Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn
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This cake is what did me in.
I have spent the last 6 weeks eating like a 15 year old with 34-year-old problems. Last Friday I spied this cake during my usual morning coffee and yogurt (I’m going to eat Halloween candy in an hour) routine and I had to have it. My mouth watered.
I have been telling myself for weeks to get it together. Every centimeter tighter that my yoga pants got, I knew there was a problem that was getting deeper and deeper. Life comes in waves, as does my issues with emotional eating.
But this CAKE. Just look at it!
Turns out, this cake was just what I needed to take myself over the edge. With every slice, my yoga kicked in and my brain came out of hibernation. It went from “This is delicious!” to “This is delicious but the next time you make a whole cake for two people I’m going to hop out of this skull and slap you.” Awareness is a beautiful thing. Unfortunately it sometimes comes a few days too late.
Personal issues aside, this cake is amazing and will do everything you need it to as evidenced above. I’ve never attempted carrot cake and it turns out that it’s the easiest thing in the world.
I mixed everything by hand sans the icing.
Speaking of… Seems like a lot of powdered sugar right? Well it is. The icing is great but I wanted more of it with not much more sugar. P tested the recipe doubling the cream cheese and he said it was perfection.
* IMPORTANT Chill cake in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to set the icing and not jack up your cake presentation.
* The cake will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. It can also be frozen is wrapped right for up to 2 months but whose will last that long!?
* I buttered and floured the pans liberally. It still stuck. Line with parchment paper if it’s a huge concern. Which – it will be for me next time.
* As you can tell from the pictures, I had to cook on the grill because my oven pooped out on me. Keeping a consistent temp on the grill works!
* For a fancier presentation, do three layers!
For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (you can grate the carrots in a food processor fitted with a shredding blade)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup canola or safflower oil
4 large eggs
For the Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioners
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut, optional
Toasted finely chopped nuts and/or toasted coconut, for topping, optional
Preheat the oven to 325. Butter and flour two 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess.
* Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins.
* In a large bowl whisk the sugar and oil together until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. If you are working in a mixer, reduce the speed to low, if you’re working by hand switch to a large rubber spatula, and gently stir in the flour mixture — mix only until the dry ingredients disappear. Just as gently, stir in the chunky ingredients.
* Divide the batter among the baking pans and slide the pans into the oven.
* Bake the cakes for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The cakes are baked when an inserted knife (or in my case a chopstick!) comes out clean; the cakes will just start to come away from the edges.
* Transfer the pans to cooling racks, cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool to room temperature. (At this point, the cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; thaw before frosting.)
* Working with a mixer, 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 don’t want lemon, use vanilla, it’s fine.
* If you’d like to have coconut in the filling, scoop out about 1/2 of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.
Putting it all together
* To frost the cake, place one layer of the cake, right-side up, on a cardboard round or a cake plate. If you’ve added coconut to the frosting, use the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer.
* 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 top-side down. Frost with the remainder of the frosting. Finish the top layer with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle on these ingredients now, while the frosting is soft.