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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD: Bill's Big Carrot Cake Recipe


So, first off - Happy Earth Day to all! I hope you have a beautiful day!

Let me start off my review of Bill's Big Carrot Cake for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie by saying that I fiddled with it, and therefore I'm fairly certain that the major sinkage of my cupcakes was my own fault. I overfilled (again) and I changed the recipe, probably too much. I just didn't have anything to put in (raisins, craisins, whateve') and didn't feel like coconut. So, there you go. Full disclosure and all that. Big crater cupcakes.

My point? This cake still rocks. It was heavenly and I will definately make it again. Really the only reason I didn't make the huge cake was because I knew there was no way we (being me and me) could eat the whole thing. So, first off, I halved the recipe and made cupcakes. I topped them off with the cream cheese frosting, but this time around I replaced the lemon with maple extract and vanilla extract. Did I mention that the flavors absolutely rocked - and honestly, when you can fill the crater on the top of the cupcake with a maple/vanilla cream cheese frosting, is sinkage really still such a bad thing? Yeah, I didn't think so either. So, the original recipe is down below, with my additions/changes as noted.

So, yet another winner from Dorie. Thank you to Amanda of Slow Like Honey for choosing a recipe that I probably wouldn't have gotten around to for a long time (if ever) and helping remind me that it is good to go outside what you normally think of as your favorites - you never know when you'll find a new favorite!

Now, if you are like me, and can't wait to see what all the other TWDer's have "baked fresh" this week, then go check it out!

A couple of more housekeeping items from me before I get on to the recipe. Yesterday marked the end of the entry period for the Blogging for Babies Event, so make sure to check back later this week for the round-up and voting!

Last note (I promise) - don't forget to send in your Art You Eat entry. I couldn't pass up Earth Day without reiterating the theme of Go Local! this time around.

OK, now I'll get on with it.


Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yields 10 servings


For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I added this)
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (I went with walnuts)
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) (I left these out)
½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries (I left these out)
2 cups sugar (I used half light brown sugar)
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (or 3 ¾ cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract (I substituted 1/2 teaspoon maple extract and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract for a light maple flavor)
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional) (I just sprinkled a little ground cinnamon)

Getting ready:
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. (Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners).

To make the cake:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon (ginger, if using) and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins (again, I left out the 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 (or the cupcake liners - about half full).

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. (I baked the cupcakes about 20 minutes). 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.

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 (vanilla and maple are what I used). 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.

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.


Make sure to check out all the other creations made
by the fabulous group at Tuesdays with Dorie.


Engineer Baker said...

Maple cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake?! Must. Do. Now.

Mary Ann said...

they looks great and all the substitutions sound delicious!

slush said...

Mine sank a little in the middle too, and I did not fiddle... They look fab anyway babe, and I love the sounds of the maple!! Great job!

LyB said...

They look lovely! Delicious icing always hides flaws!

Steph said...

I wanted to know if it would work as cupcakes, I will definitely be making these now! Who cares about the crater when it's just more space for frosting!!!! Beautiful job!

Jayne said...

Maple!! What a great idea. Beautiful job!

Anonymous said...

Happy Earth Day!

I noticed a March of Dimes March for Babies event going on last weekend while I was at the park, so I just wanted to say that I really hope you made your goal.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, maple.

CB said...

Maple cream cheese? Mmmm... sounds divine! I got sinkage too. It might be a cupcake thing- not enough leavening in each cupcake to support? ah well. Nothing a dollop of frosting won't fix right? ;) Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your cupcakes look so pretty with the sprinkled icing. Sinkage? I know nothing of sinkage... ;)

Anonymous said...

All that matters is the taste right. and I completely agree -- I would not have gotten to this recipe on my own for quite awhile. It was a pleasant surprise.

Heather B said...

the maple sounds wonderful! Great job!

Mary said...

oh, they sound delicious...and look great too!

Bumblebutton said...

I doubt the sinkage was from tinkering with the recipe--hardly anyone who made cupcakes (myself included) had a nice domed top! More frosting for you!

Mari said...

Your frosting sounds heavenly!

mimi said...

sinking pot holes or not, your cupcakes look terrific!! the frosting is so pillowy soft, love the idea about maple flavor.

Melissa said...

Great idea with the frosting...yum!

Unknown said...

I added some ginger to mine too (I think I forgot to mention that on my blog, whoops) It seemed like a good fit with the other flavors. The maple sounds good, I'll have to try that sometime!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

maple vanilla frosting sounds perfect for this. and hey--you can't even tell there's a crater--looks great!

Annemarie said...

You covered up any flaws beautifully! They look yummy!

Unknown said...

How lovely! I had sinkage (and seepage) with my mini carrot cupcakes. Next time I'll try the standard size ones and try your frosting variation.

Shari said...

The sinkage just makes room for more icing. Yum. I love your sprinkles on top.

Peabody said...

Oh yum,yum on the maple idea! I bet that was soooo good.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Maple vanilla frosting? Yum! So many people got sinkage, you were not alone! These look very cute, great job!

Tempered Woman said...

The sinkage wasn't from your leaving things out or tinkerin as everyone has mentioned. I used this recipe for Easter cupcakes and had to revamp the recipe quite a bit. Need more leavening and liquid to get individual rise. Love the maple syrup idea! Very smart.

Anonymous said...

What a cute little army of cupcakes!

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