Thursday, April 15, 2010

Carrot Cake

On Sunday, Dan got up at 5:30 in the morning. 

Was he on rescue or fire duty at the station? No. 
Did he have a flight to catch? No. 
Was he slaving away over the stove to make me a fabulous breakfast consisting of pancakes, crispy bacon, and freshly squeezed orange juice? Sadly, no.

He got up that early in the morning for MEAT

That, dear readers, is 14 pounds of pork shoulder, being slow smoked to a delicious, tender, juicy crisp, which Dan lovingly looked after for about 11 hours, literally on his hands and knees. We enjoyed it in the backyard, along with homemade barbeque sauce, perfect spring weather, and a group of his friends from college.

so proud

And you know what's better a close second to fresh, homemade barbeque? Using the leftover barbeque for nachoes. Because there's cheese. Mmmmm.

Now, let's talk about Carrot Cake. I know I've professed my love affair with chocolate to you all before, but I'm also a big fan of Carrot Cake. And Red Velvet Cake. Ok fine, most cake. But Carrot Cake is certainly up there. So, to continue my celebration that Passover had ended, I chose to make this next. 


whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, muscovado (aka brown) sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, raisins

I started by sifting the wheat flour with the baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a small bowl. Once done, I stirred in the coconut a little a time to mitigate clumpage. 

Using my electric mixer, I beat the eggs, brown sugar, and oil until pale and doubled in volume.

I combined the dry and wet ingredients by slowly folding them together, so as not to lose volume.

At this point, it was time to add the grated carrots and raisins. 

If you haven't read my mom's comment on my last post, (or on any of my other posts) you should (look for the longest post by Anonymous). She's witty, and funny, and, I'll warn you, is a tough act to follow. But her last comment was particularly ironic, specifically this part:

"Let me begin my noting that several of the photos depict tools that I have given Morgan over time, the sifter, kitchen Aid mixer (you may remember from a previous blog how we went through the "I did give you the whisk attachment, I can't find it (typical)and then finally I found it (also typical). It is only right that I shared these tools with her as she and I made her 1st batch of chocolate chip cookies when she was probably 2 using the Nestle Tollhouse bag recipe."

Not mentioned in that list of hand-me-downs are the two 30-year-old cuisinart food processors my mom gave me when she got her fancy schmancy new one this year. She gave me her mini one and also a larger one, which came with all kinds of accessories for grating and slicing, and which was perfect for making pie dough. The reason we've kept them all these years is because they've never let us down; they're reliable, useful, simple to use, and still get the job done every single time.

The larger processor has survived decades of use, hundreds of washes in the dishwasher, and numerous moves...

only to be felled by a single baby carrot.

Let me back up a little. When I shopped for these ingredients, I bought the full-sized carrots pictured above, knowing that if they weren't quite enough, I also had some already shredded carrot at home. Of course, all of these carrots combined still weren't enough for this recipe, which led to me rooting through the fridge looking for more. All I found were 4 baby carrots. 

(I may or may not have announced to Dan as I was rooting through the fridge, "We have orange juice!" as if that could help in someway. His response: "Uh..we're looking for carrots." Right, the coincidence that both are orange must have confused me....)

We were about 50 grams short, but there wasn't much we could do, so I tasked Dan with grating the whole carrots. Given my trusty cuisinart, complete with handy grating blade, this wasn't that difficult of a task.

You see where this is going right?

I hear a hard *snap* and the soft whir of a motor that's obviously not doing any work and turn around to find this

RIP Cuisinart

You'll notice that not just the end of the grating attachment is broken off, but also the center piece of the bowl, an integral part of the whole machine, rendering it useless. And of course, since the machine is so old, I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to find a replacement. 

You may be wondering how far along we were in the grating process when this happened. One baby carrot. One. Leaving the 5 full sized carrots and 3 other baby carrots still whole. Sadly, we then had to switch to this:

See how tiny those holes are? And sadly, it was not the sharpest tool in the shed drawer.

