This week, Amanda of slow like honey chose Bill's Big Carrot Cake for the TWD challenge. I've definitely eyed this cake on more than one occasion. Sarah said she was going to make cupcakes, instead of the 3 layer cake it was intended to be. This sounded perfect to me because then I could easily half it, plus I finally got to use my mini muffin pan!
The cake was easy to make, and oh so very delicious. The first day I tried it I thought it was good but not outstanding. But the next day and even a few days later, oh wow it tasted even better. This is an incredibly tasty carrot cake, and a definite competitor for the previous favourite, which has pineapple and dates. I think there's a bit too much sugar in the icing though for me, because I could taste the icing sugar and it detracted from the yummy cream cheese flavour.
I'd really like to try healthifying (yes that is not a word) this cake. It's so moist and flavourful I'm sure it could handle some playing around with (whole wheat flour, applesauce, less sugar - my usual tactic).
I wanted to thank the TWD members for inspiring me to make the time to do fun things like bake from Dorie's beautiful cookbook. I get really busy with school and life (as we all do) and I feel like I don't have time to take part. But then I see others who are busy, tired and what not and they're making the time. Why should I miss out on the fun? Go check out the other TWDers and see how their cakes turned out!
Other TWD Challenges I've done:
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Russian Grandmother's Apple Pie-Cake
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Orange Berry Muffins
Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Yields 10 servings
(When halved, makes 24 mini and 3 regular size cupcakes)
For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)*
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups 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 and 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut
To make the cake:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325F. 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.
Whisk 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 fitted with a paddle attachment, 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.
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. 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 fitted with a paddle attachment, 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.
If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.
To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cake plate. 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.
*I did half sweetened, half unsweetened.