Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kitchen Adventures: Carrot Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

Most of the time I bake something and I immediately start analyzing it to see how it could have been better. However my perfectionist qualities are actually an asset in baking! Almost every Baking Illustrated recipe I've made so far, I've had things I wished had been different or tasted better. There are two shining exceptions to this particular analysis of mine and they are the Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies and this carrot cake.

Spicy, carrot goodness topped with a slightly
tangy cream cheese frosting
Recipe is from Baking Illustrated. For the full recipe and annotations, please consider buying a copy! It's a great cookbook.

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound (6 to 7 medium) carrots, peeled
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed (3 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups safflower, canola or vegetable oil

8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners sugar
Step #1: Prepare the pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper
to the bottom and spray the whole pan with cooking

Step #2: Combine dry ingredients. I actually got
whole nutmeg to freshly grate for this recipe. And yet
again, I managed to not grate myself! Woo!
Obviously one of the most important ingredients
in carrot cake is carrots. But who wants to
struggle with a hand grater tool when you can
just do this?
Step #3: Grate carrots!
Step #4: Rinse out the food processor bowl and
put in the eggs, vanilla and sugars.
Step #4: Process until light and frothy.
Step #5: Pour the wet ingredients into a large bowl.
Combine all ingredients and stir until no sprays of
flour remain in the batter.
Step #6: Spread the batter evenly into the pan
prepared in step #1 and bake!
Step #7: Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack
before frosting.

Once the cake is cooled, the food processor is used to combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla and some confectioner's sugar. The cake is the frosted and consumed, or in my case, a piece was consumed and the rest was packed up to take into work.

I will definitely earmark this recipe for reuse. This cake was excellent. I have no complaints about it, but then again I love carrots and I thoroughly enjoy cakes with frosting that isn't too sweet and has a slight tanginess to it.