Monday, June 11, 2007

Let them eat cake!

A few months ago I went to a dessert night with ladies from church. We went to The Cheesecake Factory, quite possibly one of the best restaurants in the free world. I rarely go without Derrick, which means we never get to branch out in the dessert department. It's always cheesecake, and 95% of the time, one of his choosing. Sure, I'll get to pick, but he always puts up a fight and always says it's not as good as one he would have picked. So I just give up and get Dulce de Leche, which is quite good, one of the best in my opinion, and I don't mind getting it. But this night, since I was flying solo, I decided to try Craig's Carrot Cake. I hated it. Gasp! Shock! The horror! Rarely to I order anything from the CCF that I do not like. Everything is good. (With the exception of Evelyn's Favorite Pasta, which is downright disgusting. Probably b/c there's no meat in it anywhere.) Still, I didn't really like it. And it was a huge piece. It was a little dry, and the carrot chunks too big. Josie and Amy tried it, and they thought it was fine. Then I started to wonder if my taste buds had regressed to the point of only liking Betty Crocker BOXED carrot cake. Yikes. That would indeed be a tragedy. So I decided I needed to make one from scratch on my own and see if I really did hate carrot cake made with real carrots. And what other recipe to use than Alton's?? It came out incredible. Loved it. Delicious. When has Alton ever failed me? Um...never. My mom sent me some other carrot cake recipes, so I'm going to try them, and find a favorite. In the meantime, I present to you the cake recipe:

Unsalted butter, for the pan
12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.
With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Yield: approximately 2 cups

No comments: