Saturday, April 17, 2010

Twice as Good Carrot Cake



It must be good if it was worth making twice within a week.




My father's birthday happened to fall on Good Friday this year. Thus, we were compelled to wait for the celebration on Easter Sunday. Celebrating your birthday in conjunction with the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord couldn't be a bad thing, though. And it just so happens that his favorite kind of dessert is carrot cake. Providential, perhaps?



As much as I like to bake, my experience with cakes has been limited. The prospect of prettily frosting the cake has much to do with it. (I watched a friend of mine frost a wedding cake for hours on end and it has scarred me for life...jk. ;)) Fortunately, carrot cake is frosted in a rather slap-dash, haphazard manner so I didn't have to worry too much about a smooth finish (or the random appearance of crumbs...don't have a coronary, Emma!).



Then, another birthday Easter Friday of a friend who actually received 3 cakes from the dessert crew (more about that in another post). Easy-peasy the second time around. It was necessary to make a purchase of cake pans as I had borrowed my mother's for my father's cake. But, I figured if I was going to be making cakes this frequently, I should probably invest in some of my own. Or, at the very least, it would be incentive to try my hand at them more often. And I'm always excited to add another kitchen utensil to my steadily-growing collection.

Speaking of new kitchen equipment...I used my new KitchenAid mixer for the first time mixing up the cakes. Works like a dream! Much easier than a hand-held whisk, let me tell ya....



The fire-engine red beauty.

One thing I've learned about cakes is that it is all about beating those eggs. Let your mixer run for the allotted amount of time. Those eggs need a good beating to help the cake rise properly in the oven.

This is a very simple, yet delectable, carrot cake recipe. I had a few people who tasted it say they don't normally like carrot cake, but this one changed their mind. It doesn't include all the added pineapple and coconut which I think makes the flavor too tropical.

CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

adapted from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010

Cake

1 c. walnuts

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. salt

1 c. canola oil

1/2 c. buttermilk

1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

4 large eggs

2 c. sugar

1 lb. carrots, coarsely grated

Frosting

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 lb. cream cheese, softened

1 T. vanilla extract

2 c. powdered sugar

To make cake:

Preheat oven to 325.

Grease and flour two round cake pans.

Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed for about 5 minutes. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients until just moistened. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for about 1 hour, until springy and golden. (I inserted a knife in the center and removed them when it came out clean.) Let cakes cool on rack for 30 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely.

To make frosting:

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at high speed until light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat the frosting until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Invert one cake layer onto cake platter and spread with about a cup of the frosting. Top with the second layer. Spread the top and side of the cake with the remaining frosting and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Slice and enjoy. :)

Makes about 10-12 servings.

2 comments:

Dragon said...

Gorgeous cake!

Iva said...

carrot cake it my favorite! actually, keep the cake and just give me the icing lol Happy Friday! Have a great sunny weekend!