Carrots – the star of the show
Summer brings us wonderful fresh produce here in Ontario. Roasting or cooking up a bunch of sweet carrots is a wonderful addition with any meal but baking them into a classic dessert is an even better use of this veg.
Today’s recipe for a moist sweet carrot cake with coconut and walnuts topped with a light Cream Cheese Icing will be a pleasant treat after any meal and an impressive dessert to take along to your next bbq!
This recipe is a perfect size as it bakes up in a 3-inch high 8-inch round cake pan in about 40-45 minutes. You could also use 2 x 8-inch pans or use the larger height pan like I did and split the cake for an extra layer of icing. Remember, if using 2 pans your baking time will be reduced.
Miette baking book is where I found this simple recipe and basically the only change I made was using the flat beater for all steps; Miette uses the whisk attachment for the first step of mixing the eggs, sugar and oil. Miette’s recipe also calls for using currents, walnuts and coconut but I opted for only walnuts and coconut as my add-ins.
I normally don’t add coconut to my baked items but in this cake with the carrots and walnuts it added another layer of flavour that blended together deliciously. You could leave out the cocont and add in some dried currents or some raisins. I toasted an additional 1/4 cup of coconut to sprinkle on top of the iced cake.
If possible pick up some fresh carrots at the farmers market as they truly are sweet and crunchy this time of the year and will make this cakes wonderful flavour just that much brighter.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cake pans and line bottom with parchment paper.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar, and beat on medium speed about 2 minutes until well combined and light in colour. Slow the mixer down, drizzle in the oil and then beat on high speed to emulsify the oi.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture in 3 additions mixing on medium after each until smooth.
Add in the carrots, walnuts and coconut and beat just until combined. Remove from mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl to ensure everything is folded together well.
Scrape into prepared pans and bake on centre rack of oven until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows).
Cream Cheese Icing
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
1-3 tsp. milk or cream
Beat butter and cream cheese together for several miutes until very well blended and smooth. Add in icing sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on low to combine until spreadable consistency. You many need a bit more or less icing sugar and if it’s too stiff beat in a teaspoon or two of milk.
Spread between layers and on top of cake. Garnish with toasted walnuts or coconut.
Refrigerate uneaten portion and bring to room temperature before serving.
Caramel Frosting topped with Caramel Drizzle – Sweetenufblog.com
First comes Caramel sauce, next comes Caramel Frosting (or icing as we call it here in Canada). Well, actually, first comes the sugar and water boiled to a beautiful amber colour and then comes the cream, etc. but believe me you will not be disappointed in this sweet smooth icing and the extra effort to make the caramel from scratch is well worth the time.
Satiny, sweet and full of mellow flavour this sauce is Nirvana!! Set a little aside to drizzle over top whatever you currently have in the works or tuck it away for your next ice cream attack. A big spoonful when your craving something sweet or maybe a little drizzle into your coffee or on top of some fruit. I figure whatever you choose to snack on with Caramel Sauce or even Caramel Icing in the privacy of your own kitchen is your business. Who am I to judge!! You might just make the Caramel sauce again and again even if you don’t need any more icing.
Caramel Frosting (Bake From Scratch Cake Issue 2016)
Makes about 5 cups.
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup whipping cream (35% cream), warmed slightly
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
6 cups icing sugar
In a large saucepan, combine the sugar and 1/2 cup water. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Stop stirring and leave the mixture to cook until it is amber in colour. (Very important to make sure your sugar mixture turns a nice deep amber colour.) If any sugar crystals form on the side of the saucepan use a pastry brush dipped in water to brush down the sides. Remove from heat.
Add in the cold cubed butter and stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture will foam up. Gradually add the cream, vanilla and salt. Stir until mixture is smooth.
Transfer mixture into a medium bowl and place the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water to cool for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Once cool set aside 1/3 cup of the caramel to drizzle on top of your iced cake or cupcakes.
Place cooled caramel in a mixing bowl and add softened butter. Beat on medium speed until combined. Add in icing sugar gradually, beating well after each addition.
Use immediately as icing will harden.
Simply delicious with subtle molasses flavour from the dark brown sugar and a little hint of maple from 3 tablespoons of pure Canadian maple syrup this buttercream is terrific atop a cake or cupcakes and will definitely be the filling in my next macaron foray.
This recipe is from Layered baking book by Tessa Huff. It is full of great recipes for cakes with chapters like ‘Classic Cakes’, ‘Chocolate Cakes’ and ‘Whimsical Cakes’ plus a variety of frostings!
Maple Brown Sugar Buttercream
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons egg whites
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and brown sugar. Place over a double boiler and bring the egg/sugar mixture to 160F, whisking occasionally.
Remove bowl from double boiler and put on stand mixer. Using whisk attachment and on medium-high speed beat the mixture until cool and medium-stiff peaks form. This will take about 10 minutes. (You need to make sure this mixture is cool before adding butter. I waited about 10 minutes before I started whisking my egg mixture to cool it off slightly!)
On a low speed add in the butter in tablespoon increments and the vanilla, mixing well after each addition of butter. This will take about 8-10 minutes. Add in the maple syrup. Increase mixer to high and whip for a minute or two. If mixture looks curdled just keep mixing as it will come together nicely when cool enough.
Note: In Layered they say to switch from whisk to the beater once you begin adding the butter. I find using the whisk attachment works as well through the whole process.