TWD #9 What’s up Doc…errr… Dorie?
I admit right off the bat that I am not a fan of carrot cake. I do not think that vegetables should be in cake. The one experience I’ve had with carrot cake did not taste good. I realize that “carrot” is in the title but I didn’t dig the carrot-y taste! So I was a little weary of this recipe…
Ironically carrots are one of my favorite veggies. But please don’t cook them! It must be a texture thing b/c I hate smooshy carrots. Maybe it stems from my childhood watching Bugs Bunny talking and crunching on a crispy carrot that always had a great snap with every bite. I am pretty sure I owe this witty cartoon character my love of carrots.
There are no shortage of carrots in my house for 2 reasons: my Bugs Bunny syndrome (mentioned above) and dinner for my 2 bunnies. I buy baby carrots in the Costco bulk pack! A myth about bunnies is that carrots are part of their main diet. That is semi-true. Carrots are a great source of Vitamin A but they are also sweet so I call them “bunny candy”. For that reason I try not to give carrots to my bunnies in big amounts. Since they are “treats” for my bunnies, when Opiebun hears the frig open and sees the “carrot bag” come out she goes nuts! But after a couple minutes of waiting and realizing that she wasn’t getting any carrots b/c it was going in the food processor grater, she sat there, glaring at me sulking. For some reason I don’t think she understood my explanation about carrot cake. All she knew was she wasn’t getting any! The rest of the night I got nothing but the cold shoulder. Animals hold grudges much? Oh yes… yes they do. LOL.
What I learned this week:
1. Don’t make my color combination mistake. red (not green) + yellow=orange! I guess I am not smarter than a 5th grader! LOL.
2. Try to remember that filling a cupcake liner more than 2/3 full to indulge my no batter left behind zealous-ness could have less than attractive results. Wanna see?
Bill’s Big Carrot Cupcake
(Recipe from DG Baking: From my home to yours pages 253-255 | photos from me!)
Makes about 24 cupcakes
For the cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
[NOTES: Dorie doesn't mention in the book but I used 3 cups grated carrots, loosely packed]
For the frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound or 3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
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 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up
[NOTES: Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake cupcakes for 20-25 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.]
The cakes 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—
Put one layer top side up 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 first 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 with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, 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.
To assemble cupcakes—
Fill a piping bag with frosting and using a 1M piping tip, frost the cupcake. Sprinkle with orange food-colored coconut for garnish.
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.
Husband rating: A+
He raved about how well the walnuts, coconut and craisins tasted together and ate more than 1!
Wifey rating: A
I do not like carrot cake but I can’t believe how much I liked this recipe. I admit to licking my batter-fingers more than once. haha. Maybe I am not the carrot cake hater that I originally thought I was?
Other rating: A+
I brought some cupcakes to work and all my coworkers, even one CW that considers herself the carrot cake connoisseur, raved about using craisins. I had more than one person ask me for the recipe!
Next week: Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake pages 200-201
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