Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Carrot Cake

So our house has two birthdays back-to-back. Last week was my husband's birthday. He requested a carrot cake for his party. I had never made one before - and actually don't like them much - so again, I had to ask around on the cooking forums for the 'best' recipe. I kept finding the same one - from Cooks Illustrated. I figured I couldn't go wrong with it so I tried it out.

There were are few minor mishaps with the cake. I sliced my finger open on the grater when I tried to clean up. I was not feeling well, so my husband tried to help out by making the cream cheese frosting - well I walked in just in time to stop him from adding 2 1/2 cups of flour to the bowl (he was reading the cake recipe). Then last, but not least, I do not have a cake carrier so he offered to 'fashion a carrying device.' I said yes -please do! Well he made a wonderful creation of bowl, plate and a lot of tape. It even had a handle. The handle however could not stand up to the weight of the cake. It broke as we were walking in the door to the party and the cake landed on its side and rolled over. This is the finished product after re-frosting it. Sad, but delicious.

If you are looking for a basic carrot cake recipe this one was perfect. Dense, moist and the icing was just right. I will definitely make it again!

I made a few changes/adjustments to the original recipe.
-The recipe as I found it was for cupcakes, but I used two 8 inch square pans and baked them for 40 minutes.
-I did not have enough oil, so I only used a little over 1 cup of oil instead of 1 1/2 cups and it turned out just fine.
-I doubled the frosting recipe and had a little left over.
-I left out the cloves because I don't like cloves.

Simple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
From: Cooks Illustrated

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp table salt
1 lb. 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 cup vegetable oil , safflower oil, or canola oil

8 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 Tbsp unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your pan(s) with nonstick baking spray with flour.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.

In food processor fitted with large shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.

Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.

Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand 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, about 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.
Mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.

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