave!
Started over and melted more, and then added a little butter and some caramel ice cream topping. Well, it was good but it was way too soft. As long as the cake stayed chilled, it was fine. It even helped that the cheesecake had a bit of a lip. But, when the cake got room temperature, it started oozing just a bit.
So if you come up with a better caramel layer, feel free to let me know. 🙂
Repeat layers until it looks somewhat like this.
Finish off by covering everything with chocolate icing. Pour caramel topping over top of cake and then top with chopped pecans. Keep chilled until ready to serve. This cake is fairly tall and rich so it will easily serve 20. And it has a bazillion calories.
For a shortcut use a cake mix. Personally I don’t care for cake mixes with a few exceptions of recipes that build on them or take them out a different direction (turtle bars, dump cake, earthquake cake, etc.). To me they’re just not as good as a made-from-scratch cake.
Or to make it really rich, replace the cake with brownie layers instead! Or make 2 cake layers and 2 brownie layers. All kinds of options.
Now for the La Vita Dolce Strawberry Cake version:
I used the Muffins That Taste Like Donuts recipe, which is kind of a lightly spiced flavor. I’ll share another dessert version using that recipe some other time.
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. oil
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. milk
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, numbeg and cinnamon. In another bowl combine oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir only to combine. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350* for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a little bit before removing from pans.
Cream Cheese Strawberry Icing
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. butter, softened
1 lb. powdered sugar
¼ cup chopped strawberries or strawberry freezer jam
Whip cream cheese and butter until nice and creamy. Add vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth. Add strawberries and whip until blended.
Assemble this just like the photo shows. If you want a good amount of icing, you may have to make a recipe and a half. When I served this, I added a scoop of ice cream and topped with sliced, fresh strawberries.