Tuesday, April 22, 2008

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Tuesdays With Dorie: Carrot Cake

What can I say? I love carrot cake. I was introduced to it at an early age because carrot cake is my dad's favorite cake. Alex has always been apprehensive about carrot cake because he doesn't like shredded things like shredded coconut. The texture bothers him. Something about it is grainy to him. I was hoping that this week's selection by Amanda of Slow Like Honey would be just the recipe to convince Alex that shredded things were actually good when used in the right recipe.

I halved the recipe because it would have been too much for the two of us to eat. The cake was delicious. I knew it would be good because the batter was good (yes, I eat batter and I'm not ashamed!). My only gripe was the addition of the lemon juice/extract to the frosting. In my opinion, carrot cake is best with a frosting that tastes
strongly of cream cheese. The lemon juice/extract overpowered the cream cheese taste. I was pleasantly surprised to taste that the cake had a rich enough flavor to downplay the lemon taste in the frosting. If you want to see the original recipe I recommend going to the Tuesday's With Dorie website and checking out all the great blogs.

Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1⁄4 and 1/8 tsp salt
1.5 cups grated carrots (I used about 20 baby carrots)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1⁄4 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries (I omitted)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 stick (4 Tbsps) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 pound or 1 3⁄4 cups plus 1/8 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or 1⁄4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1⁄2 cup shredded coconut (optional) (I omitted)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter one 9-x-2-inch round cake pan, flour the insides, and tap out the excess.

To make the cake:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for about 30 minutes, until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake will have just started to come away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cake and unmold it. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cake can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake
Using a serrated knife cut the cake in half and put the top layer on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the bottom layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top the bottom layer with the top layer, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it's good plain, it's even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it's firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

Pretty little cake

Yummy little slice

This picture reminds me of Pac Man so I had to share


Mevrouw Cupcake said...

So, was he convinced? Your cake looks lovely, so I can't imagine, he could resist! ;-)

LyB said...

I wish I'd halved the recipe, only because it was so good I ate too much! Your cake looks lovely and delicious!

Chris said...

Love the pac man pic. This time, this pac-man would be gobbled up fast and furious! (Love the plate!)

Annemarie said...

Your cake looks really good and I love the pac man pic!

CB said...

Lovely cake! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Jayne said...

I love the pacman cake! :)

Melissa said...

I eat batter too...shame on us :)

Gretchen Noelle said...

Wonderful! I adore the fact that you eat cake batter as well. Lovely cake!

Mary said...

your cake looks beautiful....and i love the plates!

Erin said...

Lovely cake! I love the pac man picture! I eat batter as well- sometimes that's my favorite part of baking :)

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Tasting the batter is soooooo necessary. Good for the immune system, too. Builds tolerance. ;)


Bumblebutton said...

The lemon cut the powdered sugar taste, don't you think? I'm going to have to read more of your blog--I live in Boston too, and am wondering why you would ever leave!

Dolores said...

Yep, I'm a batter-eater too. :)

cruisingkitty said...

Pac Man would be proud! Very nice cake!

Zakia / The Frosted Bake Shop said...

your cake looks great! i love the pac man reference.