Please note that I in no way blame Dan for the cuisinart Incident. He was using it correctly and I'm sure 30 years of wear and tear had the most to do with it. That, and the baby carrot from hell. Plus, he then grated, by hand, almost all of the rest of the carrots, leaving just one for me to do, and that one was a bitch, so I can't even imagine what it would have been like to do all 5. 

Once all the carrot was finally grated, and I had stopped weeping over my lost appliance (ok, not really. I may cry over sandwiches, but appliances are where I draw the line. I make no promises though should my kitchenaid mixer suddenly bite the dust DEAR GOD NO), I added the carrot and raisin to the batter and folded them in as well.

Is it just me, or does it sort of look like somebody already ate this? Oh, I'm sorry, were you eating just now...

I scooped the batter into lined cupcake tins and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.

Please note the very prominent, rather too large, pre-shredded carrot I poorly chose to use

I made this recipe into cupcakes due to resources, or lack thereof. I don't have the correctly sized springform pan needed to make a full cake, but Clark only provides a modification for mini cakes, which yields about 30. I do have a mini muffin tin, but only 1 with the capacity to make only 12 cakes at a time. Full-sized cupcakes were really my only option, so I had to improvise on the timing. The full cake bakes for 40 minutes, and the mini cupcakes bake for 10-12, so I timed mine for 15 minutes at first. They weren't quite done so I checked them at 2 minute intervals after that until a toothpick tested in a few of the cakes came out clean, about 20-22 minutes.

While the cakes were baking, I made the frosting.

 cream cheese, butter, vanilla, confectioners sugar

This was very simple. I just put all the ingredients in my mixer and beat until creamy.

There is no "before" picture, because all you would have seen is a big pile of powdered sugar. And that would have been boring.

One of the nice things about making these into cupcakes is the size. They didn't rise too high, so that even with a good helping of icing, you could still take the perfect bite that included a good ratio of cake and icing, without getting any frosting on your nose. The recipe made 23 cupcakes, but some were a little too small. I made the full batch of icing, although I suspected I wouldn't need all of it, and only used about 2/3.

These were very moist thanks to all the coconut and carrot, and were nicely spiced from the cinnamon and nutmeg. The icing was particularly good; not your typical cream cheese variety, but sweeter, which paired much more nicely with the carrot cake, I thought. They were also very filling, so they didn't leave you wanting to eat another one. Or two. At least not right away.

I brought most of these to work (saving the saddest littlest ones for Dan and me), and they were very well received. I didn't get quite the response I did with the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, but those have become that which we measure everything else against. If they were a 10 out of 10, this Carrot Cake was probably a 7 or 7.5. Very respectable. And very satisfying.

Next Indulgence: Chocolate Eclairs


  1. Yummy! Need I say more..

  2. YUM. im going to have to learn to make these gluten free (um, SUCKY, I know). Just so you know, I hand-grated about 4million lbs of potatoes for Latkes in Israel. It was TORTURE. pure torture. I think it took 3 of us 1.5 hours to grate all of it. DAMN thats commitment!!! -Chels

  3. 1st it was probably good the quisenart was a weird color-- no longer clear (did no one else notice that)?

    2nd Mmmm I love carrot cake! And these little cupcakes look adorable!

    3rd and finally, you do know lexington is not far from Richmond. I will be studying for the bar here all summer, so aside from you coming to visit, I think you should look into how to send perishable items to me. Just a suggestion.

  4. We have spoken several times since the demise of Cusinart1 (the predecessor of Cusinart2 currently in my kitchen) and it took reading your blog to read about the very sad news. As you note it lasted for 30 years of very hard labor in my various kitchens but a mere 3 mos. in Richmond in yours ...I will try not to think about this whenever I look at Dan in the future. But it is probably good that he is not coming home with you for Memorial Day weekend. Just a little too soon. And what would mitigate my mourning is your arriving with any one (more than one would be nice) of the many goodies you have blogged about for the last few mos. Those carrotcake cupcakes would be nice - but don't think for a minute you are coming near Cuisinart2. I have 29 years & 6 mos. to go.


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