One of my favorite things to do is play with cake.
Play with flavors, textures, frosting, fillings, you name it, I want to play with it. For me, my kitchen is my toy. It is the ultimate playground. My children have also picked up on my love of the kitchen and now want a little kitchen of their own, complete with tools and equipment. But you see toy kitchens are expensive so for now they are just going to have to share my toyland.
A couple of weeks ago the Culinary program I run had 100 pounds of carrots and 50 pounds of cream cheese donated. Yes, I said 100 pounds of carrots. Now that’s a lot of carrots. My first thought was what in the world could we do with all these carrots? Considering the cream cheese my head immediately went to carrot cake! But I had never made a carrot cake before, so I had no recipe. Which got my creative juices flowing, got me in the kitchen and playing. The recipe below is what I came up with. I like it.
It has been tested by my kids (by the way they broke it… over mixed it), tested by teenagers, about 90 of them and has come out a success. This week, this will be my advanced students final exam.
Kid tested… teenager approved.
So I assure you this recipe has been tested. And tested. And tested some more. And it will continue to be tested for the remainder of the week.
All I ask is that you don’t mock my decorating skills. Cooking is my first love, so this baking thing is taking some adjusting. Needless to say, cake decorating is a skill I haven’t quite picked up yet. Or really had the patience to try.
1 C. Butter, softened
1 ½ C. Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 ½ C Flour
1 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Baking Powder
2 ½ tsp. Cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Ginger
1 C. Milk
3 Carrots, shredded
1 C. Chopped Pecans or Walnuts
1) Preheat oven to 325°
2) With a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
3) On slow speed, add one egg at a time, mixing a little after each egg. Then add the egg yolks one at a time.
4) In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, and baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. (If you don’t have ginger just leave it out)
5) Add vanilla to milk, set aside.
6) Divide the flour into four portions. Add one portion of the flour to the butter mixture, mix well.
7) Add ¼ cup of milk and mix.
8) Continue to alternate between flour and milk mixing a little after each addition. Milk should be the last ingredient added. Batter will be thick.
9) Gently fold in carrots and nuts being careful not to over mix.
10) Pour into two round cake pans evenly and place in the oven.
11) Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the center springs back when touched or when a toothpick comes out clean.
Basic Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
½ C. Butter, softened
3 ½ C Powdered Sugar (may need more)
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 Tbsp. Syrup
1) In mixer cream together cream cheese and butter for about 2 minutes.
2) Add powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, mix on medium speed after each addition.
3) After every 2 additions, increase speed to high, and mix for 10 seconds, then reduce speed to medium.
4) Add vanilla and syrup and mix until smooth.
Erik has planned the perfect Christmas for his family. The plan is foolproof, bulletproof and flame retardant. Nothing can undo the hours of planning and preparation. Nothing but odd-shaped packages, ill-timed fruitcakes and an errant neighborhood Santa Claus. Get it now and have a Merry Christmas.