Carrot Cake

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I made this cake a couple weeks ago for a friend’s birthday. When I asked her to name her favorite cake flavors she began listing a couple; rum, spice, and carrot cake. I personally am not the biggest fan of rum or spice cake (obviously because I love sweet things) so I decided to go with carrot because it’s easy to make and always turns out delicious. I prefer my carrot cake to be simple, without raisins, nuts, or pineapples. However, Emily (the birthday girl) is the complete opposite from me, preferring all of these mix-ins. I found a recipe from The Pastry Queen containing a carrot cake with coconut, pineapple, and nuts. I figured Emily is the type of person who likes a lot of ingredients so the more the better (I also added raisins). I also busted out some of my old decorating tips and although I am quite rusty I would like to think that my cake turned out pretty decent. Also this was my first time doing the basket weave (using frosting to create a basket design)it turned out well, although the lines were a bit crooked. My roses on the other hand looked like they were dead….or even not noises, some type of other flower. I had a lot of fun making the cake even though I spent 4 hours decorating it and was exhausted! Physics and baking sure do make you tired!

Carrot Cake
1 cup macadamia nuts (I used walnuts)
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
4 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
1-1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots
1-1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple or drained crush canned pineapple (this is one 20 oz. can)
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez

Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup heaving whipping cream
1/4 cup sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
1/2 tsp salt

To Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool.

Place one oven rack one-third from the bottom of the oven and the second two-thirds from the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds, grease with butter, and dust with flour (or spray with Baker’s Joy).

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, and nuts in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, oil, carrots, pineapple, and cream of coconut. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Set 2 layers on one rack and the third on the other. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cakes are done when they are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on racks for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the racks and cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To Make the Frosting:
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute. Add the whipping cream, cream of coconut, and salt; beat until combined.

Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread a thick blanket of frosting on top. Add the second layer, spread thickly with frosting, and top with the third layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with an even layer of frosting. If you’re feeling energetic and there is frosting left over, use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to pipe a decoration around the top rim of the cake.

The cake can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 days. Let it cool in the refrigerator about 1 hour before covering, to ensure the frosting has hardened and will not stick to the plastic wrap.

Yield: 12-14 Servings.

Grade: B+
Honestly I prefer my carrot cakes without any types of additional ingredients and the coconut frosting was a little bit too coconut-y for me. I do not think I will make any more coconut cream cheese frostings unless someone specifically requests it but it did complement the cake very well. Overall, I did enjoy it, but I mean I can never turn away anything with sugar in it. However, the important thing was that Emily loved the cake.

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