Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD: Bill's Big Carrot Cake


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.

47 comments:

Amy said...

Yum, looks delicious! Great Job.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I like the double-decker cupcake action!

Magnolia Wedding Planner said...

It's a great idea to do them with a double layer. They really look delicious and thanks also for the storage tip..I'm always in doubt..and at the end I eat them all together :-P
Silvia

Cookie baker Lynn said...

These look gorgeous. I love how fluffy the frosting is.

LyB said...

I love the idea of adding even more frosting to your cupcakes, they look incredible!

Megan said...

What a cute idea to do a 2-layer cupcake - I'd like to try that too!

Amy W said...

Love your cupcakes!

Marie said...

Mmm.....your pictures have me craving this all over again! Well done!

winedeb said...

Cakes sound divine! But...how cool is the presentation! Baby layered cakes! Nice job!

Jayne said...

I love the layered cupcake!

Sarah said...

Your cupcakes look awesome! Glad you liked the idea of making them into cupcakes...I need to try making them layered next time like you did...more icing, yum!!

VeggieGirl said...

Ashley, once again, you've done a sensational job on a TWD challenge - LOVE the double-decker variety!! So glad that it was delicious too :0)

Engineer Baker said...

So cute! I love the date idea.

slush said...

I love the layered cupcake! Too freakin cute. Lovely photos too. Fab job!

Annemarie said...

Nice job! I love the idea of making these mini!

CB said...

aawww your cupcake layers are too cute! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Mary said...

they look wonderful! the toasted coconut on top really looks great!

Melissa said...

I love that you layered the mini cupcakes!

Erin said...

Looks great! I love the double layer cupcake. It's a great way to get in some extra frosting!

Kevin said...

Those carrot cake cupcakes and mini layer cakes look really good!

chelley325 said...

Great photos! Looks wonderful!

Gigi said...

The double layer cupcakes are adorable! Great job!

Lisa said...

Your presentation is first class! Less sugar would not make these less of a treat in the least.

CupcakeLady said...

Your cupcakes looked like they turned out really well. I will have to try that recipe!

Rebecca said...

How cute! If ever a cupcake recipe could be "healthified," I think this is it. Tear it up!

Vegetation said...

Mmm yum, carrot cake is one of my favourites! I love the idea of the double decker cupcake!

Johanna said...

these look delish and oh so cute - I haven't made carrot cake in ages but this makes me feel it has been too long!

Grace said...

layered cupcakes means more surface area for cream cheese icing, which means i find this version of carrot cake even more irresistible. cute idea! :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Do you take orders? from the UK?? ;-)

Sarah said...

These are so great! I love tiny little cakes...I think my mini cupcake pan is my favorite piece of bakeware! Mmmm...now I want carrot cake. Not fair! :)

ThePeachTree said...

well eat me delicious!!

Jess said...

Love the double layers! I'm glad to see your mini cupcakes turned out so well (mine, not so well). I might try with half white whole wheat flour next time to "healthify" it.

Shari said...

I love the mini layered version!

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love the idea of making them as cupcakes. Lovely!

Wheeler's Frozen Dessert said...

Oh wow, those look so good! I agree, the double layers are awesome.

Gretchen Noelle said...

What adorable two layer cupcakes! Love the coconut topping. Great job - even for being busy!

Jaime said...

your cupcakes look perfect! :) seems we all have our own favorite carrot cake recipe huh? :)

ovenhaven said...

I love the first photo! I've never tried carrot cake before, since I don't eat cheese, but I know a lot of my friends who would die for a piece of that cupcake right now ;)

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

My mom(in Law) is coming to visit this weekend and she LOVES carrot cake. I think this little cupcakes will sore me some Brownie points.Lovely!

Peabody said...

Yeah, that is why I made a less sweet frosting, I didn't want to take away from the cake. Your cupcakes look very adorable.

Dolores said...

I LOVE your little layered cupcakes... what a creative approach to this week's assignment.

Donna said...

WOW! Great looking cakes! I want one, mine is all gone!

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

dear eat me delicious
thanks for passing by my blog...it gave me an opportunity to look at your blog and an i am happy i found you...there is whole new horizon, where i can pick and learn lot of new things.i loved this carrot cake and the visual display is very good and content easy to understand.WELL DONE !

Hannah said...

How cute! They look like wonderful little bites of carrot-y goodness.

eatme_delicious said...

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments. :)

Tei said...

nice layered cupcakes! sooo cute ;p thanks for sharing a yummy recipe.

Clare and Gary said...

Thanks Ashley, that looks just the ticket, I'm going to try this week on my friend!