I made: Carrot cake!

Belated hoppy Easter to all!  I am really trying to work on my layer cake skills now that I know I don’t have any.  I looked at a million different carrot cake recipes before settling on this one from King Arthur’s Flour, which is a surprisingly reliable & comprehensive baking recipe resource.

This recipe has two components: the cake and the frosting.  I added a third component, which was the decorative carrot curls on top.

Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease two 9″ cake pans.
  • Beat together 1.5 cups vegetable oil, 2 cups sugar, 1 tsp salt, 4 large eggs, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and 2 tsp baking soda.
  • Stir in 2 cups flour until just blended.  Then stir in 3 cups finely grated carrots and 1.5 cups chopped nuts.  Pour into pans.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes and allow to cool before frosting.

Frosting:

  • Beat together 1/2 cup room temp unsalted butter and 8oz room temp cream cheese until smooth.  Add 1/4 tsp salt and 2 tsp vanilla.
  • Add 2.5-3.5 cups confectioners’ sugar gradually and beat until smooth, add a little bit of milk if it’s too liquidy.  Frost the cake.

Carrot curls (I used this recipe as a guideline):

  • Take about 2 large carrots and cut 15-20 strips using a peeler.
  • Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a saucepan.  Place carrot strips in the water and reduce heat to a simmer, let simmer 15 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Once carrots are done simmering, drain and lay out on a baking sheet (not touching).  Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Working quickly, remove carrots from oven and wrap around a wooden spoon handle to curl.  Allow to sit a few seconds then slip off.
  • Sprinkle with extra sugar if you want, let cool, and then use to decorate as you wish.

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OVERALL:

  • This recipe tasted good and was VERY rich.
  • I did a few things differently from the recipe.  Mainly, I cut the layers in half so that I had four layers instead of just two.  I used a mixture of pecans, walnuts, and hazelnuts because I didn’t have enough of any single nut.
  • I also multiplied the frosting recipe by 1.5 because I figured I needed more due to the increased number of layers.
  • Lastly I made more carrot curls than called for because I figured some of them would look ugly so I’d need more.

NEXT TIME:

  • Okay so this recipe tasted good and looked okay but there are a LOT of things I need to think about or work on.
  • First of all, I had a cake crater AGAIN.  I am getting so frustrated by this.  Both of my cakes had fairly sizeable craters.  It’s a big reason why I cut them in half, because I was kind of worried they weren’t totally cooked and wanted to check.  I have researched and researched and tried multiple solutions and I’m still having this issue.  I’m not giving up yet though.
  • Also, I am very inexperienced at cutting layer cakes in half, as demonstrated by the mess of the middle of the cake pictured below.  I think part of the problem is that it’s tricky to cut cakes with chunks of nuts in them.  I’m going to try just a smooth cake next time.
  • Grating carrots is TERRIBLE.  Next time I would do this in advance, or enlist someone else to do it.
  • I’m getting better at spreading the frosting but still not great.  I want a turntable.
  • The carrot curls didn’t quite work as imagined.  Only a few of them really maintained their curl.  Some of them just snapped completely.  It ended up okay looking but not what I had hoped.

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