Monday, April 9, 2012

Carrot Carrot Cakes

My eldest daughter saw this picture on Pinterest and wanted to make the same cake for Easter this year.  Since I had been told I was up for desserts, I agreed quickly as I thought it was a cute concept and would be fun and easy to accomplish.

I made the following with items that I had at home and put my own interpretation on the design. I was baking for more than 6-7 people and had to make one with nuts and one without.  Below is a picture of my carrot shaped carrot cakes that went to Easter dinner yesterday.

I started out with a basic carrot cake recipe and made a few alterations. No one wanted raisins, half wanted nuts, no pineapple or coconut either.  Picky group - but I love them and so the requests were honored. To keep the moistness of the recipe, I substituted in applesauce for the pineapple.  To make it a bit more nutritious I used half whole wheat flour and half unbleached all purpose flour.  To make it easy, I used pre-shredded carrots. Looking back though I do prefer to shred my own as I use a finer grate on my carrots which bake into the cake better but if you want quick and easy, pre-shredded still works.

I used the following ingredients to make the white-chocolate cream cheese frosting:

2 ounces white chocolate
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

For the cake I used the recipe below. I've made the adjustments discussed above. I used Penzey's spices and flavorings as I love being able to buy them fresher when I need.  The nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, crystallized ginger as well as the orange extract and vanilla in the frosting all came from Penzey's

1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. all purpose flour
1 Tbsp. non-aluminum baking powder
11/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp.grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs
11/4   c. packed dark brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
11/2 cup veg oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 TBS vanilla
1TBS crystallized ginger, chopped fine
1 TBS. orange zest
3 Cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (used in half the batter only)
1 C. unsweetened applesauce

Instead of baking in the typical rounds or squares, I used my Wilton Brownie Pan which gave the perfect long shape needed when the cakes were cut in half and stacked.  Baking time was about 30 minutes at 350 F.

When the cakes were cool, I cut them in half longwise and stacked the cakes with a layer of the white-chocolate cream cheese frosting in the middle.  I then cut and trimmed the cakes to give a more carrot-like appearance followed by a crumb coating of the white-chocolate cream cheese frosting.

Then came the fun!  I love, love, LOVE Duff Goldman's fondant!  This is very easy to handle, stores well and most people who say they don't like fondant go ahead and eat it!  With another brand, I found so many people hated the taste that they left it on the plate.  With Duff's fondant, almost all will eat the fondant.  That to me is enough to keep using it but when it is so easy to use as well, you couldn't make me switch back!  I had met some of the people behind the Duff products at this year's International Home and Housewares Show. They were great and patiently listed to my rave on the product.  I would love to play with all their items but alas,time and money will have me playing when I can.  If you are afraid of fondant, this is a very forgiving and easy to use product.

I had some fondant left and so I mixed what I had of yellow and a bit of red together.  It was redder than I wanted and I knew it wouldn't be enough to cover both cakes so I had to make a trip to the store to get a large container of white. After 10-15 seconds in the microwave, the white mixed in with the red and created a lovely deep carrot color!  Quick rollout, smooth, shape and cut.  I used the back of a knive to make indents and then used brown food color on a toothpick in the creases to create depth.  I then smoothed with alcohol to even out the color and fill in. I though it really brought out depth to the carrot grooves!

The pre-made cake had buttercream leaves but I used the green fondant that I had in the pantry to create the stems and leaves.  I rolled out the strings and used pieces from my Wilton Floral Collection Flower kit
to make the leaves.  I had to stop before I was fully happy with the results but in the end cakes looked like a very good representation and the family enjoyed it.

Hope you enjoyed this and please, let me know what you thought!