Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Easter: Layer Carrot Cake

Easter is a-coming, and like always, that gives me plenty of excuses to bake like a madwoman the next few weeks. Bear with me. I started with a three-layer carrot cake. No dessert is more appropriate with Easter than a classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. This is the first carrot cake I’ve baked from scratch, but I have to say, it came out pretty darn good! It’s moist, heavy and spicy - all the requirements for a fantastic carrot cake! Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Carrot Cake recipe: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup water
- 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 ¾ cups)
- 2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake) (I omitted the pecans for the cake batter and used sugar-roasted peanuts for garnish)

Instructions:
- Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
- Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
- Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.
- Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting recipe: my own

Ingredients:
- 2 packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla, preferably clear vanilla
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions:
- Whip the heavy cream until firm peaks form; refrigerate.
- Beat the cream cheese on low speed until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla and mix to combine. Fold in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes before using.


Carrot cake batter. When you think about it, it’s quite odd to add shredded carrots to a cake. I wonder who came up with that ... I bet it was the Easter bunny!


Icing ...


1.


2. (sugar-roasted peanuts)


3.


What’s a carrot cake without a carrot piped on top?


"Beneath this towering yet unpretentious appearance lies multiple layers of moist, mildly spiced cake that are flecked with carrots and enveloped by a generous coating of cream cheese frosting."
- MarthaStewart.com


I recommend waiting a bit before eating a slice (yes, I know it’s hard to wait). For some reason, the cake tasted even better after a few hours. I guess all the spices and flavors get really infused after a while.

17 comments:

Fran said...

That cakes looks so beautiful!
I have never tried carrot cake before, I always thought it was a bit odd. But I'm seriously reconsidering that :)

Lucie said...

I loooove carrot cake! So glad you got a shot of the inside, it's beautiful! A perfect Easter cake--I was planning on making one for Easter Sunday!

I'maNolaGirl said...

I just love carrot cake! This one looks great!

Snooky doodle said...

I really like carrot cake and this one looks so good. I like the decoration.

The Shiny Pebble said...

That looks devine. As long as it is moist and has jsut a bit o texture, carrot cake is AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

i am making schnecken from your recipe, only problem i am having is the dough section you say to melt the butter in the milk? You dont have milk listed on the ingredients part under "dough".
i see your picture but how much milk?
thanks so much i love all your recipes.

Rosemary said...

OMG !!! Can you ship to Pennsylvania? That looks amazing! Carrot Cake is soo delish and for Fran who has never tried, you must try it!! I am not a carrot lover but Carrot Cake is soo good!! Thanx Danielle!! Now I have to go buy one at our local gourmet supermarket. :)
http://nycstylecannoli.blogspot.com

M.A.the2nd said...

Congratulations it looks amazinng....I want a piece please! I love your photos and I am going to try the recipe as I have never baked a carrot cake from scratch either. Beautiful post!

Frances

rookie baker said...

hmmmm..this gives me the crave of layer carrot cake, i remember i had a VERY GOOD slice of carrot cake in dubai!
yummy yummy!

Paris Pastry said...

@Anonymous: You're right! I forgot to add the milk with the Schnecken recipe. It's 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons... I changed the recipe. Thanks for noticing!

Kristin said...

Oh my goodness...how are you able to get a cake looking that good! I am impressed! Looks delicious!!

:)

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

Yum! I adore carrot cake and it is the ultimate favorite of my hubby. Trying this soon!

ABowlOfMush said...

That is like the most moist looking carrot cake I've ever seen! YUM!!!

Hehe, the carrot on top is so cute!

Couples Kitchen said...

THREE LAYERS!! wow. this would be my dream cake for sure!

Shazwani said...

what's the equivalent of 2 packages cream cheese?

Paris Pastry said...

@Shazwani: a cream cheese package is 9 oumces, so that's 16 ounces combined.

Shazwani said...

i made this for mother's day & it turned out sooo good. thank you for the recipe. so far, this is the second recipe tried and tested - the first one was mille crepe which turned out wonderful as well. will keep coming back for more :)))