Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carrot Cake

by Made (blog)

2 - 4 carrots

1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup lowfat milk mixed with 2 tsp vinegar)

Heat the oven to 350º (turn it to 325º if using a non-stick pan or a glass pan).
Grease a 13x9 pan (or 2 to 3 round pans)

Grate 2 - 4 carrots. Measure 2 cups of loosely-packed carrots (don't cram the carrots into the measuring cup) and set them aside.

Prep your "buttermilk". If you ever have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, you can create an easy substitute by mixing 1 cup of milk with 2 tsp vinegar. Mix and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a large bowl beat the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla together until light, about two minutes.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the creamed mixture. Beat for another two minutes. Stir in the carrots.

Pour into a 9x13 pan and Bake for 33 - 40 minutes or just until the center springs back when lightly touched. Cool on a wire rack before frosting.

For a layered cake:
Grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Cut three 9-inch circles of waxed paper and place in bottom of each pan. Pour evenly into the three pans. Bake at 350º for 18 - 25 minutes or just until done. Place pans on wire racks and cool for 20 minutes.

For mini Cupcakes:
Prepare recipe above, use candy-cup wrappers for cupcake holders (found in the candy making aisle at Michaels and other craft stores), and pour appx 1 Tbls of batter into each cup. Bake 7-9 minutes.

Since my little helpers are usually too antsy to wait for the cake to get out of the oven, I usually bake a few mini-cupcakes first. Immediate returns. All you need is one tablespoon of batter (and a steadier hand than me, spilling everywhere while trying to take a picture)
Bake them for 7-10 minutes, cool, and snack away.

(for a Layered Cake, double the recipe)

4 ounces Cream Cheese (Lite Cream Cheese or Neufchatel room temperature)
1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla
2 - 3 cups powdered sugar

Cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and enough milk to make a creamy, spreadable frosting.
And, you're done!

Make sure it tastes okay.

And once your cake has cooled, we're ready to frost. I'll be making a layered cake but I didn't have 3 round pans, so I chose to bake the cake in a jelly roll pan (fancy word for a really nice cookie sheet). I usually place my cake in the freezer for 10 minutes or so, so that it's nice and firm for frosting.

I cut out a circle on paper and used it to cut three circles from the cake. This method leaves a lot of excess cake. But it's perfect for snacking on later.
Find a pretty serving platter. Place the first layer of the cake down and start spreading the frosting. Be liberal with your frosting. There's no point in having cake if there isn't a lot of frosting.
Put the second layer on top of that, more frosting on top, and repeat.

Then take your knife and frost all the way around the outside of the cake. There are tons of methods out there for making your cake pretty on the outside. If I'm really feeling ambitious, I frost the outside of the cake (which usually gets bits of cake stuck in the frosting. Not too pretty), then I place it in the fridge for an hour, then I frost another layer around the outside to disguise the first layer.