Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Belated Birthday Cake

Darling son is 5 years old!

We celebrated his birthday during our summer vacation, at Disneyland.
I promised him I would bake him a birthday cake after the vacation.

There were so many things to do after our vacation ended. Lots of washing, unpacking and cleaning the house, which was vacant for three weeks.
And also to prepare the kids for school, since the new school term would be starting in a couple of weeks. It was only in August that I finally settled down to baking a cake for darling son YW.

He requested for a Carrot Cake, as he loved cream cheese and carrots!
However, the boys are not fans of coconut and raisins. Hence I added more carrots and nuts into the cake, and topped the cake with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting! The cake was not too sweet, and was quite moist even though it was left in the fridge for a few hours. The light frosting gave the cake the required sweetness.

Big Bill's Carrot Cake
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan, Baking From My Home to Yours

For the Cake :

2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
3/4 tsp Salt
3 cups Grated Carrots (About 9 carrots)
1 cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts or Pecans
1 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Moist, plump raisins, or dried cranberries
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Canola or safflower oil (I use Olive Oil)

For the frosting

8 oz Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
8 tbsp Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
3 3/4 cups Confectioners' Sugar, Sifted (I use 3 tbsp)
1 tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut (Optional)

Finely chopped toasted nuts and /or shredded coconut for topping (optional).

To make the cake

  • Butter three 9 x 2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess. I used only two cake pans, and halved the cake recipe.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon and salt.
  • In another bowl, stir together the carrots, nuts, raisins, and coconut.
  • In a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil on medium, using a hand mixer, until smooth.
  • Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
  • Gently mix in the chunky ingredients.
  • Divide the batter among the baking pans.
  • Bake at 325F for 40 - 50 minutes. I started checking after 30 minutes, since I halved the amount of cake ingredients.
  • Completely cool the cakes before frosting.

To make the frosting

  • With a hand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  • Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth.
  • I only use 3 tablespoons of sugar as I find it just the right amount of sweetness.
  • Beat in the lemon juice.

To assemble the Cake

  • Put one layer top side up.
  • Cover the layer generously with the frosting.
  • Using a spoon, smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer.
  • Top the first layer with the second cake, right side up.
  • Frost the top, and the sides if you want.
  • Finish the top with swirls of frosting.
  • If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts, sprinkle them while the frosting is soft.
  • Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set frosting before serving.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly.

I halved the recipe for the cakes, and baked the cakes in two disposable aluminum round pans. Instead of using canola oil, I used olive oil. My boys are not fans of shredded coconut and raisins, I added extra nuts and carrots. I used 5 carrots, and 2 cups of pecans. As for the cream cheese frosting, as I find 31/2 cups of confectioners' sugar a little too much for my liking. As I creamed the butter and cream cheese, I gradually added the confectioners' sugar by the tablespoon, checking the sweetness of the frosting at the same time. In the end, only 3 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar was used! I did not halved the recipe for the frosting, and hence, I had two thick layers of frosting. The boys had a great time licking the leftover frosting off the spoon!

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