Saturday, April 5, 2008

Who Put Carrots in my Cake?

After making and decorating my cake for the daring baker challenge last month I got a little bug and decided I really wanted to make some more cakes and/or cupcakes just so that I could decorate them. I had a 50% off coupon for Michael's craft store so I went and bought myself a Wilton cake decorating tool caddy that is packed full of tips, pastry bags and goodies. No matter what, I was determined to bake something this weekend that I could decorate.

Last night I found out that we were getting together to celebrate my father-in-laws birthday. I pretty much begged my mother-in-law to let me make a cake. She said she was going to make a carrot cake but she would gladly had the responsibility over to me, so of course I jumped at the chance. Because, well, I don't have a carrot cake in my blog yet and it would give me a chance to bake and decorate, SCORE! :)

I was debating between using the Cook's Illustrated recipe and
The Joy of Baking recipe but decided to go with the Cook's Illustrated because I already had the cookbook (Baking Illustrated) and my lazy self would not have to print out the recipe. :)

Once again Cook's Illustrated did not let me down, this was an amazing cake and it got rave reviews from the in-laws. I even heard "this is the best carrot cake I have ever had". If you decide to make the layer cake instead of the 9 x 13 I would recommend making more cream cheese frosting than the recipe calls for. I doubled it and had some left so I think if you were to make it 1.5 times it would be perfect.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Source: Baking Illustrated, by Cooks Illustrated

If you like nuts in your cake, stir 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans or walnuts into the batter along with the carrots. Raisins are also a good addition; 1 cup can be added along with the carrots. If you add both nuts and raisins, the cake will need an additional 10 to 12 minutes in the oven. Below are instructions for using a hand-held or standing mixer.

Carrot Cake
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 pound medium carrots (6 to 7 carrots), peeled
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil , safflower oil, or canola oil

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 ounces)

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 by 9-inch baking pan (or 2, 9" round cake pans) with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment and spray parchment.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
3. In food processor fitted with large shredding disk (see below for mixer method), shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. Wipe out food processor workbowl and fit with metal blade. Process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into medium bowl. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.
4. For the frosting (See below for mixer method): When cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners' sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.
5. Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter. Using icing spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of cake. Cut into squares and serve. (Cover leftovers and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)


Anonymous said...

Your cake looks fabulous! Great job decorating and carrot making!

Anonymous said...

Amber! This looks BEAUTIFUL! I don't know what you were talking about with carrots and poo, but they look just great! Love it!

Anonymous said...

It looks really good! You did a great job with the decorating.

Jessica said...

It looks great! I love the nuts along the bottom :)

Jeanine - The Baking Beauties said...

What a beautiful carrot cake! I made one just yesterday, or I would have tried this recipe. Maybe next time. Yours sure looks yummier than mine though! Great job on decorating it!

Anonymous said...

You know, carrots and cake was something I could never quite "digest" in my mind, but after reading this, I just may give it a try after all! Thanks!

That Girl said...

I love carrot cake - and I especially love your carrot decorations!

Carrie said...

I love carrot cake, looks amazing!

bellalately said...

This looks so cute! I love the whole pecans pressed in as a decorative element.

I've tried the crushed walnuts, but it's too nutty! Those pecans are perfect!

Deborah said...

Your cake looks beautiful!

Anonymous said...

It looks fabulous! Great job on the decorating. Have fun with your new Wilton toys!!!

The Gladd's said...

This looks awesome! I love the way you decorated it. I signed up to take the Wilton classes, but maybe I should just buy the tools you got... :)

Cassi said...

Looks good! Wish I could have tasted it.... MMMMMM

Recipie is WAY to long though, I don't think I would ever attempt to make it.

Deborah said...

For me, carrot cake is just a vehicle to eat gobs of cream cheese frosting. Beautiful cake btw, I love the decoration. :)

Anonymous said...

I *love* the nuts bordering your cake. They give it that extra extra special something. Absolutely beautiful!

PG said...

Nice looking cake! I just make a carrot cake and I'm writing up my post now. I'm going to link to different carrot cake posts/recipes, so I'll add yours in there.

RecipeGirl said...

It's darling!

And you can ALWAYS trust a CI recipe :)

Robin said...

Looks delicious and you did a fantastic job decorating it :-)

Sarah said...

Your cake is too cute! I love the little carrots!

I love your blog so I have nominated you for the Blogging with a Purpose award--Check it out...

Melanie said...

Fun to see this post - I made this exact recipe for Easter and got the same wonderful reactions from family. It is the best carrot cake ever! And yours is much more cutely decorated than mine. Looks great!

Anonymous said...

You done a great job. I like your cake very much for carrot.

queen of everything said...

what a beautiful cake, and i bet it tasted wonderful too.

Jaime said...

what a cute cake! you've got some great cake decorating skills :) you must try the pastry queen carrot cake recipe in my blog though :) it's the best!!

Silber kaufen said...

Looks good! Wish I could have tasted it. yam yam

Liz said...

I have made this cake several times and it IS delicious! It will also stand alone (yes, without frosting) very well. And, it's easy.

The best carrot cake, ever.