Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

I can't believe I am saying this but I feel like I have made too many cakes over the last few months...go ahead and gasp in unison with me. The baker claiming she has made too made cakes. No, hell has not frozen over. Yet...
I never used to bake many cakes, instead I typically received my fair share of savory and healthy requests, breads, quiches, and whatnot. But since I've been living out east, I average at least one cake per month (many times more). My most recent addition to the baking cupboard - a new version of Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting.
I have previously conquered carrot cake muffins and carrot cake squares with great success, but found myself hesitant to repeat myself once I received another birthday baking request. Instead I opted for some online research and decided to see how I would do with modifying a cupcake recipe into a cake recipe (so far so good!).  The original recipe made more cupcakes than I had expected, so I was delightfully surprised when I was able to make a two-layer cake AND a dozen cupcakes from the same batter recipe. Score! Everyone who had a piece was raving about it. Bonus points for using garden fresh carrots!
And for those of you who haven't had their Bert fix for the month yet...here you go. He's pretty much telling me to put down the oven mits and love on him some. Or feed him. It's about the same in Bert-landia. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake (plus cupcakes!) with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
Adapted from: Baked In
  • 1 pound of carrots
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp (or a pinch) allspice
  • Pinch of ground clove
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk plus 1 tsp vinegar (or you can use buttermilk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp maple flavor
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup raisins

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅛ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp maple flavoring
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line one muffin pan with paper liners and set aside. Also prepare two 9" cake pans (butter, parchment, butter, flour is the best method). 

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl and set aside.

Peel the carrots, and finely grate them (food processor all the way for this!). Place the grated carrots in a large bowl.

Add the eggs, milk with vinegar, vanilla, maple flavoring, sugar, oil and lemon juice with the carrots and whisk until thoroughly combined.

Gently stir the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

Next mix in the pecans and raisins. Again, be cautious not to overmix. 

Scoop batter evenly into prepared liners, filling each ⅔ full. Evenly separate the remaining batter between the two 9" bake pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If baking all the pans together at once, make sure to rotate out positions in the oven and racks so as not to burn/undercook/etc. Cool for five minutes in pans, then remove to racks to cool completely.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add the butter and beat until well-incorporated and fluffy, another two minutes. Beat in the brown sugar, vanilla, maple flavoring, and cinnamon. Add the powdered sugar a few tablespoons at a time until desired consistency is reached (3-4 cups total). Beat for an additional two minutes. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes (if spreading rather than piping, you can halve the frosting recipe).

Decorate as you see fit! Making candied carrot curls is a really stellar way to go. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer & Wish List

Summer is here! Well, if you live anywhere other than western NC at least, as it apparently is flooding and raining like monsoon season here. Fourth of July was so wet that we can't set off fireworks. Word on the street is that our area of the state received all of its July precipitation in just 5 days. Blah, whatever. Fireworks are overrated (not really, I missed them terribly this year). I'll just burn something in the oven and act like I'm setting off a few bottle rockets.
So yeah, it's summer. Which means I haven't been baking as much of late. Haven't really been cooking much of late, actually. One big cake order (recipe to follow soon) and a few minor baked goods, but this chef has been slacking. Big time! Who can blame me when it looks like this here?! (minus the recent downpour)
All of this sunshine and warmish weather has me planning out my baking schedule and dreaming up a wishlist of recipes to try. With a few wedding cakes to make in August as well as the heat of the summer hitting, I have this month to tinker around and see what I can get out of my adult style easy bake oven. After looking over the list below, I can definitely see a chocolate and orange theme emerging...

Check back soon for the cookies and cream cake recipe! Twas a big hit!