Ha! Of course I couldn't let it just go at that. This month's bake kind of started with a bit of panic. I thought I had the cake baked back in early July. Something made me look again before I wrote the post and the cake I had baked was nowhere to be seen! PANIC! I looked everywhere and I couldn't find the list I had picked from. What the heck happened? It turns out Facebook on my computer is only showing me one event per group at a time. Who knows why? When I looked on my phone I could see the list for SEPTEMBER and there was my cake. I guess I don't know what month we're in any more. Ahem... I mean I am just really super duper prepared and ahead of the game!
There were some really great sounding cakes in the round up for this month's Cake Slice choices. One was really tempting, but had similar flavors to the cake I already baked for next month's choice. I wouldn't want to wear you out with too many similar delicious cakes. So I had to give this one a go. It was interesting anyway, there is a tablespoon of cocoa powder in it. Yep, in a carrot cake. It really isn't enough to taste as chocolate, but I am sure it helps give that dark color and probably adds to the depth of flavor as well. No matter what it's purpose, this cake is delicious.
I honestly wasn't 100% sure how this was going to go. Maida's ingredient list asked for 1 lb of carrots or 4 packed cups. I was using bits and pieces of bags of carrots, so I opted to measure rather than weigh. Probably a mistake. It took a lot more carrots than it should have to make the 4 cups. I would guess I used closer to a pound and a half. It made for a more dense cake than it probably would have been otherwise. But they baked well, turned out cleanly and ate like a dream. I am sure I would have got more rise with fewer carrots, but I'm not sure I wouldn't do it the same way next time. I hope somebody else baked this cake so I can see how theirs turned out.
Maida offered instructions on making marzipan carrots from scratch. It would have been really fun to try, but I didn't have the time to go for it. Nuts are always a pretty garnish, but then half of my guests wouldn't have even given it a try. The problem is the cake needed something! So, I ground up a few graham cracker and sprinkled them on. Next time I'd probably make a little more frosting and pipe it on instead, but as always I had a group coming over and more food to make so I went for quick and easy this time!
Maida's Carrot Cake
1 cup raisins
1 pound carrots, shredded
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 T cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
16 oz bock cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste, but extract is good too)
2 cups powdered sugar
To make the cakes:
- First, steam the raisins. Place them in a steamer basket or small strainer in a pot with a bit of water in the bottom. (The water shouldn't touch the raisins.) Boil over high heat for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and prepare three 9" cake pans. I just spray them with the baking spray with flour.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs just to mix. Add the sugars, vanilla and oil. Beat until fully incorporated. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the carrots and raisins.
- Divide batter between the 3 prepared pans and spread to even it out.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes. The edges should be just pulling away from the pan and the top should spring back when lightly pressed.
- Cool for 2-3 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Cool completely and then freeze right on the wire racks. They are too moist to handle at this point otherwise. Maida says they should be frozen for at least an hour before you try to assemble the cake. I froze mine overnight. If you'd like you can freeze them for a bit, then wrap them in saran wrap and return to the freezer for up to a few months.
To make the frosting:
- Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.
- Add the sugar and vanilla and mix in on low until incorporated. Then turn the mixer to high and beat for until smooth.
- Place a frozen cake layer on your cake plate. Spread about 2/3 cup of frosting over the layer.
- Repeat with the next layer, more frosting and the final cake layer.
- Spread icing over the sides and top of cake.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve and serve cold.