Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD-Bill's Big Carrot Cake

This week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe was chosen by Amanda over at slow like honey-Bill's Big Carrot Cake. Baking cakes is one of my favorite things to do. This cake smelled amazing and was a cinch to throw together. The recipe calls for three 9-inch layers, but that is alot of cake, so I made one 6-inch round for my brother at college (carrot cake is his ultimate fave!), one 8-inch round for us and 10 cupcakes because we were taking someone dinner. So it worked out perfect and we didn't have any leftover.

I went for the pecan-dried cranberries option in the cake and thought that it looked so pretty mixed with the carrots and coconut! I also added the zest of 1 lemon to this mixture before I mixed it into the batter.

I knew ahead of time from other TWDer's that the cupcakes would sink so I kept them upside down. My other cakes sank a little too, but the bottoms were beautiful so I iced them upside down.

My brother's personal 6 inch carrot cake with his initial in Craisins

This frosting came together beautifully I added the zest of 1 lemon to the frosting as well. What can I say, I love zesting citrus fruits! This cake turned out great and was delicious!

Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yields 10 servings
For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
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 ¾ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. 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.

To make the cake:
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, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, 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, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, 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 or extract.
If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. 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.

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it's good plain, it's even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.
The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it's firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight
in the refrigerator.


Sarah said...

Your cakes look great! I did walnuts and raisins, but I want to try it with craisin...good job!

Marie said...

Fabulous looking cakes! I Love the idea of using craisins!

Engineer Baker said...

That looks awesome - great idea to frost them upside down. It sounds like a lot of people had problems with their cakes and cupcakes sinking.

LyB said...

I love the presentation and the addition of lemon zest to the batter is a great idea!

Jaime said...

you're amazing, you bake and cook faster than I try any of the recipies out! I was so wishing you could be here to bake me a cake for my bday! danny finally ordered me one the day of the party and it was decent but not fabulous. see ya soon!!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

The dried cranberries really give it a nice zing of color. Good choice!


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Jayne said...

How pretty they look! And craisins are a great idea. I'll have to try that next time!

Anonymous said...

YUMMY! Your frosting looks extra fluffy, too!

CB said...

I had sinkage too but like you said... nothing some good old frosting can't cure! haha. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

~Kimberly said...

What a cute idea to frost the cupcakes upside down! I'll have to remember that one! i also had sinking issues, but flipping over the cakes worked great for me too! Love how you decorated with the craisins!

Lori said...

Cute decorating idea! It was a lot of cake! Good idea to break it up.

Mary said...

beautiful cake! and great variations.....I bet your brother was very happy!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

The craisins make lovely decorations, your cupcakes look great!

Annemarie said...

Your cakes...all of them...look wonderful! I bet your brother was so happy!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

great variety of cakes! i bet then pecan/cran combo was fab!

Melissa said...

Looks great with the cranberries.

Tammy said...

yum! Your cakes look fab!! I am a later starter as I wanted to make my cake for book club, so will be doing it tonight. I think I will make cupcakes too

Shari said...

Your mini cakes look great, and craisins are a great idea.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of the two layer cake and some cupcakes. Able to share with something to spare!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Very nice. I did small cakes and frosting the bottoms of them as well since they looked so much better than the tops!

Peabody said...

I love the decor...it looks like a sunflower.

cruisingkitty said...

Great Job! I'll have to try craisins the next time!

Dolores said...

I love the colorful approach you took to this one. Craisins and pecans and coconut... yum!