Sunday, April 20, 2008
Bill's Big Carrot Cake - Tuesdays with Dorie
Cake for me and carrots for China Bunny. This was a delightful cake to make, easy to prepare and yummy gooey to frost. I got all the prelim. stuff ready last night, including grating the 9 carrots with a hand grater. When I got home this evening my cake was a breeze to make.
I wasn't too keen on the idea of baking at different levels in the oven but my newest cook book* arrived this afternoon which recommended baking 2 layers at the same middle level and putting the third to wait in the refrigerator. Apparently if you use regular baking powder, which contains sodium aluminum sulfate, the "waiting" cake will still rise nicely as the baking powder responds to heat, not so much to moisture.
Can't wait for 11 o'clock coffee tomorrow morning to munch into luscious carrot cake.
Recipe for Bill's Big Carrot Cake
FOR THE CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 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 or safflower oil
4 large eggs
GETTING READY: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter three 9-x-2inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess. Put two pans on baking sheet and one on another.
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Whisk together 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 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 in the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40 to 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 cooking 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. (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 the stand mixer, preferably fitted with 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 out about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:Put one layer top side up on a cardboark 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 generoudly cover the first layer (or cover generously 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 top side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting (or more plain frosting). Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top-and the sides, if you want-of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or cocomut, sprinkle them on now, while the frosting is soft.
Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
*This wise and wonderful new cook book is "Sky High - Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes" by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne.